ADMINISTRATIVE/BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY: Established in May 1990 after the murder of gay actor Michael Boothe, OutRage! was founded by Keith Alcorn (who came up with the name), Chris Woods, Simon Watney and Peter Tatchell (who drew up the first draft of what became the group’s Statement of Aims, and became one of its chief spokespersons throughout the next 20 years).
According to its website, OutRage! is ‘a broad based group of queers committed to radical, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to assert the dignity and human rights of queers; fight homophobia, discrimination and violence directed against [gays]; affirm [the] right to sexual freedom, choice and self-determination.’ OutRage! works to take up the cases of individuals suffering discrimination, provides information, advice and referrals, promotes awareness and education about lesbian and gay issues, and investigates and researches anti-gay discrimination.
One of the first OutRage! actions took place on 7 June 1990 at Hyde Park public toilets, in protest against Metropolitan Police entrapment of gay men cruising. Further action (invading police stations, exposing police entrapment operations, publicly identifying undercover agent provocateurs, and warning cottagers and cruisers with leaflets and stickers) saw a change from police persecution to police protection, and between 1990 and 1994 the number of men convicted for consensual gay behaviour fell by two-thirds.
One of the defining images of OutRage! actions was taken in September 1990 when the group organised a ‘kiss-in’ at Piccadilly Circus to protest against arrests of gay men for kissing in public. One member, identified as an actor called Richard, climbed up and kissed the statue of Anteros.
At times criticised for outing individuals who wanted to keep their homosexuality secret, in 1994 OutRage! named ten Church of England bishops and asked them to “Tell the Truth” about their sexuality. This generated more public discussion of gay issues than any campaign ever conducted in Britain, and resulted in the Church issuing one of its strongest ever condemnations of homophobic discrimination.
SCOPE AND CONTENT: Minutes, press cuttings, press releases, ephemera, correspondence and placards relating to all campaigns and activities of OutRage!, 1988-1999.
QUANTITY: 15 Boxes