British gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will be awarded with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from De Montfort University in Leicester, UK at a ceremony today (23 January).
Tatchell, 62, will be honored because of his political activism and commitment to human rights, especially his campaigns for LGBTI equality, throughout his life.
John Bercow, House of Commons speaker and chairman of international LGBTI rights charity Kaleidoscope, will also be honored at the ceremony.
‘In accepting this honor, I pay tribute to the many heroic, inspirational activists I have worked with,’ Tatchell said.
‘I am so lucky to have had the privilege to know and support so many amazing, courageous human rights defenders around the world.’
Andrew Rees, deputy dean of the Falcuty of Business and Law at the university, said: ‘In every sense Peter has lived his life with great courage and moral conviction, and his example should provide an inspiration to us all.’
‘Through tireless campaigning Peter and his fellow human rights campaigners have made tremendous progress, and due to their dedication, ingenuity and commitment, many of the homophobic injustices of previous decades will no longer be felt by generations to come’.’
Born in Australia, Tatchell first campaigned for aboriginal rights at the age of 15 and later dedicated his time fighting for equality for the gay community. After moving to London, he became involved with the Gay Liberation Front and set up LGBT rights group OutRage! in 1990.
Furthermore, he has at times endured physical retributions because of his work.
In 2001 he attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest of Zimbabwean Present Mugabe and his right eye was permanently damaged by the politician’s bodyguards. While attending a gay pride parade in Moscow, Russia in 2007 he was punched in the face and nearly knocked unconscious by violent anti-gay protestors.