Photo credit: http://www.petertatchell.net/photos.htm
Tonight (Monday 17 December) I went to "Queer Homes, Queer Families", a history and policy debate, at the British Library Conference Centre with Peter Tatchell; Professor Jeffrey Weeks, OBE; Dr Kath Holden; Professor Sasha Roseneil; Professor Alison Oram; and Dr Matt Cook.
Full details of the event can be found here:
There will be a podcast made of the event, but I thought it would be helpful to capture the key highlights of Peter's talk:
- Peter had been honoured and privileged to be part of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) in the early 1970s. One of the great historic social emancipation movements of British history.
- The GLF tried out new ways of living eg communes as a social experiment.
- They wanted to try something different and explore what could be, not what is.
- The GLF was about sexual and relationship choice and freedom.
- It was looking at how to transform society for the betterment of everyone, LGBT and women. It was about social transformation.
- They saw women's emancipation and gay liberation as parallel movements.
- Peter felt that there had been a dumbing down and a narrowing of horizons since those heady days of the 70s.
- A move towards conforming, and assimilating, with the dominant discourse.
- Moving away from liberation to equality had been restricting.
- Equality was a noble aim but was limited.
- Achieving equality within the existing status quo would just mean conforming to society's existing values.
- They wanted more than that. They wanted something different, something better.
- They wanted to break with existing societal norms and deliver societal transformation and change for the better.
- Peter was fighting for equal marriage, not because he believed in it himself, but because it was of huge symbolic importance.
- Achieving equal marriage would signify that society has accepted LGBT people as equals and given them equal rights and true equality.