1. Which books and authors have had the greatest influence on your political beliefs?

The Gay Liberation Manifesto (1971). Challenging the view that gay was mad, bad and sad, it spurred me to fight straight supremacism.

2. Name one film, one book, one play and one song or piece of music that you would like everyone to see, read or hear.

Film: The Life Of Brian, a brilliant satire on the irrationality and intolerance of religion.

Book: The Pink Triangle by Richard Plant, which documents the Nazi war against homosexuals (unlike ‘revisionist’ historians such as William Shirer and Martin Gilbert).

Play: Oh, What A Lovely War!, for its searing indictment of militarism and jingoism.

Poem: O Child Of Uranus, by Edward Carpenter. Published in 1883, it far-sightedly celebrates gayness and predicts the victory of queers over prejudice.

Song: John Lennon’s Sunday Bloody Sunday(about the killing of 14 civil rights marchers by the Parachute Regiment in Derry in 1972), to remind us of British terrorism in Ireland.

3. In the early stages of your life, which figures stood out as an important influence on you?

Martin Luther King. He showed that right can triumph over might, and that moral power is (ultimately) greater than physical power.

4. What event during your lifetime has had the greatest effect on your political beliefs?

US genocide against the people of Vietnam, the greatest immorality since Nazism. Johnson and Nixon should have been tried as war criminals.

5. Which political figure, living or dead, do you most admire?

Gandhi. His model of non-violent direct action not only liberated India, but has since inspired countless struggles for social justice world-wide, including OutRage!.

6. If you could visit any time in history for just 24 hours, which would you choose and why?

Berlin, 22 January 1933, to assassinate Hitler as he left Ribbentrop’s house, which would have stopped him becoming Chancellor and might have prevented the Holocaust and the Second World War.

7. What do you consider the greatest threat at present to individual freedom and liberty?

Jack Straw and Michael Howard trying to out-tough each other on law and order (otherwise genetic engineering and surveillance technology)

8. On important matters, whose opinion – other than your own – do you trust most?

My OutRage! comrades.

9. Who is the greatest Prime Minister we never had, and why?

Tony Benn. He would have ensured that society was run for the common good, not private profit and privilege.

10. If you could pass one law, what would it be?

An Equal Rights Act to outlaw discrimination based on race, sex, class, disability, age, religion, political opinion, sexuality and medical condition.


Peter Tatchell’s book, We Don’t Want To March Straight – Masculinity, Queers & The Military, is published by Cassell (£4.99).

New Statesman,6 December 1996