OutRage! has one very clear objective: to campaign against all forms of homophobia and to work for the emancipation of all queers. We work with everyone who shares our commitment, regardless of their political affiliations.
To achieve our objective, there is a need for a range of different tactics. Our speciality is direct action. We confront homophobic individuals face-to-face and call them to account for their prejudice. Our aim is to expose, embarrass, ridicule and shame them into ceasing their homophobia. We purposefully use imaginative, witty and sometimes shocking tactics to generate media coverage of lesbian and gay issues, thereby breaking down invisibility and promoting public awareness and debate. Often our direct action tactics helpfully complement the lobbying efforts of other lesbian and gay organisations, enabling them to take forward issues we have succeeded in profiling in the media.
Established in May 1990, OutRage! is the world's longest surviving queer rights direct action group. Our witty, imaginative, daring, and irreverent style of nonviolent civil disobedience has elevated activism into an art form: protest as performance. Some of our most famous stunts include the Queer Valentine's Carnival, Kiss-in, Queer Wedding, Exorcism of Homophobia, and Queer Remembrance Day.
OutRage!'s radical direct action has included ambushing the Prime Minister's motorcade two days after Parliament voted to maintain the discriminatory age of consent for gay sex in 1994, and invading the Vatican Embassy and Westminster (R.C.) Cathedral in 1992 to protest at the Pope's support for antigay laws.
Most notoriously, in 1994 OutRage! named ten Church of England bishops and asked them to "Tell the Truth" about their sexuality. This generated more public discussion of gay issues than any campaign ever conducted in Britain, and resulted in the Church issuing one of its strongest ever condemnations of homophobic discrimination. Activism gets results!
Unapologetic and provocative, OutRage!'s remit is to challenge antigay discrimination, confront the perpetrators of homophobia face to face, promote the public visibility and media debate of queer issues, and articulate a radical agenda for sexual freedom, (which will ultimately benefit everyone -- gay, straight, and bisexual).
Rejecting the assimilationist and conformist politics of the mainstream lesbian and gay rights movement, OutRage! has pioneered a critical, sceptical attitude towards the values, laws, and institutions of straight society. Equality is important but is not enough, since equal rights alone inevitably means equality on straight terms.
That's why, for example, instead of aping heterosexual marriage, OutRage! campaigns for an Unmarried Partners Act, to give legal rights to all unwed couples, gay and straight. Likewise, we want the age of consent lowered to 14 for everyone, to affirm the sexual rights of all young people; and we have distributed condoms and leaflets about homosexuality and safer sex to school pupils, to combat censorship in the classroom. While other groups campaign for new laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation only, OutRage! is working for an Equal Rights Act that protects all citizens (including lesbians and gay men) against all forms of discrimination, harassment, and incitement to hatred. Our agenda seeks to reformulate lesbian and gay human rights in ways that liberate people of all sexualities.
Just one of our many successful campaigns has involved direct action against police harassment of gay and bisexual men. Years of polite negotiations with the police had done little to lessen victimisation. Because dialogue wasn't working, from 1990 onwards OutRage! felt that direct action was the only realistic alternative. We began invading police stations, busting police entrapment operations, publicly identifying undercover agent provocateurs, warning cottagers and cruisers with leaflets and stickers, and deafening New Scotland Yard with foghorns and whistles. Suddenly the police sat up and listened. Working alongside a wide variety of other queer organisations, we demanded that the police create an official lesbian and gay community liaison forum where our constructive proposals could be discussed. We succeeded in radically changing police priorities, from persecution to protection (against queerbashers). The result of our actions? Between 1990 and 1994 the number of men convicted for consenting gay behaviour fell by two thirds. So we saved thousands of a gay men and bisexual men from being hauled up before the courts for victimless "crimes".
OutRage! takes up the cases of individuals suffering discrimination. A Cambridge postal worker complained to us that he was receiving harassment at work. He was given no help by his union or manager: so we occupied his local sorting office and the national headquarters of the postal service. By doing this, we managed to get the harasser disciplined and also secured a major revision of the Post Office code against workplace harassment, thereby benefiting all employees.
OutRage! provides information, advice and referrals to the many callers who cannot get through to Lesbian and Gay Switchboard when it is engaged, e.g. advice on finding a gay friendly solicitor, lodging claims for unfair dismissal, and getting help for alcoholism and depression.
OutRage! promotes awareness and education about lesbian and gay issues, by providing speakers to schools and colleges all over the country. We write press articles and letters, and give radio and television interviews (national and international) to complement our campaigning. Our interviews with the foreign media in countries where there is no organised gay rights movement is an indirect way of supporting isolated queers in those countries.
OutRage! investigates and researches antigay discrimination, providing vital information for journalists and radio/television programmes highlighting inequality and the need for law reform. Investigations of ours include revealing the activities of antigay Christian fundamentalist cults which try to "cure" queers; exposing the previous lack of condoms suitable for anal sex in gay bar vending machines (now they are freely available over the counter); and publicising the fact that many well known British companies did not include homosexuals in their equal opportunities policies, (which has now produced some hasty amendments).
OutRage! helps organised solidarity campaigns with queers suffering persecution in other countries. Some of our campaigns have focused on exposing repression in Romania, Zimbabwe, and Iran. Previously, we assisted South African lesbian and gays in drafting anti-discrimination proposals which have now bee included in the post apartheid constitution.
OutRage! is one of the most effective lesbian and gay campaigning groups. This is achieved despite massive under-resourcing. Our total annual budget is a mere £ 4,000 (compared to Stonewall's £ 400,000). We are not only effective politically, but financially quite a bargain!
But we could achieve even more if we had regular and secure funding.
OutRage! is run by an all-volunteer team. No one is paid anything and we have no full time workers, so every penny raised goes directly on funding our campaigns against homophobia. We have achieved a public profile similar to Greenpeace, but they have 80 full time paid employees and an annual budget of £ 3.5 million!
OutRage! receives no funding from benefactors or foundations. Our money comes from donations, standing orders, and rattling collection tins in bars and clubs.
We receive no government or charitable grants: so we are entirely dependent upon donations from people like you to support our campaigning work in the battle for L/G/B emancipation.
We are therefore always grateful to receive:
|credit card donations:||Unfortunately we don't accept these yet ...|
|standing orders:||Fill in a standing order, and return the completed form to your own bank.|
make cheques payable to OutRage! and send to the address below,
or pay cash directly into our Giro account (account no. 77.80.93.02, sort code 72-00-01) at any post office.
OutRage! is arguably the most accessible and accountable queer community organisation. To get involved, no one has to be approved by a committee, sign a pledge -- or even pay money. You don't even have to take out a membership. All you have to do is agree with our aim of fighting homophobia and turn up at our weekly general meeting, which is open to all queers. Attendance qualifies as membership. From your very first meeting, you have the right to speak, propose ideas, and vote to decide policy. This openness means we have little bureaucracy and can respond quickly to community concerns. It also means that if anyone has a problem with what we are doing, they can tell us about it directly by coming to our meeting, which is open to them, too! This keeps us on our toes, ensuring our accountability to the wider lesbian and gay community. It also ensures that we have a regular infusion of new ideas and activists.
Meetings are held every Thursday at Central Station, Wharfdale Road, N1. Nearest tube station: King's Cross. Ring 020-82.40.02.22 for details.
OutRage! has a positive, proven record of commitment and achievement.
With your help, we can ensure that we go on fighting for queer emancipation. Join us, or send us a donation.
You can write to us at:
OutRage!, P.O. Box 17816, London. SW14 8WT
or call us on 020-82.40.02.22
or e-mail us at [email protected]
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