I don't have many that I out and out admire with no negatives, but Peter Tatchell is one of them. He is a powerful and articulate debater, demonstrator and protestor on behalf of many oppressed gay communities on a worldwide scale (and other community groups too). He puts himself on the front line again and again, lives on a pittance and has given over his life to the cause of helping the oppressed.
I can remember a time when he was looked upon with some derision in the British press and I can't for the life of me think why, other than an underlying homophobia post AIDS or something. Anyway. Peter's latest extraordinary piece of action has been widely reported, with him being beaten nearly senseless whilst trying to deliver a petition to the Mayor of Moscow. The petition demanded the right to raise marches. Unfortunately the Mayor of Moscow seems to believe that gay people are evil, unnatural and all that fucking rubbish.
Tatchell was on the Today programme this morning explaining the turn of events from a personal perspective and was as ever an articulate and passionate speaker. He was beaten by a bizarre coalition of neo-nazi's and righht wing church goers, has an eye injury and concussion (he was surrounded by 6 people, was beaten and kicked whilst lying on the pavement). The police stood by and watched it happen, then waded in and arrested him. Astonishing. It could of course be that they were worried for his safety, so wished to remove him from the scene. Somehow I doubt that.
Some of the Russian gay community were torn as to whether the protest should have gone ahead. Me, I'm always in favour of protest. Even if it does no good, it's extraordinarily important to stand up, and be counted.
I'd be proud to stand next to this man (if a little petrified). Any time.