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TATCHELL, Peter (b 1952)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4466
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Full title: TATCHELL, Peter (b 1952)
Date(s): 1971-2004
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.96 linear metres.
Name of creator(s): Tatchell | Peter | b 1952 | gay and HIV/AIDS activist, social worker, journalist and author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Peter Gary Tatchell was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1952. He emigrated to Britain in 1971 to avoid being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, which he actively opposed. He worked on a freelance basis in design and display whilst studying for a BSc in Sociology at the Polytechnic of North London, 1974-1977, after which he entered journalism.

Tatchell became interested in gay rights issues after hearing about the Stonewall Inn incident in New York village in 1969. After his arrival in Britain he became involved in gay politics after attending meetings of the Gay Liberation Front. He became a leading member of the group until it stopped meeting in 1974. He helped to organise the first Gay Pride march in 1972, as well as protests against police harrassment and the medical classification of homosexuality as an illness. In 1990 he co-founded direct action group OutRage!, which campaigns for equal rights for gay people, protesting against police entrapment, religious homophobia, censorship, the age of consent and homophobic lyrics in popular music. The group utilised a controversial tactic, 'outing', condemning those who lived secretly gay lives while denying it publicly. Tatchell also campaigns on behalf of the rights of gay people internationally, notably in Russia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. He has been physically attacked during protest action in Moscow and during an attempt to perform a citizen's arrest on Robert Mugabe.

In 1980 Tatchell became the Secretary of the Southwark and Bermondsey Labour Party. In 1983 he stood for election as the Labour Party candidate in the Bermondsey by-election, losing to Liberal candidate Simon Hughes. In 2004 he joined the Green Party, standing as a candidate for Oxford East in 2007, but withdrawing as a candidate in 2009 for health reasons.

Tatchell has also campaigned for anti-apartheid, anti-fascism, pro-Palestinian, environmental and animal rights movements. He was voted 6th on a 2006 New Statesman list of 'Heroes of our Time'; was named Campaigner of the Year in the 2009 Observer Ethical Awards; was named in the Evening Standard Most Influential Londoners lists of 2009 and 2011; and in 2009 was awarded a blue plaque on his Bermondsey flat.

Tatchell is the author of much journalism and several books, including The Battle for Bermondsey, 1983; Democratic Defense, 1985; AIDS: a Guide to Survival, 1987; Europe in the Pink, 1992; Safer Sexy: the Guide to Gay Sex Safely, 1994; and We Don't Want to March Stright: Masculinity, Queers and the Military, 1995.

For more information see: 'TATCHELL, Peter Gary', Who's Who 2011, A and C Black, 2011; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2010 ; online edn, Oct 2010.


Scope and content/abstract:

The papers of Peter Tatchell includes correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, press releases, posters, leaflets and publications on the following topics: Aids/HIV research, vivisection and animal rights, homophobic violence and policing, the age of consent, media portrayal of homosexuality, negative comments on sexuality by 'personalities', homophobic lyrics and the music industry, international politics, green socialism, Labour and politics, Members of Parliament and 'outing', the Bermondsey By-election, the Greater London Assembly, Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders' stances on homosexuality, the law and sexuality, the prosecution of homosexual acts, and the employment of homosexuals in the armed forces.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

LMA/4466/01: Sexual Health;
LMA/4466/02: Religion;
LMA/4466/03: Politics;
LMA/4466/04: Media;
LMA/4466/05: Employment;
LMA/4466/06: Legislation and Policing;
LMA/4466/07: OutRage!;
LMA/4466/08: Publications.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, however, records of an adult nature may not be produced for readers under eighteen.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in May 2004.

Allied Materials

Related material:

See also papers at the British Library of Politcal and Economic Science, reference "HCA/Tatchell papers".

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

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:
Records prepared May to September 2011.

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