The Battle for Equality comes to Morley

Last night Morley College was pleased to welcome human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for our second Penny Lecture of the year. His lively lecture, The Unfinished Battle for LGBTI Rights in the UK, drew many new guests to the College.

In his lecture Peter outlined the landmark moments over more than forty years for the fight for LGBTI rights, including the final repeal of Section 28 in 2003, as well as the struggle for the human rights of countries around the world.

Peter highlighted the double standards that still exist for LGBTI people, for example the prosecution of those who incite violence towards religious and ethnic communities yet when the same expression is towards LGBTI people no action is made to prosecute them.

During an extended Q&A after his lecture Peter was asked what kept him campaigning for so many years. He recalled realising he was gay in 1969 and reading about a gay march in New York and the fight for black civil rights in the US, which inspired him to fight for inequality. He thought at the time it would take 50 years to gain LGBTI rights and is pleased that it took less time, although noting there is still some way still to go in the world where homosexuality is still prohibited in 80 countries.

The Peter Tatchell Foundation works to promote and protect the human rights of people in the UK and internationally. His foundation supports homosexual asylum seekers and to date has helped 84 refugees from countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  

This lecture was the second in our winter series of Penny Lectures which were re-launched last September to mark Morley’s 125th anniversary. Previous speakers have included Professor Jerry White who discussed the history of London during the First World War, Professor Roger Kneebone who outlined the similarities between surgery and craft and the shared learning opportunities of both, and Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti who discussed issues from her book On Liberty. Last month broadcast astronomers Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest took guests on a cosmic quest of the universe.

The Penny Lectures date back to the earliest history of Morley College with founder Emma Cons hosting weekly lectures at the Royal Victoria Coffee and Music Hall, which is now the Old Vic theatre. The aim was to offer morally-decent entertainment at affordable prices for the community. The lectures would play host to eminent scientists of the day and address the public on a wide range of topics, all for just one penny.

Our next Penny Lecture on Thursday 19 March feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez will join us to discuss the question Does Female Representation Matter? There will also be a new series of Penny Lectures for our Summer term. Details to follow soon.

Last night Morley College was pleased to welcome human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for our second Penny Lecture of the year…

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