Dedicated to women of Iran, Saudi Arabia & Pakistan
Dundee, Scotland, UK – 23 November 2018
Peter Tatchell was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Liberal Arts by Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, on 23 November 2018, in recognition of his half a century of human rights work.
He dedicated his acceptance of the award to “the women of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who are struggling against patriarchal tyranny and Islamist extremism, for women’s freedom. Their bravery, tenacity and sacrifice is inspiring.”
His acceptance speech urged students to be critical, imaginative risk-takers and change-makers for the upliftment of humanity.
Text of Peter Tatchell’s acceptance speech:
Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, members of faculty, family and friends, and graduands, to whom I offer my congratulations. Congratulations on your hard work – and success.
My gratitude to Abertay University for conferring on me this high award, which I will treasure, and my appreciation to Andrea Cameron for her most generous oration.
I dedicate my acceptance of this Honorary Doctorate to the women of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, who are struggling against patriarchal tyranny and Islamist extremism, for women’s freedom. Their bravery, tenacity and sacrifice is inspiring.
Looking back on my almost 52 years of human rights campaigning, my advice to the graduands, for what it’s worth, is this:
Be sceptical, question authority, be a rebel. Do not conform and don’t be ordinary.
Remember, all human progress is the result of far-sighted people challenging orthodoxy and tradition and challenging rich, powerful, vested interests.
Be daring, show imagination, take risks.
Fight against one of the greatest human rights violations of all: free market capitalism, which has created a world divided into rich and poor, where hundreds of millions of people are malnourished, homeless, without sanitation and clean drinking water and who are dying from hunger and preventable diseases.
In whatever field of endeavour you work, be a change-maker for the upliftment of humanity.
To quote my fellow sodomite and socialist Oscar Wilde:
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’