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British Library of Political and Economic Science

TATCHELL, Peter, b 1952, gay and HIV/AIDS activist, social worker, journalist and author


Reference code(s): GB 0097 HCA/Tatchell papers

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: TATCHELL, Peter, b 1952, gay and HIV/AIDS activist, social worker, journalist and author

Date(s): 1966-2007

Level of description: sub-fonds

Extent: 46 boxes and 1 oversize tube

Name of creator(s): Tatchell | Peter | b 1952 | gay and HIV/AIDS activist, social worker, journalist and author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1952, Peter Tatchell emigrated to Britain in 1971 to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War, which he had actively opposed. He worked freelance in design and display whilst studying for a BSc in Sociology at the Polytechnic of North London, 1974-1977. During this period, Tatchell attended meetings of the Gay Liberation Front and soon became actively involved in gay politics. He acted as the GLF delegate to the World Youth Festival in East Berlin in 1973. Following his graduation in 1977, Tatchell became a social worker with the North Lambeth housing agency in Waterloo. In 1978 he joined the Labour Party, standing as an unsuccessful candidate for the Bermondsey by-election in 1983. In 1987 Tatchell founded the UK Aids Vigil Organisation, the first group to campaign for the civil liberties of those with AIDS. This was followed in 1989 by his creation of the London Act Up (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). May 1990 saw the foundation of OutRage!, a direct action group, primarily focussed on the Church of England. In the year 2000, Peter Tatchell stood unsuccessfully as an Independent candidate for the new Greater London Assembly. Publications: We don't want to march straight: masculinity, queers and the military (Cassell, London, 1995); Safer sexy: the guide to gay sex safely (Freedom Editions, London, 1994); Europe in the pink (The Gay Men's Press, London, 1991); AIDS - a guide to survival (The Gay Men's Press, London, 1986); The battle for Bermondsey (Heretic, London, 1983).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Peter Tatchell, 1966-2007, including press cuttings, articles [by Tatchell] and letters to the press, 1984-[2000], on subjects including government policy on AIDS, lesbian and gay equality, ethnic minorities, green socialism, European strategies for socialism, South Africa, the Church of England, Clause 28, relations between the police and the gay community, and papers relating to Stonewall, OutRage! and Act Up; material relating to campaigns and protests, 1983-[2000], notably the Bermondsey by-election of 1983, AIDS research, lesbian and gay rights in Europe and South Africa, gays and the military, the homosexual age of consent, psychiatric treatment of lesbians, gays and bisexuals, gay marriage, Clause 28, Labour Party policy on gay rights, homophobic violence, and Tatchell's trial at Canterbury Magistrates Court following OutRage!'s Easter Sunday protest in 1998; writings, interviews, press cuttings, texts of speeches and correspondence relating to Tatchell's activism, 1971-2007, especially relating to his work for gay rights.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged by annual deposit of material

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright remains with donor.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Online catalogue available

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:



Archival history:

Donated by Peter Tatchell on an annual basis since 1992.

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Hall-Carpenter Archives at the British Library of Political and Economic Science also contain material relating to Act Up and OutRage! in the ephemera collection. There are papers relating to Tatchell's candidature for the Bermondsey by-election in the BLPES archives (Ref: Coll Misc 0882/822/4).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: British Library of Political and Economic Science Archives catalogue. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Updated Apr 2008.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Nov 2000; updated Apr 2008

Bisexuality | Sexuality
Homosexuality | Sexuality
Lesbian, gay and bisexual campaigning groups | Groups
Lesbian, gay and bisexual rights | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Lesbianism | Sexuality
Politics | Political science

Personal names
Tatchell | Peter | b 1952 | gay and HIV/AIDS activist, social worker, journalist and author

Corporate names
Act Up | AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power
Canterbury Magistrates Court
Church of England
Labour Party

Bermondsey | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
South Africa | Southern Africa