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Absent Friends

Justin Fashanu and I met in the London gay nightclub Heaven in 1981, soon a?ter he realised he was gay. He was 20. I was 29. I had recently been selected to be the next Labour MP for Bermondsey, and he had recently become Britain’s first black footballer to command a £1 million transfer deal from Norwich to Nottingham Forest.

Neither of us knew who the other was. It was only several weeks later when Justin saw my photo in the papers that he realised I was Peter Tatchell, and that he then told me he was a footballer. We were both gobsmacked to think that we’d been seeing each other without any knowledge about such aspects of our lives. But we saw this as positive, because we met and liked one another without being influenced by our respective public profiles.

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