40 years ago, Kevin Wilshaw joined the UK-based neo-Nazi group the National Front. Now, he’s denouncing the group and opening up about his own identities as a gay and Jewish man.
In a revealing and telling segment on Channel 4, Wilshaw confronts his past of white supremacy and hopes for the future.
As he goes through artifacts from his National Front days, including a Nazi flag and Adolf Hitler bust, he discusses his mother being Jewish. How is it, then, that a man who has Jewish blood and is gay, joins an anti-Semitic and homophobic group?
‘I didn’t have many friends in school,’ he says. ‘And I thought getting involved in that sort of thing would provide comradeship.’
When asked if the National Front provided that, he answers simply and honestly: ‘Yes, it did, unfortunately.’
He discusses witnessing violent acts of discrimination and though they turned his stomach, he remained in the group for a sense of belonging.
‘On one or two occasions in the recent past, I’ve actually been the recipient of the very hatred of the people I want to belong to,’ he confides.
Wilshaw continues: ‘If you’re gay, it is acceptable in society, but with these group of people it’s not acceptable. And I found on one or two occasions when I was suspected of being gay, I was subjected to abuse.’
He admits it wasn’t until then that he began to consider leaving the movement.
‘It’s a terribly selfish thing to say, but it’s true. I saw people being abused, shouted at, spat at in the street ― it’s not until it’s directed at you that you suddenly realize that what you’re doing is wrong.’
So what now?
He wants to mend a relationship with his family. ‘This is also a barrier to me having a relationship with my own family, and I want to get rid of it, it’s too much of a weight,’ he says. He also adds he feelings ‘appallingly guilty’.
You can watch the whole segment below.