Our Generation: The Secret's Out

Details

Location

Belfast

Year

2013

Source

Format

video

colour

Length

50min 49sec

Silent

sound

Courtesy

NVTV

Rights Holder

NVTV

Description

In 1967 the Labour Government passed the Sexual Offences Act in England and Wales. This act legalised homosexual practices between two men over the age of 21 in private. Northern Ireland was not included in the legislation. Belfast city centre remained closed off in the evenings during the Troubles of the 1970s and few ventured into the city centre. Division and sectarianism was rife during the Troubles, but for the LGB community, ideologies and politics were most often set to one side.

The LGB community began to set up much needed services. One of the first was a much needed counselling, befriending and information service. A phone service was established, Carafriend, by students in Queens University.

Jeff Dudgeon reflects on his case, taken to the European Commission of Human Rights in 1975. The court hearing was in 1981 when it was agreed that Northern Ireland’s criminalisation of homosexual acts between consenting adults was a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society …for the protection of health or morals….”

Judgement was given in Dudgeon’s favour on that aspect by 15 votes to 4. The case had taken six years, before the Homosexual Offences Order was passed in 1982. The ruling had a huge impact internationally.

The interviewees reflect on further campaigns to gain equality. 

Credits

Contributors/Thanks to: Douglas Sobey / Gerry Walls (Tina Leggs Tantrum) / Jeff Dudgeon / PA Maglochlainn

Interviewer: Ciarán Ó Brolcháin

Production: Marilyn Hyndman

Archive: Northern Visions

Photo Archives: Jeff Dudgeon

Camera: Philip Matier

Edit and Post Production: Dean Hagan

Links