1998

Outing of Nick Brown condemned

30 other closeted mps vulnerable to tabloid exposure

The outing of Agriculture Minister Nick Brown by the threat of tabloid kiss-and-tell relevations about his private life has heen condemned by OutRage!.

“There is no public interest justification for Nick Brown being pressured to disclose his sexuality”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“He is not a hypocrite or a homophobe. His public pronouncements on gay issues are consistent with his private behaviour. In the absence of hypocrisy, the outing of Nick Brown is totally indefensible.

“On the three major gay civil rights issues –the age of consent, military service and Section 28– Nick Brown voted in favour of gay equality.

“The Prime Minister is to be applauded for standing by his man. Nick Brown should be judged on his ability to do his job, not on his sexual orientation. Tony Blair has reconfirmed that being gay is no bar to Ministerial office. This will, hopefully, encourage more MPs to come out.

“Nine MPs are now out, but more than 30 are still hiding their homosexuality and could be vulnerable to similar kiss-and-tell exposure.

“These MPs belong to all three main parties. Many are married. Some hold high-level parliamentary and government positions. Because of their secretive double-life and resort to anonymous casual sex, they are easy targets for tabloid exposure and blackmail.

“It would be better for everyone –the MPs, their families and the political process– if closeted MPs came out. Being open about their sexuality would avoid a repeat of the undignified exposure experienced by Ron Davies, Peter Mandelson and Nick Brown.”

Britain now has more out gay mps than any other country

Six MPs have voluntarily came out, and three others have been outed or pressured to come out by media – Nick Brown being the latest.

This brings the total of identified gay MPs to nine. Britain now has more publicly known homosexual MPs than any other country in the world.

OutRage! does not support the outing of MPs unless they are hypocritical or homophobic. Those who merely hide their homosexuality should not be forced out. But if MPs publicly bash the gay community and vote for antigay discrimination, outing is justified.

Tatchell stands trial over Easter Sunday cathedral protest

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will stand trial at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 30th November 1998, at 10:00 a.m..

He is being tried on a charge of “indecent behaviour in a church” contrary to Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551).

Tatchell’s trial will be the first court case involving the privileged legal status of the church since the Gay News blasphemy trial in 1977.

DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE COURT
OutRage! is urging supporters to protest outside Canterbury Magistrates’ Court, Broad Street, Canterbury, (opposite the Cathedral), from 9:15 a.m. on Monday, 30th November.

DEFENCE FUND APPEAL
Donations to the Defence Fund should be made payable to “OutRage!” and sent to:

OutRage!, P.O. Box 17816, London. SW14 8WT

The trial follows OutRage!’s peaceful two-minute Easter Sunday protest in Canterbury Cathedral, which interrupted the sermon of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. George Carey. Tatchell walked into the pulpit and addressed the congregation, criticising Dr. Carey’s support for discrimination against lesbian and gay people with regard to employment, the age of consent, fostering, and marriage.

Of the seven OutRage! protesters in the cathedral, only Tatchell was arrested and charged.

The OutRage! Easter Sunday protest interrupted Carey’s political sermon: not the sacred parts of the Easter Service, such as prayers or communion. Tatchell’s intervention was nonviolent, calm, and dignified. He did not touch or speak to the Archbishop. He uttered no insults, threats, abuse, or bad language, but merely stated the facts about Dr. Carey’s on-the-record opposition to lesbian and gay human rights.

Britain’s top civil liberties lawyer, Mike Mansfield, QC, has agreed to represent Tatchell. His solicitor, who has handled the case for the last six months, is the esteemed gay rights advocate, Angus Hamilton. Tatchell’s defence will be “the right to free speech and peaceful protest”. He will challenge the way the 1860 Act gives the church “privileged protection against protest”.

Amnesty International is monitoring the case, following calls for Tatchell to be adopted as a “prisoner of conscience” if he is jailed.

The National Secular Society has launched an Appeal “deploring the prosecution of Peter Tatchell under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act” and calling for the 1860 Act to be repealed on the grounds that “it gives the church unique and sweeping powers to suppress dissent”.

Many leading public figures have signed the NSS Appeal, including

  • Lord Henderson of Brompton,
  • Lord Jenkins of Putney,
  • Lord Peston,
  • Lord Raglan,
  • Lord Rea,
  • Viscount Falkland,
  • Baroness Flather,
  • Bishop Derek Rawcliffe,
  • Sir Ian McKellen,
  • Sir Ludovic Kennedy,
  • Stan Newens, MEP,
  • Iain Banks,
  • Alan Bennett,
  • Edward Bond,
  • Marcelle d’Argy Smith,
  • Michael Foot,
  • Harold Pinter,
  • Claire Rayner,
  • Vanessa Redgrave,
  • Jimmy Somerville,
  • Neil Tennant,
  • and Polly Toynbee.

Tony Benn, MP will appear as a character witness. Dr. Evan Harris, MP and the Bishop of Edinburgh and Primate of Scotland, the Rev. Richard Holloway, have written character references on Tatchell’s behalf.

There have been only a handful of prosecutions for protest under the 1860 Act in the past 138 years. The Court has already intimated that it may sentence Tatchell to a term of imprisonment. The last time the 1860 Act was used against protesters was 1966. They were sentenced to two months’ jail.

The prosecution claim that any form of protest in a church –no matter how peaceful and dignified– is “indecent” under the 1860 Act.

No Cathedral clergy or staff are appearing as prosecution witnesses.

“What is at stake in this trial is the right to free speech and peaceful protest”, said David Allison of OutRage!. “The real scandal is not OutRage!’s peaceful protest in defence of human rights, but Dr. Carey’s advocacy of discrimination against lesbians and gay men.

“The 1860 Act gives the church privileged immunity from protest. No other institution has these special, draconian powers to muzzle dissent. It should not be a crime to criticise an Archbishop in his cathedral.”

More recently, Dr. Carey condemned legislation to equalise the age of consent for gay men; urged MP’s to vote in favour of the discriminatory status quo; and encouraged the House of Lords to overturn the 5:2 Commons majority (336 to 129) in favour of equality.

“As President of the Children’s Society –a Church of England charity– Dr. Carey actively discriminates against lesbian and gay people by enforcing the Children’s Society’s ban on homosexual foster parents. This policy results in young people –who could be cared for by loving, responsible gay couples– being left to suffer in the emotional coldness of local authority children’s homes”, said David Allison.

Despite calling in October for “compassion” for General Pinochet, Dr. Carey declines to show similar Christian compassion and forgiveness towards Tatchell. The National Secular Society wrote to Dr. Carey in October, urging that he call for the charge to be dropped, or that he at least ask the court to exercise clemency by not jailing Tatchell. Carey refused.

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court has refused Tatchell permission to summons Dr. Carey as a witness, even though Tatchell satisfied all the legal requirements. The Court declined to give a reason for its refusal. At the same hearing –again without explanation– the Court refused Tatchell access to unused prosecution evidence which the prosecutor has admitted may undermine the case against Tatchell and could help his defence.

It has been suggested that this action by the Court may contravene: Article 14(3)(b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); Article 6(3) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and Principle 21 of the Basic Principles on the Rôle of Lawyers, which states: “It is the duty of the competent authorities to ensure lawyers access to appropriate information, files and documents in their possession or control in sufficient time to enable lawyers to provide effective legal assistance to their clients. Such access should be provided at the earliest possible time.”

Tatchell has been involved in over 1,000 direct action and civil disobedience protests during his 30 years of campaigning for lesbian and gay human rights. He has been convicted only once (following a peaceful protest in 1994 against Muslim fundamentalists who were advocating the murder of homosexuals): but that conviction was overturned on appeal.

NSS APPEAL

We oppose religious privilege and support the right to peaceful protest. As well as deploring the prosecution of Peter Tatchell under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860, we strongly believe that a jail term is entirely inappropriate for a peaceful protest in defence of human rights.

We furthermore call for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860: it gives the church unique and sweeping powers to suppress dissent. This is unacceptable in a modern democracy.

To add your voice to this appeal, cut and paste the above two paragraphs; add your name, address, and any official capacity in which you are signing; and email to: John Hunt, OutRage! London

Canterbury Magistrates’ Court, Broad Street. CT1 2UE; Tel. 01304-21.86.00; Fax 01227-45.77.27

Canterbury Visitor Centre, 34 St. Margaret’s Street; Tel. 01227-76.65.67.

Gay Protest at Sir David English’s Memorial Service

Gay rights campaigners breached the Prime Minister’s security net to stage a silent protest during the Memorial Service for the former editor of the Daily Mail, Sir David English, today, Thursday, 15th October, 1998.

The 12 noon service was held in St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, London, to pay homage to Sir David who died in June, aged 67. After a reading by the new Lord Rothermere, owner of the Dail Mail, five members of OutRage! walked to the front of the church and held up placards accusing the late Sir David of being a “gay baiter”, “queer basher” and “homo hater”.

The brief, dignified protest –to expose the truth about Sir David’s homophobia– took place in front of VIPs and dignitaries: including Prime Minister Tony Blair, Leader of the Opposition William Hague, and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who were sitting just eight feet away in the front pews.

After standing in front of the church altar in silence, the OutRage! protesters had their placards ripped from their hands by the priest and church stewards. One protester walked down the side aisle displaying his placard, whilst the others were being hustled out of a side door. There were no arrests.

OutRage! says the Daily Mail, under Sir David’s 21-year editorship (1971-1992), “promoted prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against lesblans and gay men”.

“Sir David encouraged news stories and editorials that stereotyped, vilified, misrepresented and demonised the homosexual community”, said Ray Harvey-Amer of OutRage!.

“His coverage of AIDS and Section 28 was blatantly homophohic. He stirred up hatred against homosexuals and contributed to an atmosphere of intolerance that led to a massive increase in queer-bashing attacks and murders.

“Sir David and the Daily Mail have queer blood on their hands.

“This Memorial Service was a sham. It ignores the pain and suffering inflicted on lesbian and gay people by a man who was a shameless propagandist for homophobia.

“Sir David was a belligerent opponent of lesbian and gay human rights, arguing ferociously in support of discrimination against homosexuals.

“His editorship of the Daily Mail was a low-point in journalistic ethics. Objectivity, honesty and compassion towards lesbian and gay people were elbowed aside.

“Sir David will always be remembered by the gay community: as a promoter of bigotry and intolerance”, said Harvey-Amer.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Gordon Rainsford 07050-11.34.30
Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83

Accompanied by a photograph of Tony Blair kissing Sir David’s daughter Nikki, ‘The Times’ printed the following partial list of the congregation. –

The Prime Minister and Mrs Blair were present at a service of thanksgiving for the life of Sir David English, Chairman of Associated Newspapers and Chairman of ITN, held yesterday at St Martin-in-the-Fields. The Rev Nicholas Holtam officiated, assisted by Canon John Oates, Rector of St Bride’s, Fleet Street.

Viscount Rothermere, Chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust read the lesson, Mrs Nikki Smith, daughter, read on behalf of Lady English, Violette Szabo’s code-poem for the French Resistance by Mr. Leo Marks, Mrs Amanda Christmas, daughter, read Sleep Tight Dad by her brother Neil.

Mrs Ina Miller read Grandad, what are you? written by Mathew McGregor Smith and Duncan David Smith (grandsons). Mr. Neil English, son, and Miss Patricia Hodge paid tribute. Mr. Stewart Steven gave an address.

During the service Ms Sheila Southern, accompanied by the Don Lusher Big Band, sang You make me feel so young.

Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, FRS, and the Leader of HM Opposition attended. Among others present were:

Mr. Peter Smith (son-in-law), Ms Eva Smith, Ms Christine Stevens, Ms Nicola Saunders, Mr. Stephen Saunders, Mr. and Mrs Gordon Mainwood, Mr. Gregory Mainwood, Mr. Gordon McIntyre.

The Earl of Dalkeith, Viscountess Rothermere, Lord Baker of Dorking, CH, and Lady Baker, Lord and Lady Bell, Lord Borrie, QC, Lady Browne-Wilkinson, Lord St John of Fawsley, Lord Feldman, Lord and Lady Grade, Baroness Hooper, Lord Hunt of Wirral, Lord Hussey of North Bradley, Lord King of Wartnaby, Lady McGregor of Durris, Baroness Rawlings, Lord Rawlinson of Ewell, QC, Lord Shawcross, QC, and Lady Shawcross, Lord Sterling of Plaistow, Lord Tordoff, Lord and Lady Wakeham.

The Hon Alan Clark, MP, Mr. Michael Howard, QC, MP, and Mrs Howard, the Hon Vivian Baring, the Hon Jeremy Deedes (group managing director, The Telegraph Group), Mrs Sue Ryan (managing editor) and Ms Sarah Sands (deputy editor, also representing the Editor), the Hon Mrs E Hamilton, the Hon Mrs Camilla Yeates, Sir Gordon and Lady Brunton, Sir Brian Cubbon, Sir Michael Grylls, Sir Bernard Ingham, Sir Larry and Lady Lamb, Sir Nicholas Lloyd and Miss Eve Pollard, Sir Fergus Montgomery, Sir David and Lady Nicholas, Sir Gordon Reece, Sir Frank Rogers, Sir Patrick and Lady Sergeant, Sir Jocelyn Stevens, Sir Neil Thorne, Dame Susan Tinson, Mr. Keith McDowall and Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, Prince Mohsin Ali Khan.

Mr. Charles Sinclair (chief executive, Daily Mail and General Trust) with Mr. J P Williams (financial director), Mr. John Hemingway, Mr. Frank Lowy, Mr. Ian Park. Mr. Roger Gilbert (chairman, Harmsworth Media), Mr. Murdoch MacLennan (managing director, Associated Newspapers) with Mr. Paul Dacre (Editor-in-Chief), Mr. Guy Zitter (managing director Daily Mail) and Mrs Zitter, Mr. Peter Wright (Editor, Mail on Sunday), Mr. Max Hastings (Editor, Evening Standard), Mr. John Bird (managing director, Harmsworth Quays Printing) and past and present members of the group.

Mr. Les Hinton (executive chairman, News Intemational, also representing the Chairman of News Corporation) with Mr. Doug Flynn (managing dircctor, News International), Ms Jane Reed (director, Corporate Affairs), Mr. David Yelland (Editor, The Sun) and Mr. Bruce Stephen and Mr. Bruce McWilliam.

Mr. Andrew Alexander, Mr. Charles Alexander, Mr. William Allen, Mr. Charles Anson, Miss Nevs Aphonso, Mr. Jarvis Astaire, Mr. Ewen Balfour, Ms Drusilla Beyfus, Mr. James Bishop, Mr. Guy Black, Miss Katie Boyle, Mr. Fenton Bresler, Mr. Arthur Brittenden, Miss Sally Brompton, Mr. Alan Brooker, Mr. and Mrs Kenneth Brown, Mr. Michael Brown, Mr. Denis Bryan, Miss Mary Bryan, Mr. Chris Buckland, Mr. Peter Burden, Mr. Arthur Butler, Mr. Michael Carr, Mr. Harry Cayton, Mr. David Chipp, Ms Ray Clancy.

Mr. Stephen Claypole, Miss Minty Clinch, Mr. Richard Compton Miller, Mr. Ron Copsey, Mr. Ian Coulter, Mr. Peter Cowburn, Mr. Jack Crossley, Mrs Rita Curran, Mr. A Davidson, Mr. James Davies, Mr. Nigel Davies, Mr. Reginald Davis, Mr. Victor Davis, Mr. Ossie Day, Ms Anne De Courcy, Mr. Nigel Dempster, Mr. and Mrs J Dickie, Mr. Denis Doble, Mr. Nick Donaldson, Mr. Peter Donnelly, the Rev Dick Drown, Councillor Andrew Edwards, Mr. Robert Edwards.

Mr. Harvey Elliott, Mr. and Mrs Robin Esser, Mr. James Evans, Ms Kate Figes, Mr. Robin Findlay, Mr. Phil Fowler, Mr. Alan Frame, Mr. and Mrs Brian Freemantle, Mr. and Mrs Howard French, Ms Claire Gagneux, Mr. Charles Garside, Mr. Roderick Gilchrist, Mr. David Gillard, Mr. Alan Goddard, Ms Diana Gold, Mr. Nicholas Gold, Mr. Roy Greenslade, Mr. Peter Grosvenor, Mr. Peter Grover, Mr. Bruce Gyngell, Mr. Bill Hagerty, Mr. DW Harding, Mr. and Mrs Vyvyan Harmsworth, Mr. Stephen Harper, Mr. and Mrs Ronnie Harwood, Mr. Walter Hayes, Mr. and Mrs Norman Heath, Mr. Paul Henderson.

Mr. Brian Hendry, Mr. Robert Hill, Mr. and Mrs Jonathan Holborow, Mr. and Mrs Harry Holcroft, Ms Eileen Holman, Mr. Keith Hopkins, Miss Barbara Hosking, Mrs Marjorie Houghton, Mr. G Howe, Mr. James Irving, Mr. Herbert Ivor, Mr. Ian Jackson, Mr. Martin Jackson, Mr. Brian James, Mr. and Mrs Derek Jameson, Mr. Paul James, Mr. Edward Jeffery, Mr. Harry Johnson, Mr. Michael Jones, Mr. Peter Jones, Mr. Richard Kay.

Dr. and Mrs Ken Kennedy, Mr. Kevin Kennedy, Ms Ann Kent, Mr. and Mrs Pat Kernon, Ms Gwen Kernon, Mr. John Kilday, Mr. John Koski, Mr. John Kreckovic, Mr. Herbert Kretzmer, Ms Jeanette Kuperman, Mr. Stuart Kuttner, Miss Patricia Latham, Dr. Robin Lawrence, Ms Alison Le Breton, Mr. Christopher Leake, Dr. Jeremy Lee-Potter and Mrs Lynda Lee-Potter, Dr. Alfred Lee, Mr. Michael Leese, Mr. and Mrs Colin Leggat, Miss Ann Leslie, Miss Angela Levin, Dr. Julian Lewis, MP, Mr. Martyn Lewis, Mr. David Lidington, MP, Ms Joan Littlewood.

Ms Christine Long, Mr. Graham Lovelace, Mr. and Mrs Angus Macpherson, Mrs Frances Marckus, Mr. and Mrs L Marks, Mr. Eric Marsh, Mr. George Marston, Mr. Bill Martin, Miss Angela Mason, Mr. G Maxwell-Petrie, Mr. Graham McBain, Mr. Trevor McDonald, Mr. John McDonnell, Mr. and Mrs Robin McGibbon, Mr. Peter McKay, Mr. and Mrs Gordon McKenzie, Mrs Boo McKnight, Mr. Rayne McKnight, Ms Angelina McLusky Smith, Ms Sue Merrit, Mr. Monty Meth, Mr. Lester Middlehurst, Mr. Christopher Mitchell, Mr. Kenneth Morgan, Mr. Nic Morrison, Mr. and Mrs Bill Mott, Mr. David Mounfield.

Mr. Freddie Mountain, Mr. and Mrs Graham Mulley, Mr. James Murray, Mr. Colin Myler, Mr. Michael Nelson, Mr. Gus Newell, Mr. Paul Newman, Mr. William Newman, Mr. Desmond Nichols, Ms Kay Nichols, Mr. Brian Nicholson, Mr. Chris Nicholson, Mr. J A G Nicoll, Mr. Bill Nutting, Mr. Bill O’Connell, Mr. Robin Oakley, Mr. Paul Palmer, Mr. Brian Park, Ms Sandra Parsons, Mr. Peter Paterson, Miss Sue Peart, Mrs Cathy Peters, Mr. Allan Petrie, Mr. and Mrs Laurie Pignon, Mr. Bob Phillis, Professor Robert Pinker, Mr. Nick Pollard, Commander Francis Ponsonby, Mr. Paul Potts, Mr. E Preston, Mr. Allan Prosser, Mr. Stewart Purvis.

Mr. Douglas Radcliffe, Mr. Ivan Radley, Mr. Jeffrey Rayner, Mrs Joan Read, Mr. and Mrs Chris Rees, Mr. Chris Rendel, Mr. and Mrs Alwyn Robinson, Mr. Frank Robson, Mr. Graeme Rossiter, Mr. J Royle, Mr. Adam Ruck, Mr. Piers Russell-Dobb, Mr. Bob Satchwell, Mr. R Schofield, Mr. Paul Scott, Mr. Brian Scovell, Mr. Lawrence Sear, Mr. James Sergeant, Mr. and Mrs Derek Shaw, Mr. Richard Shaw, Mr. Ned Sherrin, Mrs Louise Smale.

Mr. Ramsay Smith, Mr. and Mrs John Southgate, Ms June Southworth, Miss Emma St John-Smith, Mr. Robin Stafford, Mr. Geoffrey Staines, Mr. Derek Stark, Mr. David Staveley, Ms Jacqui Stephens, Mrs Stewart Steven, Mr. and Mrs Alan Stewart, Mr. Bert Stimpson, Ms June Stubbs, Mr. P Sutton, Miss Felicity Swan, Miss Sharon Tanod, Dr. Sally J Taylor, Mr. John Teal, Mr. John Teasdale, Miss Rita Thomas, Mr. Douglas Thompson, Ms Linda Thomson, Mrs Pauline Todhunter, Mr. and Mrs Richard Todd.

Mr. John Torode, Mr. Steve Torrington, Mr. Donald Trelford, Mr. W Tudor John, Mr. and Mrs Rodney Tyler, Mr. David Tytler, Mr. Shaun Usher, Mr. B Venables, Mr. Brian Vine, Mr. Brian Viner, Mr. David Wade, Mr. David Walker, Mr. Brian Walsh, Mr. Keith Waterhouse, Mr. Michael Watts, Ms Zelda West-Meads, Mr. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Mr. John Whelan.

Mr. A J Whitfield, Mr. David Wigg, Professor Roger Williams, Charles Wilson, Ms Heather Wilson, Mr. John Winninton-Ingram, Rabbi Willlam Wolff, Mr. and Mrs John Womersley, Mr. George Woodhouse, Mr. Mark Woods, Mr. and Mrs Ian Wooldridge, Mr. David Wynne-Morgan, Mr. Michael Wynne-Parker, Mr. Eddie Young, Mr. Richard Young.

Mr. Chris Underwood (IOJ), Mr. John Le Neve Johnson (Press Club) with other members of the club, representatives of the Ockenden Adventure and Bournemouth University and many other friends and former colleagues.

Tatchell Essay in Book on 20th Century Protest

An essay by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage! is featured in ‘The Penguin Book of Twentieth Century Protest’, ISBN = 0-67087052-8.

The new book is edited by Brian MacArthur, Associate Editor of ‘The Times’.

It is described by its publisher, Penguin, as an anthology of some of the “most striking and effective” protest writing that “charts the vivid and impassioned debates that surrounded the great themes and events of the twentieth century”.

MacArthur’s book is launched next Monday, 12th October, at the Garrick Club in London.

Tatchell’s essay, “Call Us Queer”, is an exposition of queer politics that originally appeared in ‘The Independent on Sunday’ on 26-July-1992.

His contribution is sandwiched between essays by Ken Saro-Wiwa and Arthur M. Schlesinger. It is one of only four contributions in the book by gay writers — the others being André Gide, James Baldwin, and Peter Wildeblood.

The book features 200 essays by notable figures of twentieth century protest, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, Germain Greer, Nelson Mandela, Leon Trotsky, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Luther King, Norman Mailer and Sylvia Pankhurst.

Call for a Pride Human Rights Festival

OutRage! is urging that next year’s Euro-Pride celebrations in London include a Pride Human Rights Festival.

For several years, London’s Pride events have incorporated the Pride Arts Festival. Why not have a Pride Human Rights Festival too?

Next year London hosts Euro-Pride. How about a Pride Human Rights Festival with a European theme? OutRage! has written to Amnesty International U.K., suggesting that they help coordinate such an event.

Issues that could be explored at the Pride Human Rights Festival include. –

1) European legal strategies
In the Lisa Grant case, the European Court of Justice upheld the right of employers to discriminate against gay staff. But four ex-military personnel are still fighting in the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the ban on gays in the armed forces. Can they win where Lisa lost? Or are the European courts a waste of time?

2) European political strategies
The European Parliament and European Commission have limited power, but they have supported gay equality in the past. Could they be lobbied to secure E.U. action against antigay discrimination?

3) European joint campaigns
Instead of gay organisations campaigning separately in their own countries, should we be coordinating Europe-wide campaigns for the adoption of common European laws on the age of consent, partnership rights, balanced education (including sex education) in schools, military service, protection against discrimination, and parenting rights?

As well as involving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations, OutRage! envisages that the Pride Human Rights Festival would also include Amnesty International and other gay-friendly civil-rights organisations such as Liberty and Charter 88.

Zimbabwe: Trumped-up Prosecution of GALZ President on Sodomy Charges

OutRage! urges activists concerned about the persecution in Zimbabwe of Keith Goddard of GALZ on trumped-up charges to send letters of protest to:

Zimbabwe High Commission, 429, Strand, London WC2.
Tel. 020-78.36.77.55

President of Zimbabwe,
The President’s Office,
Post Bag 7700,
Causeway,
Harare,
ZIMBABWE.

Dear Robert Mugabe,

You will recall that we met over coffee at the “Africa At 40″ conference at Central Hall Westminster last October. During the 1970’s, I was involved in fund-raising and political campaigning on behalf of ZANU. You thanked me for my efforts in support of the War of Liberation.

I raised with you the issue of lesbian and gay human rights, expressing my concern that homosexual people in Zimbabwe were being harassed and threatened, and that your own past antigay comments had fuelled the atmosphere of intolerance.

When I asked you to reconsider your public hostility to lesbian and gay people and their human rights, you said that homosexuals in Zimbabwe would not be persecuted. You even said, in response to my questioning, that you “may” be willing to meet with lesbian and gay organisations to discuss their concerns.

These responses were, to my pleasant surprise, much more conciliatory than your earlier public pronouncements. I had hoped that you might eventually commence a dialogue with lesbian and gay Zimbabweans.

It is therefore with great sadness that I learn of the continuing harassment of the human rights group, Gays & Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ): in particular the arrest of GALZ leader, Keith Goddard, on charges of forced sodomy – despite the police possession of evidence that the alleged “victim” had been attempting to blackmail and extort money from Goddard.

Knowing Keith Goddard personally, it is inconceivable that he would ever use sexual force or pressure. He is a most gentle, considerate man, to whom any form of coercive sex would be abhorrent.

Personally, and on behalf of the lesbian and gay human rights group OutRage!, I urge you to intervene to ensure that these absurd, unjust and uncorroborated charges against Keith Goddard are dropped.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell.

Mugabe launched yet another attack on homosexuals on 22-April-1998, and criticised the World Council of Churches which, he claimed, intended to discuss homosexuality during its international assembly in Harare in December this year.

In an emotional eulogy at the home of Charles Chikerema, the late editor of a Government newspaper, The Herald, who died on 21 April, President Mugabe said that homosexuality was evil and was not justifiable by any means.

“Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know how to distinguish between a male and a female,” said Mugabe, speaking in the Shona language. He repeated his views –which caused international controversy several years ago– that homosexuality was completely unacceptable and neither African nor Christian.

‘Zone of Toleration’ for Gay Sex in Russell Square?

A gay sex “zone of toleration” in London’s Russell Square is being proposed by OutRage! as a way of reducing public complaints and police harassment arising from gay cruising and sex in the Square at night.

The idea is modelled on the “tolerance zone for gay sex” that operates in parks in Copenhagen and Amsterdam with the agreement of the police and city council.

Under the OutRage! proposal, Camden Council and Holborn Police would agree to the creation of an officially-designated “zone of toleration” within Russell Square, where gay sex would be permitted.

“One third of Russell Square could be sectioned off with a high fence and thick shrubbery”, explained John Beeson of OutRage!. “Entrance to the area would be marked with a warning sign. A similar system has worked well in the main parks in Copenhagen and Amsterdam for many years”.

OutRage! is attacking the homophobic campaign mounted by some local residents.

“If local people don’t like gay sex in Russell Square, they should stay away. No one is forcing them to go there. They can use Bedford Square or Coram’s Fields instead. In any case, what are these heterosexual whingers doing wandering around Russell Square at 2 a.m.? They should be at home looking after their children”, said Beeson.

OutRage! is blaming Camden Council for the rise in public complaints of “indecency”.

“The Council increased the lighting in the Square and cut down the thick shubbery, making the sex more visible. No wonder public complaints have increased.

“Having created the problem, Camden is now considerlng closing the Square at night to stop gay men having sex there. This would end more than 50 years of gay cruising in Russell Square.

“To make the sex more discreet, Camden Council should turn off the lights and replant head-high dense bushes around the outer perimeter of the Square, the borders of the flower beds, and the sides of the café. That would cut the visibility of sexual behaviour and minimise public complaints”, said Beeson.

DANGER! Labour Age of Consent Fudge

OutRage! has condemned the Government’s proposals for new legislation in the autumn on the age of consent as “vague, minimalist, insulting and manipulative”.

It is accusing Labour of “actively undermining attempts to broaden the scope of law reform beyond the age of consent, and of blatantly refusing to negotiate with gay rights organisations and MPs who do not toe the Government line”.

“The exclusion of Dr. Evan Harris, MP from discussions on the new age of consent legislation is a clear example of the way the Government is manipulating the gay rights agenda”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“We deplore the Home Secretary’s refusal to announce a moratorium on the prosecution of 16 and 17 year old gay men and their partners. This means that thousands of young gay men will remain at risk of arrest until the new Bill is passed, which will probably take another two years.

“Jack Straw has the power to advise Chief Constables and the Crown Prosecution Service to either halt prosecutions or refer them to higher authorities before proceeding. In his House of Commons statement on 28th July, the Home Secretary disgracefully rejected both options, insisting that prosecutions must and will continue because it is ‘the law of the land’ and ‘there is no question of the law, or prosecuting policy, being changed in advance of any change in legislation’, (see Hansard, 28th July, col.s 182 and 209)”.

“Despite the two-thirds vote by MPs in favour of equality, the Government is still insisting that it will not officially support an equal age of consent. Jack Straw confirmed this when he told the House of Commons on 28th July: ‘The Government are neutral on the matter’, (Hansard, 28th July, col. 183).

“The Government is yet again insisting on a free vote, where Labour MPs will be at liberty to support discrimination. Labour never has a free vote on issues of equality affecting women and black people. Why is it downgrading the human rights of young gay men to the whims and fancies of individual MPs?

“Jack Straw has declined to say what Bill will be used as a vehicle for the equalisation of the age of consent. He has not ruled out the possibility that equalisation might be included in the forthcoming legislation on sex offenders and abuse of a position of trust. Straw said: ‘it remains to be seen … We cannot anticipate the most appropriate vehicle’, (Hansard, 28th July, col. 208). This means that age of consent equalisation could be included with legislation cracking down on the sexual exploitation of minors, which would confuse two entirely separate issues: equality and abuse.

“The most effective way of protecting young people –gay and straight– against sexual abuse is by educating and empowering them with the knowledge, confidence and skills to resist unwanted sexual advances. But the Government is, so far, unwilling to include new initiatives for earlier, more effective sex education in its proposed age of consent legislation. This is a serious omission, which fails young people of all sexualities.

“Contrary to claims made in a Stonewall press release dated 27th July, the Home Secretary has not said that ‘any measures relating to sexual offences will, from now on, apply equally to both boys and girls and men and women and will be absolutely non-discriminatory’, (Stonewall, 27th July). What Jack Straw actually said was that the new measures on abuse of a position of trust would apply in a non-discriminatory manner to both gay and straight abuse. The Government has, shamefully, declined to give any undertaking that it is committed to remove discrimination against gay men in sexual offences law.

“The Government’s proposed autumn legislation is the barest minimum possible. The lesbian and gay rights movement should, instead of capitulating to the Government, demand that the equalisation of the age of consent is part of a broader package of long overdue gay law reform. The way the Home Secretary is currently dictating the gay civil rights agenda is totally unacceptable. Rather than meekly surrendering to Government demands, we should be insiting on the repeal of all discriminatory, gay-only sexual offences, including the laws against buggery, gross indecency, procuring and soliciting.

“Attempts by Dr. Evan Harris to propose the abolition of other discriminatory, antigay laws have resulted in him being excluded from all negotiations with the Government and Stonewall, even though he was one of the original signatories of the amendment to equalise the age of consent. This deliberate attempt to block moves for further gay law reform shows the extent to which the Government is now manipulating the gay rights agenda and excluding all alternative voices and proposals”, said Peter Tatchell.

Lambeth / Festival Pier

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

©1998 John Hunt/OutRage! London
This picture may be copied in the cause of furthering our aims, provided that the source is acknowledged.

Boating Bishops picketed by Mitred Protesters

Forty gay rights activists demonstrated tonight, Tuesday, 28th July, between 6 and 7 p.m., as 800 Anglican bishops from the Lambeth Conference arrived at Festival Pier on London’s South Bank to take a boat trip down the Thames.

The demonstrators from OutRage! and other queer rights groups, including the NUS, castigated the bishops over their support for legal discrimination against homosexuals, and demanded a “Queer Reformation” to end church support for antigay discrimination. (During the recent House of Lords vote on the age of consent, Bishops voted two-to-one against equality.)

A giant billboard was erected by the protesters at the entrance to Festival Pier, emblazoned with the words: “Anglicans! Stop opposing gay human rights!”. Protesters chanted: “Church of hatred, church of fear, stop crucifying queers!”.

Some of the protesters were dressed as bishops, nuns and priests. Two OutRage! ‘bishops’ kissed each other, while a gay male nun from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence sprinkled “homo water” on the bishops from the Lambeth Conference as they arrived, “to cleanse them of the sin of homophobia”.

As Archbishop Carey arrived and hastened onto the waiting “Mayflower Garden”, the protesters redoubled their shouts of “Shame!”. But support was offered by several Conference delegates who smiled and waved approval. The Bishop of Oxford came over to express his support for lesbian and gay equality. The Bishop of Rochester, however, attempted to defend church denial of homosexual human rights, claiming that church morality overrides civil law.

“Dr. Carey and many of his Bishops are acting like the leaders of the Afrikaaner Church in South Africa during apartheid”, said John Hunt of OutRage!. “They are opposing equality and endorsing discrimination.”

As well as opposing an equal age of consent, the Anglican Church also advocates other violations of lesbian and gay human rights. –

“The Church of England Children’s Society is alone amongst the major adoption agencies in denying lesbians and gay men the right to foster deprived children, claiming that we are unfit to care for children”, said Hunt.

“Archbishop Carey supports the denial of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples, which deprives them of recognition as next-of-kin in the event of accident or death.”

FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-74.03.17.90
PHOTOS OF PROTEST: Gary Trotter 01628-54.25.54
Rob Todd 0467-42.02.83

write essay for me