Human Rights

Happy birthday, Peter

Speaking of Nick Cohen, he has written a handsome tribute to Peter Tatchell on his 60th birthday.

I’m sure almost everyone familiar with Tatchell has disagreed with him– perhaps sharply– at one time or another. But still…

Far from making him a single-issue campaigner, gay rights brought Tatchell a universal understanding of human suffering. Because he knew that the left could be as prejudiced as the right, he never fell into relativist excuse-making for socialist dictatorships. Because he opposed the supremacist attitudes of heterosexual men towards gays, he became a natural supporter of the emancipation of women. Because he saw how religion is everywhere used to justify the persecution of homosexuals, he became an unbending opponent of all God-inspired hatreds.

He warns anyone seeking political change that they must prepare for the long haul. “Savour your victories when they come,” he says, “and don’t be put off by defeat. Above all, never lose your idealism.”