1 October 2021News

London demo calls for Johnson to 'stop stalling on LGBT+ rights'

On 24 July, 2,500 members of the LGBT+ community gathered in Parliament Square in Central London for a #ReclaimPride march.

Organised by legendary gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, the demonstration had five key demands: ban LGBT+ conversion therapy; reform the Gender Recognition Act; ensure a safe haven for LGBT+ refugees fleeing persecution; decriminalise LGBT+ people worldwide; and, finally, solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

Before a march to Hyde Park, Peter Tatchell…

1 December 2019News in Brief

On 23 October, the organisers of the Pride in London parade launched a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the LGBT+ event.

One issue in the online Pride survey was whether the parade should accept the participation of LGBT+ networks from ‘arms manufacturers’, ‘fossil fuel companies’ and ‘companies who profit from ecocide’.

Earlier, Pride had agreed to Extinction Rebellion’s demands that it become carbon-neutral in 2020.

1 October 2019Review

Zed, 2019; 256pp; £20

This book was first published 25 years ago as Gay Pride to commemorate what was then the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This edition has lost the word ‘Gay’ (embracing the wider range of contemporary ‘Pride’) and has gained some additional photographs.

Introductory texts by Peter Tatchell and Hilton Als have been added to essays by Allen Ginsberg and Jill Johnston.

In Tatchell’s foreword, he reminds us of the massive strides made in the last 50 years. ‘Back…

1 August 2019News in Brief

In Turkey, hundreds gathered with rainbow flags in Istanbul on 30 June despite the Pride march being banned (for the fifth year running).

They were among millions of LGBTQ people around the world celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York that began on 28 June 1969.

Istanbul Pride was broken up with tear gas by police, who arrested six people.

Earlier, on 22 June, police in the western city of İzmir arrested 17 people after the local…

1 June 2019Feature

A round-up of exhibitions and books marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

‘Gay and Lesbian Couples’, Robert Kalman, 2018 from Photography After Stonewall (Soho Photo Gallery, 2019). Kalman writes: ‘The narrative of LGBTQ civil rights, simply told, draws a straight line from the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to a person’s liberty to love whomever they wish today.... These are portraits of mixed-race, loving couples, rendered as ambrotypes…

1 April 2019News in Brief

Over 200 people have signed a petition calling on Pride in Surrey to drop arms manufacturer BAE Systems as a sponsor of its 10 August parade in Woking.

The petition asks the organisers of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) event to apologise and to ‘commit never to accept money from any who benefit from arming oppressive governments’.

One government named is Saudi Arabia, which is targeting civilians and causing a famine in Yemen – and which also…

1 April 2018News

LGBT+ rights defenders protest outside Westminster Abbey

80 LGBT+ rights defenders protested outside Westminster Abbey as the queen and the prime minister celebrated Commonwealth Day on 12 March, ahead of a Commonwealth summit in April. The Commonwealth Equality Network and 14 other groups demanded gay rights including the decriminalisation of same-sex relations in 37 of the 53 Commonwealth nations. Photo: Peter Tatchell Foundation

1 October 2017Review

Paradise Press, 2015; 640pp; £35

Meticulously sourced and based on extensive primary research, this book recounts a neglected thread of queer history.

Scott-Presland states that he kept in mind the encyclopedic regimental histories which line the walls of the Imperial War Museum. Notwithstanding this militaristic metaphor, there is a great deal in these pages from which peace campaigners might learn. The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) was founded in 1964. At its height, it had 5,000 members and over 100…

1 June 2017Review

Icon, 2016; 176pp; £11.99

The first recorded use of the word ‘queer’ being used in an explicitly homophobic, derogatory sense was in a letter about Oscar Wilde. It’s always meant something strange and suspicious, as in the American saying ‘queer as a three-dollar bill’, or a fleeting reference to the Diogenes Club in the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Only recently, though, has it been reclaimed and given a new, far more empowering definition. Instead of being an offensive term suggesting that a person is unnatural in…

1 February 2015Feature

An excerpt from new book Radical Feminism explores divisions around trans inclusion

[This is a short extract from a powerful new book by a former Menwith Hill peace camper, grounded in dozens of interviews with feminist activists around the UK. Radical Feminism provides a guide to the development of the women’s liberation movement since the 1970s, deals with the challenges of queer theory, and centres itself in the history and politics of the Reclaim The Night marches against male violence against women.

We’ve chosen to print this section on trans…

1 December 2014Review

Pluto Press, 2013; 224pp; £17

Queer theory is a way of thinking that undermines traditional ways of discussing sexuality and all that it entails. It can be an amazingly liberating tool which helps us to see the arbitrariness of typical gender roles, and it's possible that you've already come across two of its most famous proponents: Judith Butler and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. But is it also often an exercise in academic, bourgeois titillation?

Penney denounces the, often over-refined, abstruse writing that, he…

25 November 2014Review

Northwest Press, 2013; 216pp; $29.99 from

‘Could the refusal to accept the existence of bisexuality be a root cause of homophobia?’ is the intriguing question that motivated the ‘not-very-bisexual’ Zan Christensen to pull together this colourful comics anthology exploring people’s diverse experiences of ‘non-binary sexuality’.

A gay man, he had read an article in the New York Times concerning a psychological experiment suggesting that over 20% of self-identified ‘highly straight’ people secretly harbour some same…

9 June 2014Review

OR Books, 2014; 224pp; £11. Available for purchase online through the OR books website.

Publication of this book was rushed to coincide with the Sochi winter Olympics, and it shows. It shows, because – and the editors admit this – the spectrum of experiences is limited to mostly well-off Russian gays and lesbians, mostly couples with higher education and the ability to travel abroad. The publication of the book is a response to a wave of state-sponsored homophobia in Russia, culminating in a bill banning 'propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations' - often narrowly…

1 July 2013Feature

One of the world’s leading activist trainers draws on decades of experience

I want to give a warning shot to anti-oppression trainers and activists. My bottom line is this: we need to stop applying theory onto people’s experiences, wielding it like a weapon to describe what we believe whether we actually see it in a room or not. It’s not smart organising, creates intense backlash, and shrinks – not grows – our movements.

An organiser recently shared with me an example of what I’m talking about.

He was working in a union that represents workers at a…

28 August 2012Review

Zero, 2011; 79pp; £6.99

PN readers may recall that I’m a big fan of Laurie Penny (aka Penny Red). I’m an equally big fan of feminism, so I was keen to read Meat Market, her series of essays on the subject.

Penny is a serious and passionate writer, and there’s a lot to commend in this book. The opening chapter on sexualisation demonstrates how disempowering the supposedly ‘liberating’ raunch culture actually is, and how it serves commercial rather than individual interests.

Similarly, the…