On the popularity scale Peter Tatchell rates somewhere between Myra Hindley and Saddam Hussein.
"Pure poison", "public enemy number one" and "enemy of the people" are just some of the kinder
things to have been written about the gay activist over the years.
Even poofs have it in for him. In a poll conducted by Boyz magazine asking whether Tatchell was
a hero or a villain, the majority of readers voted villain. Which seems a mite ungrateful
considering how long the gay guerrilla has been fighting for right on our behalf.
Born in Melbourne in 1952, Tatchell moved to London in 1971 and became a leading member of the
Gay Liberation Front. He's been at the forefront of queer combat, aggressively challenging
homophobic discrimination, ever since.
In 1990 Tatchell co-founded the in your face resistance group Outrage! www.outrage.org.uk
Rejecting the punctilious politics of the mainstream gay and lesbian movement Tatchell helped
create a unique style of performance protest, elevating activism into an art form.
The most notorious Outrage! campaign occurred in 1994 when the organisation outed ten Church
of England bishops. Defending the action Tatchell said: "Gay public figures who support
decisions against homosexual people are the worse hypocrites. They deserve to be exposed."
More recently Tatchell tried to arrest Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in Brussels for
human rights abuses. Beaten up and knocked semiconscious by Mugabe's minders, Tatchell's
attack made front-page news. Surprisingly, newspapers that had previously condemned Tatchell's
tactics supported his brave attempt to confront the tyrant.
Although often criticised on all sides, Tatchell has continued tirelessly to bring awareness
and acceptance of homosexual issues and concerns. Whilst many people disapprove of his militant
methods and controversial proposals - such as an age of consent of 14 - Tachell's significant
and courageous contribution to the gay cause cannot be ignored.