Saturday, July 3rd, 2021

Hating Peter Tatchell : the story of one of the LGBTQ’s greatest activists that needs to be seen


The infamous Brit LGBTQ+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is no Saint, but he is unquestionably one of the biggest heroes our community has ever had.  For the past 54 plus years, this highly driven man has been the biggest irritant to governments, politicians, large corporations, and even the Archbishop of Canterbury with his voracious appetite for fighting for people’s rights, especially queer ones. 

Interestingly enough in this new documentary on Tatchell the Archbishop, now reflecting on his very public run-ins with the activist, happily concedes that Tatchell was actually always on the side of right.  In fact, he starts to compare Tatchell’s unpopularity with that of Jesus, but that is possibly going a tad too far.

Fitting all of Tatchell’s high-profile campaigns of protest around the globe into a 90-minute documentary is nigh on impossible.  So director, Christopher Amos handpicked a few to focus on to give a  concise view of both the man and his work. 

What is included are Tatchell’s attempts to persuade world health chiefs to stop the persecution of people with HIV/Aids; his attempted citizen’s arrest of Robert Mugabe on charges of torture, which left him beaten unconscious; and the “outing of bishops” who colluded with an anti-LGBTQ+ church despite their own homosexuality.

There’s the trip to Moscow for his one-man protest during the football World Cup, where he had to undertake elaborate security measures to evade pre-emptive arrest. He pulled off a protest outside the Kremlin against the anti-LGBTQ+ witch-hunt in Chechnya and Putin’s tacit collusion.

Most of these, and the other events come up during a one-on-one conversation filmed between Tatchell and Ian McKellan.   Other talking heads include Stephen Fry, Tony Robinson, Angela Mason, and Sir Elton John.  The latter, with his husband David Furnish, as executive producers which helped ensure the film got made.

With their healthy respect and admiration for Tatchell, they seemed to be in a minority.   It was Amos who came up with the title ‘Hating Peter Tatchell’ when he very quickly realized the extraordinary amount of people that Tatchell had ‘upset’ over the years.  They were as passionate about loathing him with the same intensity he was about taking up the fight for people’s rights.

A lot of the hatred had been stirred up in the media when Tatchell stood as the Labour Party Candidate in a By-Election in 1983 to become the MP for Bermondsey in London.  He ended up losing what had been considered a ‘safe’ Labour seat after what has been described by many as the UK’s dirtiest, most violent, and homophobic campaign.

The hatred got more ferocious over the years.  Tatchell has been violently assaulted over 300 times, had 50 attacks on his apartment flat, been the victim of half a dozen murder plots and received tens of thousands of hate messages and death threats over the last five decades, mostly from homophobes and far-right extremists. 

What Amos’s film does very clearly is allow all of us who have known of Tatchell but have never formed any particular opinion of him, to finally appreciate how very grateful we are for what he has achieved.  It’s not necessary to always agree with his methods, or be able to completely understand what motivates and drives him, but he does deserve our unquestioned respect.

Hating Peter Tatchell is screening on Netflix



Posted by queerguru  at  11:36


Genres:  documentary

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