Letter: Why there's nowt so queer as folk like Peter Tatchell

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The Independent Online
I shall not be alone in my dismay on reading Peter Tatchell's hysterical effusions ('Do us a favour - call us queer', 26 July). He is right to point out the ills which continue to beset many homosexual people. But that he and his friends, swept along on the latest surge of transatlantic fashion, now resolve to call themselves queer rather than gay is more likely to antagonise than redress these inequities.

At a time when there is widespead concern about the transience of personal relationships, it is at best injudicious to proclaim the superiority of lifestyles that afford a wide range of sexual partners and the opportunity to be sexually adventurous.

For the first time since the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 there is a real prospect of reducing the unrealistic and cruelly discriminatory age of consent of 21 for gay men. It is therefore perversely inopportune to propagate the dubious - not to say discredited - thesis that everyone is potentially bisexual. Indeed, this very doctrine was advanced as a justification for a high age of consent and, more recently, as a vindication of Clause 28.

The most depressing revelation of Peter's article is that someone who has been so courageous in articulating the legitimate grievances of gay people can be so slow to learn the lessons of our own recent history.

J Martin Stafford

Altrincham, Cheshire

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