Peter Tatchell is wrong: gays have the right to be dull and conservative!

July 2, 2014 at 7:54 am (Civil liberties, gay, Human rights, LGBT, middle class, Peter Tatchell, Pink Prosecco)

Beehive Handknits for Men 01

Guest post by Pink Prosecco

Peter Tatchell is an admirable man who has campaigned bravely on LGBT rights and many other issues.  However I cannot agree with the thrust of this post, recently published in Gay London.  To summarise, he regrets the way in which the LGBT community has retreated from ‘radical idealism to cautious conformism’.  He wishes instead that LGBT campaigners questioned the institution of the family and were generally less bourgeois, and complains that more timid types only jumped on the LGBT bandwagon when it was safe to do so.

But this can be turned round I think.  One might conjecture that the handful of LBGT men and women who were prepared to campaign and be visible forty years ago were unusually independent and tough minded.  They were perhaps thus also more inclined to be non-conformist and politically radical in ways that went beyond sexual orientation.

I should note at this point that the ‘pink’ in ‘pink prosecco’ only references my slightly sub-shirazian shade of politics. However personally I don’t see why LGBT people should be expected to be any more or less radical than anyone else.  It’s a sign of progress not regression that people who are dull, or disagreeably right wing, are as happy to identify as LGBT as creative, radical, edgy types. Peter concludes:

“The unwritten social contract at the heart of the recent campaigns for LGBT law reform is that gay people should behave respectably. No more cruising, orgies or bondage. In return, the ‘good gays’ will be rewarded with equal treatment. The ‘bad gays’, who fail to conform to conventional morality will, of course, remain sexual outlaws. Is that what we want? A prescriptive moralism that penalises non-conformists within our own community?”

But why should bondage and a rejection of conventional morality be seen as LGBT specific issues?


  1. Peter Tatchell is wrong: gays have the right to be dull and conservative! | OzHouse said,

    […] Jul 02 2014 by admin […]

  2. "dagmar" said,

    Indeed. Tatchell’s line, repeated for decades, that ‘gays (and lesbians) are sexually liberated and therefore basically ‘better’, more ‘progressive’ (etc.) than heterosexuals ‘ is wrong on various counts. It implies that sexuality is a lifestyle choice and those who do not choose homosexuality are somehow politically and socially backward.

    It represents social progress, of a sort, when there is, for many people, nothing ‘special’ about not being heterosexual; when being homo/gay/bi/etc. can be as boring as watching paint dry. Like Tatchell (I presume), I would have preferred campaigns for the abolishing of marriage as opposed to its extension to same-sex couples, but that isn’t the society we live in.

  3. pinkagendist said,

    I’m not sure he’s all that wrong. Of course LGBT individuals have the right to be and do whatever they choose, but there’s a problem if the only model pushed by the LGBT establishment is one where acceptable gays are those who want to be in the military, get married in a church and adopt Asian babies.
    The underlying factor is that we haven’t been pushing for equality of citizenship (independent of sexuality)- but for the right to adopt/emulate the traditional right wing schema for life and family. What use is gay marriage to Americans who live in one of the 19 states where one can be legally fired because of their sexual orientation?
    This is the unfortunate result of the perfect storm. The sexual liberation of the 70’s was followed by the AIDS crisis and the subsequent holocaust. In my generation sexual liberation became synonymous with disease and death. I grew up in fear. If I was gay, as some seemed to believe before even I knew- that meant I’d have AIDS. My cheeks would sink in, my eyes would hollow, my lips would turn purple and dry and people would whisper horrible things behind my back and later at my funeral; or so I thought at the age of eight in 1986.
    The Modern Family gays have every right to be like every other family, but how about those who aren’t? How about those who can’t be?

    • Mick O said,

      Tatchell isn’t far wrong. Why single out LGBT people though? Over the last few decades there has been a noticeable lurch back to bourgeois attitudes among various groups who were once considered edgy. Each to their own I suppose. I must admit there are several high profile right wing gays that piss me off. Can’t they see that they are allying themselves with the type of people calling for their marginalisation not so long back?

      • pinkagendist said,

        I suppose that being LGBT, we notice it more in our own group than we’d notice it in another 🙂
        Personally, I don’t quite believe a good number of the “right-wing” gays. These days being controversial means high profile- free publicity, appearances etc. People like Katie Hopkins, the professional cretin, are making careers out of this sort of self promotion. There’s also the Great Dissenter profile. UKIP gets young woman of Asian descent to lead their youth movement. American republicans get a black man to head the rnc after Obama gets elected.
        Any minute now Marine Le Pen is going to hire a black jewish Algerian single mother who intends to convert to Islam to be the face of the FN.

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