Peter Tatchell Papers

Scope and Content

Papers of Peter Tatchell include press cuttings, articles by Tatchell and letters to the press on subjects including: government policy on AIDS; lesbian and gay equality; animal rights; green socialism; European strategies for socialism; the Church of England; Clause 28; relations between the police and the gay community; material relating to campaigns and protests; including the Bermondsey by-election of 1983; AIDS research; lesbian and gay rights in Europe; gays and the military; the homosexual age of consent; psychiatric treatment of lesbians, gays and bisexuals; gay marriage; Labour Party policy on gay rights; homophobic violence and Tatchell's trial at Canterbury Magistrates Court following Outrage!'s Easter Sunday protest in 1998. A substantial part of the collection comprises press releases issued by Outrage!.

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter Tatchell was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1952. In 1972 he emigrated to Britain to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War, which he had actively opposed. He worked freelance in design and display whilst studying for a BSc in Sociology at the Polytechnic of North London; 1974-1977. During this period, Tatchell attended meetings of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and soon became actively involved in gay politics. He acted as the GLF delegate to the World Youth Festival in East Berlin in 1973.

Following his graduation in 1977, Tatchell became a social worker with the North Lambeth housing agency in Waterloo. In 1978 Tatchell founded the UK AIDS Vigil Organisation, the first group to campaign for the civil liberties of those with AIDS. This was followed in 1989 by his creation of the London Act Up (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). In the year 2000, Peter Tatchell stood unsuccessfully as an Independent candidate for the new Greater London Assembly.

Outrage! was founded in May 1990 by Martin Corbitt, Simon Watney, Peter Tatchell and other gay rights activists. The group uses non-violent, direct action tactics to challenge hypocrisy and anti-gay discrimination and to promote the discussion of queer issues. Outrage! has staged publicity stunts to highlight repressive policing of gays and lesbians and has led a campaign to out closet homosexuals in public life. The Church of England has been a key target for Outrage!. In 1994 Outrage! named ten Bishops and asked them to 'Tell the Truth' about their sexuality.

Other famous Outrage! publicity stunts included the Queer Valentine Carnival, Kiss-in, Queer Wedding and Queer Remembrance Day. Outrage! also helped to organise solidarity campaigns with queers suffering persecution in other countries including Romania, Zimbabwe, Iran and South Africa.

Access Information

Access by appointment

Acquisition Information

The Peter Tatchell papers were donated in June 2004 to the Labour History Archives and Study Centre, which is based at the head office of the People's History Museum and managed by the John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester.


National Museum of Labour History accession number NMLH.2004.41.

Description compiled by Janette Martin, July 2004. Prepared for Archives Hub by Monica Tandon, January 2005.

Other Finding Aids

The collection has not yet been listed

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents. Prior written permission must be obtained from the Archive for publication or reproduction of any material within the Archive. Please contact the Labour History Archive and Study Centre, 103 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6DD Tel.: +44 (0)161 228 7212.

Appraisal Information

A small amount of printed material which was not directly relevant to the collection has been removed.

Custodial History

The papers were accumulated by Peter Tatchell in the course of his campaign work and also by the organisation Outrage! of which he was a co-founder.


Accruals are expected.

Related Material

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre holds the papers of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The Communist Party of Great Britain archive also includes material on gay rights.

The People's History Museum also holds badges and ephemera donated by Peter Tatchell.

The London School of Economics Library holds an extensive collection of gay and lesbian material within the Hall Carpenter archive, including a large amount of material donated by Peter Tatchell.


Several books were received alongside the Tatchell and Outrage! papers including:

Europe in the Pink:Lesbian and Gay Equality by Peter Tatchell. (London : GMP, 1992)

Safer Sexy the guide to gay sex safely by Peter Tatchell; photographs by Robert Taylor. (London Freedom Editions, 1994).

The Battle for Bermondsey (London : Heretic Books, 1983).

Democratic Defence (London : GMP, 1985)

AIDS: A Guide to Survival by Peter Tatchell, preface by Charles Farthing. (London : GMP, 1986).

'Strategies for Power' by Peter Tatchell, published in Getting There: Steps to a Green Society by Derek Wall. (London : Green Print, 1990)

Books marked with an asterisk are kept with the collection, other publications have been placed with the LHASC library collection.