Campaigning for All, Campaigning for Peace

Photographs of Stormé DeLarverie
A painting of Pat Arrowsmith, with Pat sat beside it

Campaigning peacefully for the advancement and protection of human rights, equality and the right to live in peace is a story told by all of the objects in The Peace Museum’s collection in some way.

LGBTQ+ peacemaking is an essential part of this story.

What impact has the LGBTQ+ community had on peacemaking?

My father probably thought that if I had to get married, I would dismiss all notions of leading a gay lifestyle – I discovered after he died, from his diaries, that he knew I was gay, as he wrote ‘She’s not even ashamed of it’”

— Pat Arrowsmith, speaking to The Guardian about her father's attitude towards her sexuality

A painting of Pat Arrowsmith, with Pat sat beside it

© Maggie Glover.

Pat Arrowsmith

Pat Arrowsmith is a peace activist and anti-nuclear protestor. She organised the first UK protest against nuclear weapons at Aldermaston in Berkshire in 1958 and was a co-founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. She also campaigned on feminist and lesbian issues, and was the first lesbian to come out in Who’s Who in 1977.

She was ineligible to claim her father’s inheritance when he died because she was unmarried, so Pat decided to marry an anarchist poet for a day so she could claim it. Some of the money was donated to Gay Pride Week 1979 and to the magazine Sappho which catered for lesbians.

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell is a prominent campaigner for human rights, democracy, LGBTQ+ freedom and also campaigns against war and nuclear weapons. Inspired by peacemakers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, he has used various tactics to campaign including staging the first ever LGBT protest in a communist country in East Berlin in 1973.

He has been arrested numerous times for his activism and was a leading figure in the Gay Liberation Front. Peter has also joined the Stop the War coalition to protest against various conflicts, including the Iraq War and is a strong opponent of nuclear weapons.

Peter Tatchell at a protest

© Ella Braidwood/PinkNews.

David McReynolds

David McReynolds was one of the first openly gay US politicians. He ran for presidency twice with the Socialist Party, and was a prominent peace activist. He was Leader of the War Resisters League and fiercely opposed the Vietnam War.

In 1965, he illegally burned his draft card along with four other men in protest against the war. David died in August 2018 and campaigned right until the end.