Happy birthday, Peter Tatchell

Today is the birthday of Peter Tatchell, a long-time campaigner for human rights, civil liberties, and rights for LGBT people. Obviously the ASI does not go along with his left-slanted views on the economy, neoliberalism or free markets, but on the issue of his human rights campaigns, he has shown both bravery and consistency. He was injured while trying to make a citizen’s arrest for human rights abuses of Zimbabwe dictator, Robert Mugabe, when he was beaten by the latter’s bodyguard thugs. He was injured by neo-Nazis in Moscow while campaigning for gay rights there.

He has consistently supported free speech, even of those he profoundly disagrees with. He wrote in the Guardian, "The best way to tackle prejudice is by presenting facts and using reasoned arguments, to break down ignorance and ill-will," and he made the contemporary threats to free speech in Britain the subject of his lecture to the British Humanist Association.

Since 2011 he has been Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, working to protect and secure the rights of individuals, communities and nations, both domestically and internationally. He has spoken vociferously against the “no platform” policies of some university groups, and has been himself been no-platformed and the recipient of death threats in consequence.

He has spoken on human rights and freedoms at the ASI, and found a welcoming and supportive audience. As someone consistent in his campaigns for free speech and for people to be free from violence, oppression and intimidation, he has become a national figure, widely respected. On this day we salute him. Happy birthday, Peter.