Peter Tatchell visits Forest
Peter Tatchell was the latest guest speaker to address the Sixth Form at Forest as part of the Look Out lecture series, on Thursday 13 October 2016.
The LGBT and human rights activist is known across the world for his campaigning with many referring to him as a ‘legend’. The Independent on Sunday have described him as ‘one of the most influential gay men of the century,’ while The Sunday Times labelled him ‘a national hero’.
Peter has been at the vanguard of campaigning for social justice for six decades, beginning in his native Australia in 1967 as a school pupil, when he led campaigns in support of the country’s Aboriginal people. Upon emigrating to the UK, he helped organize the first gay pride march in 1972 and became a key member of the Gay Liberation Front and subsequently OutRage, the non-violent direct action group.
During the visit, Peter spoke on the topic of the global struggle for LGBT rights, arguing that while the general trend was for greater equality, many parts of the world have experienced a fierce backlash against gay rights.
He pointed out that in around two thirds of Commonwealth countries homosexuality is criminalised, and urged young people to lobby their MPs in order to get gay rights on the agenda of the forthcoming Commonwealth conference in the UK.
During a Q&A with pupils, Peter thoughtfully answered fantastic questions put to him by the audience on topics ranging from Caitlyn Jenner, who recently came out as transgender, to the age of consent.
In a final vote of thanks, Maisie Folan (Yr 13) thanked Peter for ‘giving a voice to the voiceless’ during a lifetime devoted to the pursuit of equality and human rights for all.