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Peter Tatchell recalls taking part in Britain and Russia's first Pride marches

The human rights campaigner stresses that there are still battles to be won, whilst taking part in Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi

2020-06-27

Peter Tatchell has stood on the frontline of the ongoing battle for LGBTQ rights for decades – and he has no plans to retreat.

Appearing in Attitude’s Pride Heroes, in association with Taimi, the human rights campaigner reminds us that Pride is first and foremost about protest.

“My first Pride memory is 1972,” Peter, wearing his trademark rainbow-striped tie, begins. “I was one of about 40 people who helped organise Britain’s first-ever Pride parade, which took place in London on the 1 July that year.”

“It was an incredibly exciting experience,” he says. “Only about a thousand people turned up and we were subjected to often quite homophobic policing and violent threats and assaults from some members of the public. But we took our stand.”

The 67-year-old activist – who fought for the Gay Liberation Front and then radical queer group Outrage! – also shared his favourite Pride memory.

It is by no means warm and fuzzy, soaked in the nostalgia of one too many glasses of warm Prosecco - and that’s the point.

“I went to Russia [in 2006] at the invitation of activists, who wanted to hold Russia’s first Pride parade in Moscow,” Peter explains. “But the mayor banned it, he set the riot squad on us and allowed neo-Nazi gangs to attack us. It was terrifying, but it is still my favourite Pride because of the huge, immeasurable courage of the Russian activists, who to this day keep on fighting for LGBT+ rights.”

He adds: "We’ve won so many battles, but there are still battles to win, like mandatory LGBT+ education in every school; the right of people to define their own gender identity, not the medical profession or the state; compensation for gay and bisexual men convicted under homophobic laws, and an end to the Home Office detention [and] deportation of LGBT+ asylum seekers."

Peter continues to speak up for the silenced around the world as part of his work with the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Stonewall co-founder Michael Cashman, LGBTQ activist Bisi Alimi, TV host Michelle Visage, 'Drag Race' superstar Courtney Act and writer and performer Amrou Al-Kadhi will also be appearing in Pride Heroes, supported by Taimi.

Watch on attitude.co.uk and YouTube.