The activist launched the #ApologiseNow campaign on 7 June
BY DIVA STAFF, IMAGE BY UNSPLASH
The Apologise Now campaign was launched as a result of the violent homphobic actions taken by police forces across the UK in the 80s. Police officers actively sought out queer people to arrest, in a way that can only be described as a “witch-hunt” — even going to the lengths of seducing gay and bisexual men for the sole purpose of arresting them once they committed the “offence” of “gross indecency”.
Peter Tatchell draws attention to the fact that police forces in other countries across the world have already acknowledged and apologised for their homophobic actions. It is past time that the same happened in the UK, in order to help the LGBTQIA community to begin trusting the police to be a source of protection.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley is the first in the UK to release an apology. He stated, “The Met has had systems and processes in place which have led to bias and discrimination in the way we have policed London’s communities, and in the way we have treated our officers and staff, over many decades. Recent cases of appalling behaviour by some officers have revealed that there are still racists, misogynists, homophobes and transphobes in the organisation, and we have already doubled down on rooting out those who corrupt and abuse their position.”
Sir Mark also continued to show he understands that there is work to be done behind an apology: “I am clear that there is much for us to do. I am sorry to all of the communities we have let down for the failings of the past and look forward to building a new Met for London, one all Londoners can be proud of and in which they can have confidence.”
Listen to Peter Tatchell speaking more about how queer communities were affected, alongside a testimony from the late Paul O’ Grady:
Peter very succintly explains, “By 1989, the number of gay and bisexual men convicted of the consenting offence of so-called ‘gross indecency’ was almost as great as in 1954/55 when male homosexuality was totally illegal, and the country was gripped by a McCarthyite-style anti-gay witch hunt. If the police say they have changed, they need to show it by acknowledging past wrongs, to draw a line under the abusive things they did. This means all British police forces should apologise for their decades of harassment. Apologise now!”
Visit apologisenow.com to learn more and to sign the petition.
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