Letter: Tatchell replies

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The Independent Culture
Sir: While I am reluctant to diminish my reputation as a sexual revolutionary hell-bent on subverting straight-laced Puritanism, some of David Aaronovitch's assertions must be challenged before they become accepted facts ("This archaic nation of angry bishops and petulant peers", 19 November).

I do not argue that it is "homophobic" to stop gay men having sex "in public" on Hampstead Heath in London. My view is that the police should extend to gay cruising areas the policy of non-prosecution that already exists in most parts of the country regarding heterosexual liaisons in lovers' lanes. While public sex that causes offence cannot be defended, discreet sex on the Heath in the middle of the night involves only those who choose to participate, and should not therefore be prosecuted.

It is also wrong to suggest that I advocate "nude, tumescent sunbathing" in places that are "frequented by children". Myself and OutRage! have condemned the restrictions on nude sunbathing at the men's pond on Hampstead Heath, arguing that nudity inside the enclosure should continue as it has for nearly 100 years, on the proviso that warning signs are the only erec-tions in sight.

The claim that outing was "pioneered" by OutRage! "long before" it was practised by News International is absurd. The Murdoch press was outing people years before OutRage! was formed in 1990. We have never supported the outing of people because they are gay. Our sole commitment is to ethical outing to expose homophobic public figures who bash the gay community while having secret gay affairs.


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