What’s below started out as a comment on yet another blog post I ran across, supporting Peter Tatchell and (unsurprisingly) based entirely on a Tatchell-centric view of the world. It got long, so I thought it would be worth putting it up as it’s own post here. Those interested in reading up on the background of Peter’s repeated uninvited meddling can also find more at the following sites: (This is far from an exhaustive list)
- African LGBTI activists ask Tatchell to stop interfering: “Stay out of African LGBTI issues. You have proven that you have no respect for conveying the truth with regards to Africa or consulting African LGBTI leaders before carrying out campaigns that have severe consequences in our countries. You have betrayed our trust over and over again.”
- Tatchell stops publication of a book on LGBT BAME issues he claims is defamatory. (So much for free speech) Also covered by this article.
- Double standards on homophobic prosecutions against Muslims
- Double standards on free speech. (Tatchell claims credit for shutting down an event he wasn’t even invited to)
- My post from last year about Tatchell backing a transphobia, anti-free-speech letter. Also see this post by Sarah Brown. (Sarah received a significant amount of abuse after this, when Tatchell published and widely circulated an article linking her to death threats made against him) This longer post has even more information.
This is not about identity politics. Or it wouldn’t be, except that Peter Tatchell makes it.
This is about white knighting. It’s about refusing to listen to marginalised groups who don’t want “help”. It’s about someone who plays the victim when people fail to show gratitude for uninvited and harmful interventions.
Ultimately, this is about Peter Tatchell trying to destroy anyone who does not worship him unconditionally.
What really happened was not someone taking undue offence at some imagined slight. An invite to speak alongside Peter Tatchell was declined, because the invitee disagreed with his views. This is hardly unusual – many people, myself included, who have seen Tatchell’s anti-free-speech methods, his hypocrisy and his attempts to intervene where his is not wanted share those views.
The response was swift and merciless: Tatchell used every available media outlet to complain he was being silenced and no platformed. To complain that a random person who owes him nothing would not spend time to exchange emails with him email and explain to him exactly why he was wrong. (She may have done, for all I know – Tatchell simply ignores any evidence put in front of him and acts like it wasn’t there) Articles in politics.co.uk, Daily Mail, Telegraph, Guardian and even on Newsnight all went on about Peter’s response to this terrible insult. Yet he was never uninvited from any event. The only person being no-platformed was the person who declined the invite. You could say they were no-platforming themselves.
And the only person guilty of publishing this terrible insult is Tatchell himself, taking a private and otherwise unpublished email and using it to destroy the reputation of an activist.
The fury is not about identity politics. It stems from Tatchell misrepresenting event after event to put himself in the best possible light, at the cost of everyone else. It stems from abuse of “free speech” in service of the media elite to mean the ability to arbitrarily demand the time and energy of others.
For those of who have seen this first hand, these accusations are far from absurd. Instead, the uncritical assumption that Tatchell’s views are the only acceptable ones neatly illustrate the terrifying reality: A white cis-gendered man has more power and influence than those they falsely claim to represent.