1 February 2024Review

Pluto Press, 2023; 376pp; £14.99

Back in 2008, the 24-year old Plane Stupid campaigner Dan Glass was invited to Downing Street to receive an award and took the opportunity to superglue himself to the then-prime minister, Gordon Brown.

But Dan’s life as a campaigner neither began or ended with eco-activism.

Dan was a queer school kid who came out after Section 28 – which prohibited the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ by local authorities – became law in 1988.

Dan writes about how he would ‘slink out on the…

1 December 2022News in Brief

Qatar saw its first public LGBT rights demo on 25 October.

British human rights activist Peter Tatchell, 70, held up a placard in front of the National Museum of Qatar, in the capital, Doha. It read: ‘Qatar arrests, jails & subjects LGBTs to “conversion” #QatarAntiGay.’ With his colleague Simon Harris, he was detained and ‘advised’ to leave the country.

In Qatar, same-sex activity by men or women can lead to up to seven years in prison.

On 19 November, the day before…

1 August 2022News in Brief

LGBT+ members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain’s leading pacifist network, spoke out at the beginning of July against ‘pinkwashing’ by arms firms involved in Pride in London.

The LGBT Pride parade on 2 July included a bloc representing BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers – which supplies weapons to some of the world’s most homophobic regimes.

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 LGBTI+ Pride…

1 June 2019Comment

LGBT direct action wins access to drugs

GOALS: (from Wall Street leaflet, 1987):
1) Immediate release by the Federal Food & Drug Administration of drugs that might help save our lives.
2) Immediate abolishment of cruel double-blind studies wherein some get the new drugs and some don’t.
3) Immediate release of these drugs to everyone with AIDS or ARC [‘AIDS-related complex’ – ed].
4) Immediate availability of these drugs at affordable prices. Curb your greed!
5) Immediate massive public education…

1 June 2019Feature

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

Photo: ‘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…

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…