How the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto helped to shape me | Peter Tatchell | The Guardian.pdf

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How the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto helped to shape me Peter Tatchell 16 Jun 2020 This article is more than 7 years old This article is more than 7 years old The 1971 manifesto expanded my civil rights perspective into a radical critique of heterosexism, male privilege and gender roles A Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation Front demonstration in London in 1971. Photograph: Rex Features Wed 7 Aug 2013 02.47 AEST The Gay Liberation Front Manifesto was a revolution in consciousness when it was published in London in 1971, and it remains revolutionary today. It o ff ers a radical critique of sexism and what we now call homophobia; as well as a pioneering agenda for social and personal transformation. Amazingly, it was not written by high-powered intellectuals but by a collective of grassroots activists, driven by idealism and passion for the betterment of queer humanity. They included anarchists, hippies, leftwingers, feminists, liberals and counter-culturalists. The final text was a compromise between these di ff erent factions – and it shows. Some of it reeks of writing by committee. In places, the language is dated and inelegant. Some ideas are expressed too simplistically. Often you have to read between the lines to comprehend the full implications of what is being said. But despite these shortcomings, the central theses stand the test of time. They remain fresh, innovative, challenging and inspiring; stratospheres above the frequent mediocrity of today's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender politics. I did not write the manifesto, but I was a GLF activist and involved in the discussions – and rows – about it. Inspired by the ideas of the black civil rights movement in the US, I had already conceptualised LGBT people as an
oppressed minority, similar to black people, and believed that we had a comparable claim for equal treatment. But the manifesto went much further. It was an eye-opener: expanding my civil rights perspective into a more radical critique of heterosexism, male privilege and the tyranny of traditional gender roles. It woke me up to the fact that queer

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