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OutRage! 1990-2011

OutRage! was formed in May 1990 at a meeting at the then London Lesbian and Gay Centre in Farringdon, attended by 35 LGBT activists – the joint co-founders.

Its formation was prompted by two things. First, escalating queer-bashing violence, including a wave of homophobic murders – in particular, the kicking to death of Michael Boothe in West London. Second, the huge rise in the number of gay and bisexual men arrested and convicted for consenting, victimless behavior.

Two of our early key demands to the police were: “Protection, not persecution!” and “Policing without prejudice.”

Soon after the founding meeting, OutRage! adopted its mission statement:

OutRage! is a broad based group of queers committed to radical, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to:

  • ASSERT the dignity and human rights of queers
  • FIGHT homophobia, discrimination and violence directed against us
  • AFFIRM our right to sexual freedom, choice and self-determination

OutRage! was a home-grown British queer rights direct action movement but activists took their inspiration variously from the suffragettes, the American black civil rights movement and from ACT UP and Queer Nation in the US.

Very soon after the initial focus on anti-LGBT violence, arrests and policing, OutRage! took direct action on a wide range of issues, including anti-LGBT policies in law, religion, politics, media, entertainment, sport and business.

    OutRage! was an all-volunteer, non-hierarchical grassroots, democratic movement, with no officers, leaders or paid staff. Weekly meetings were open to any LGBT person to attend, speak and vote. It was funded entirely by donations from activists and supporters.

    OutRage! was the longest surviving grassroots, volunteer LGBT direct action organisation in the world, lasting for 21 years, from 1990 to 2011.

    Thousands of brave, determined, inspiring, selfless volunteers contributed to OutRage!’s successes for more than two decades. They, collectively, made an extraordinary positive impact on public attitudes, values, institutions and laws in the UK – and sometimes abroad too, through international campaigns, such as Stop Murder Music. We responded to appeals for help from LGBT groups worldwide and acted in solidarity with their freedom struggles.

    Statement by OutRage! on the murder of David Kato in Uganda

    We, the members of OutRage! in London, express our sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato.

    We salute David and his immense, brave contribution to LGBTI human rights in Uganda.

    He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment. He will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning.

    We express our admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome.

    We hope this savage killing will finally prompt Uganda’s political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. We call on the government of Uganda to withdraw the ‘kill the gays’ Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes.

    Yours in mournful comradeship,

    Peter Tatchell,
    OutRage! London UK

    FIFA’s shame, collusion with authoritarian governments

    Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has slammed FIFA, accusing it of “rewarding tyranny”, after its decision to award the next two football world cups to Russia and Qatar respectively:

    “Awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Qatar and Russia is a big mistake. Both countries have poor human rights records. They restrict freedom of expression, the right to protest and press freedom. Journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders are often victimised.

    Russia and Qatar also deny equality and human rights to their LGBT citizens.

    “Qatar punishes homosexuality with imprisonment and lashes. It treats women as second class citizens. Russia has banned Gay Pride marches for many years and does not protect LGBT people against discrimination in employment and housing.

    “Gay players, coaches, referees and fans could be at risk of arrest or violence at the 2018 or 2022 matches. Giving the World Cup to these two harshly homophobic countries is an insult to LGBT people everywhere. It alienates and excludes.

    “FIFA has decided that sport should come before human rights. It has rewarded two countries that violate international humanitarian values. This sends the wrong signal.

    “Sport should never be allowed to trump human rights. FIFA has put corporate and geo-political interests before the rights and welfare of the people of Russia and Qatar,” said Mr Tatchell.

    UN vote “shameful”

    Commenting on the UN vote to remove sexual orientation from the resolution against extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions:

    The UN:
    http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2010/gashc3997.doc.htm

    IGLHRC:
    http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/pressroom/pressrelease/1257.html

    Gay rights and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

    “This is a shameful day in United Nations history. It gives a de facto green light to the on-going murder of LGBT people by homophobic regimes, death squads and vigilantes. They will take comfort from the fact that the UN does not endorse the protection of LGBT people against hate-motivated violence and murder.

    “The UN vote is in direct defiance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees equal treatment, non-discrimination and the right to life. What is the point of the UN if it refuses to uphold its own humanitarian values and declarations?

    “This vote is partly the result of a disturbing homophobic alliance between mostly African and Arab states. LGBT people in these countries often suffer severe persecution.

    “Many of the nations that voted for this amendment want to ensure that their anti-gay policies are not scrutinised or condemned by the UN. Even if they don’t directly sanction the killing of LGBT people, they have lined up alongside nations that do.

    “South Africa and Cuba claim to support LGBT human rights, yet they voted to remove sexual orientation. They can no longer be considered gay-friendly states. Both countries have allied themselves with tyrannical, violent, homophobic regimes. Presidents Raoul Castro and Jacob Zuma should hang their heads in shame. They’ve betrayed the liberation ideals that they profess to uphold,” said Mr Tatchell.

    Stonewall finally supports marriage equality

    Stonewall has finally decided it does support same-sex marriage after all.

    Peter Tatchell of OutRage! said:

    “This is good news, at last. Thanks to everyone who lobbied Stonewall to change its policy.

    “We are pleased that Stonewall has finally joined other LGBT organisations in seeking to overturn the homophobic ban on same-sex civil marriage. We can now move forward together, united in our commitment to marriage equality.

    “It is, however, very disappointing that Stonewall is still refusing to oppose the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships. This stance is de facto support for discrimination. It looks uncaring and sectarian. It doesn’t help build the LGBT-straight alliance that we need to win full equality.

    “OutRage! is pressing ahead with its Equal Love campaign. Our aim is to end sexual orientation discrimination in both civil marriage and civil partnership law. We oppose the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships just as strongly as we oppose the ban on gay civil marriage.”