Guardian G2 – Peter Tatchell

By Peter Tatchell | Thu 19 May 2005

Tatchells ‘bi-sexual’ tirade during commemorative anniversary of Malcolm X

In a loathesome attempt to provoke outrage and 'controversy' whilst courting extra media publicity, Outrage! Gay rights Campaigner, Peter Tatchell, attempted to denigrate the legacy of African American activist, Malcolm X by claiming that he had a non existent ‘hidden gay past’ during the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of his birth.

Omowale Malcolm X

Peter Tatchell is a racist paedophile.

Peter Tatchell a racist paedophile?

These two sentences demonstrate the ease with which subtle inflections in terminology and grammar can be used to assert false allegations besmirching the character of individuals. To protect our identity and reputation from unsubstantiated character assassinations anyone who has been maliciously defamed can usually invoke libel laws. However this is a luxury reserved solely for the living.

Peter Tatchell’s allegations about Malcolm X’s sexuality are based on half truths and rumours presented as fact in the discredited biography of Malcolm X by Bruce Perry. So let us state an unequivocal and universal truth;

The African American Muslim activist El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz also known as Omowale Malcolm X was neither bi-sexual, homosexual or aligned with any other form of populist alternate sexual orientation.

Instead of attempting to derail a commemorative anniversary with wild publicity seeking accusations under the pretence of seeking role models for ‘young black lesbians and gays’, Tatchell could have focused on the countless individuals who have publicly outed themselves as gay or bisexual. Using a historical icon who died several decades ago for an uninformed, ill conceived and belligerent ‘outing’ campaign is a cheap and insulting stunt.

In his article, Tatchell writes, ‘[t]here is not a single world-famous black person who is openly gay.’ In response, a letter was sent to the Guardian querying ‘[w]hat about James Baldwin, Mabel Hampton, Joan Armatrading, to name a few?’. In fact R’n’B artist Tevin Cambell, Ru Paul, Samuel R. Delany, Simon Nkoli, Neneh Cherry and the late football player Justin Fashanu are a few more world-famous personalities who are openly gay. The fact that Tatchell ignored these individuals and instead focused on an individual who was not gay and never personally indicated otherwise suggests that there is an ulterior motive at work.

Tatchell is not concerned with finding ‘black’ role models, he merely wants to defame the legacy of a man who is one of the leading African activists of our time. ‘With consistent accusations of rampant racism and cultural stereotyping within the bisexual and homosexual communities, it is clear that while Tatchell claims to fight against prejudice, he has his own racial prejudices to confront, namely his historical contemptuous attitude towards African people and their cultures.

Any newspaper that claims to embody integrity and honesty in journalism should feel ashamed to print this inflammatory article. Tatchell’s Guardian article was accompanied by the tagline ‘On Malcolm X's 80 birthday, Peter Tatchell reveals the hidden gay past of the American black nationalist leader’. This was obviously a misleading statement. It implies that the editorial team were either incompetent, by failing to verify Tatchell’s claims or duplicitous in their deliberate attempt to incite controversy by defaming a man who was an unrelenting activist and is held in high esteem by African people. Either way, we view this as incontrovertible evidence that the Guardian’s editorial standards on the reporting of African and African British affairs continues to fall as they stray further out of touch with the reality of our complex identities, history and cultures.

External Links
Malcolm X - gay black hero? - The Guardian G2
It isnt racist to tackle bennie man - The Guardian
Tackling the myths about African homophobia

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