Just as I had started to come out to myself (I was a late bloomer), I remember him and members of Outrage! storming the Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter sermon in 1998 and found it intimidating. The negative reactions to the confrontational work of Outrage! influenced my decision to remain in the closet for a few more years as I didn't want to associate myself with their radicalism. When I finally came out, I sent money to Stonewall, went on a few marches and supported gay rights albeit passively.
How things have changed. I'm no longer a fan of Stonewall (their strap line now being 'Working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals”. Nothing about our Trans sisters and brothers whose fore Mothers from the Stonewall Inn help kick start the queer rights movement that they take their name from.) I now realise it's thanks to people like Peter, who constantly puts his neck on the line, that today I can enjoy the freedom of being an outspoken, queer woman. I'm all for peaceful lobbying but sometimes you need to be big and bold to be heard.
Tonight, Channel 4 broadcast his documentary 'The Trouble with the Pope', discussing the negative impact the head of Catholicism has on the world. It could have been predominately about Ratzinger condemning gays as evil, but this was but a small part and the whole documentary was balanced and very informative. In a society where being on TV is the ultimate medium to gain presence, I hope more people are now aware of the issues raised and of Peter and his work.
Peter has been abused, arrested and suffered serious physical injury in his fight for the rights of others. Rather than lay down, he gets up again and continues. I may not agree on all of his views but for doing what he does for humanity, I salute and thank him.
P.S. I'll be joining him on Saturday 18th September to protest the Pope's state visit to the UK.