Despite Covid, we carried on advising, educating, supporting & campaigning
London, UK – 6 January 2022
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, writes:
2021 was a challenging year for the Peter Tatchell Foundation, but we did not let Covid deter us from our goals and work. The battle for freedom, equality and justice will not wait until the pandemic is over.
Here are a few sample highlights from our work in 2021:
In February, with the help of Stephen Fry, the PTF launched the #StopDithering campaign to put pressure on Boris Johnson to fulfil the government’s promise to ban LGBT+ conversion therapy (made in 2018!). The government is now promising legislation in the spring. We will not let up until this unethical, harmful and ineffective practice is outlawed
Personally, it’s been a busy year with the release on Netflix in May of the documentary Hating Peter Tatchell, about my 55 years of human rights activism. I hope it inspires others to become change-makers. I’m not done yet. I hope to carry on campaigning for another 25 years
In June, Pride in London was cancelled by the organisers. In response, the PTF held an alternative “Reclaim Pride” march in July with a focus on UK and global LGBT+ human rights issues. 2,500 people marched, at short notice and with little advance publicity – proving that Pride can be a both a celebration and a protest – and it cost a mere £1,500 to organise! #ReclaimPride will be back in 2022
October saw us organise an Open Letter to the Mayor of London, urging reform of Pride in London (which the mayor funds & oversees).
We’ll keep pressing to ensure that Pride in London is accountable to the LGBT+ community
The same month we worked with the Jeremy Bamber defence campaign. He’s been in prison for over 36 years, even though he’s a model prisoner. We secured a first-ever admission from the Chief Constable of Essex that they have withheld masses of evidence about the case. Given the police suppression of evidence, Jeremy Bamber did not a get a fair trial and his conviction is unsafe
In December, the inquest verdict into the Stephen Port serial murders concluded that police failures contributed to the killing of three young gay men. We said the disrespectful way the police treated the murdered men’s partners and gay friends amounted to institutional homophobia. Even now, not a single police officer has faced disciplinary action, five of the officers have been promoted and the police deny homophobia. We will keep supporting the families, lovers and friends of the murdered men in their quest for justice
In addition, in 2021 we called out homophobia on the BBC Persian and Arabic services and worked with Bhopal campaigners to lobby the Dow corporation to compensate victims of the 1984 chemical disaster in India.
Internationally, we supported the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and highlighted the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in China. We also publicised the persecution of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia and worked in solidarity with oppressed Arabs in Iran and the Free West Papua movement’s resistance to the ‘slow genocide’ perpetrated by the Indonesian occupiers.
The PTF casework programme continues to assist individual victims of homophobia, violence and harassment – plus people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum. In 2021, despite the pandemic, we helped 213 people from 46 countries. This is a 60% increase on the previous year.
2022 promises to be equally as busy. We have started the year with good news: Pardons and the erasure of convictions and cautions will be extended to all men arrested under now abolished same-sex offences. Previously, only a limited number of offences were included. This victory is the result of efforts by Lord Cashman, which we supported.
Plus, we have teamed up with Paul O’Grady (Lily Savage) for a major new campaign that we will launch that later this month. And we are already planning actions to coincide with the football World Cup, which will be held in Qatar in November – despite the country violating the rights of women, LGBTs and migrant workers!
Like all charities, our biggest challenge right now is fundraising. I want to thank most sincerely all of you who have supported us financially during this difficult time. Your donations have sustained us and made a difference.
As always, our success starts with your generosity.
Wishing you the best for 2022,
Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation