Jeff Dudgeon


This post was updated on 27 May 2014.


Jeff Dudgeon | | 14093

In January 2012 Jeff Dudgeon was honoured with an MBE for services to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Northern Ireland.

Dudgeon is best known for his role in the case of Dudgeon vs United Kingdom, where he challenged the criminalisation of gay acts between men in Northern Ireland at the European Court of Human Rights. The case, in 1982, forced Northern Ireland to bring its laws into line with Scotland, which decriminalised in 1980, and England and Wales, which decriminalised in 1967, with ramifications for the Republic of Ireland and led to the Council of Europe’s declaration that no European state should criminalise consensual homosexual acts between men or women.

In a speech to the International Lesbian and Gay Association in October, Dudgeon described being arrested alongside 25 others in 1976 as he claimed police tried to disband the first campaigning LGBT organisations in Northern Ireland, Cara-Friend and NIGRA.

In the May 2014 local elections, Mr Dudgeon was elected to serve as a councillor on Belfast City Council.



8 thoughts on “Jeff Dudgeon

  1. Cara-Friend was a ‘befriending’ group, and not, in essence, ‘campaigning’ – due to the oddities of government in ‘Northern Ireland’ it got a subsidy from the Department of Health and Social Services from 1977, well before homosexuality was decriminalised.
    It wasn’t ‘made legal’ until the Blair government did do in 2004.


  2. That’s a wee bit ‘dry’ Paul.
    I’ve always felt some one doing an MA or a phid (OK PhD…) should do a study of Friend (it was not an ‘all-UK’ group as the phone services in Scotland seemed to have a radically different history from the political groups.
    This nonsense had to do with the assertion that Scotland and NornIrl has ‘separate bodies of law’ – never asserted when the Finance Bill / Act (‘the Budget’) was being debated. There is, of course, Scottish Law – and the enactments of the Irish ‘Parliament’ – practically the first thing the latter did was to make itself a vassal of Westminster…
    ‘Friend’ was a by-product of CHE’s efforts to create a ‘national’ organisation – and ‘communtiy’.
    ‘Cara’ is the Gaelic for ‘friend’ and it was meant to be an all-Ireland organisation.
    But Dublin & Cork (rather than ‘the Republic’ – tho’ admittedly they’re the two biggest urban areas) decided to indulge in an internecine (and utterly pointless) squabble. Between and among themselves.
    (I it any wonder when places like Limerick and Galway got round to organising ‘phone-lines’ they turned to Belfast and Derry / stroke / LondonDerry?


      • Never heard of GLAM – are you sue you are not writing about the IGRM (Irish Gay Rights Movement)?
        Interesting lot – a major ‘mover’ was Seá (?) Connolly (who became a big bug in the EEC / EU bureaucracy), another major figure moved to Belfast, and was ‘big’ in Belfast’s Grand Opera House (which rarely ‘did’ opera!).
        They joined in baiting NIGRA about the lack of women members (this was @ 1980 when Nigra President was Stella Mahon!) – the contempt for women was exposed by a Deputy Prez of NGF — who pointed out that NIGRA supported the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to NornIrl – and the ‘LGBT’ groups in the Republic were afraid to discuss such things.


  3. Interesting – ‘midlands’ is rarely used in Ireland. Since partition, it’s difficult to know where ‘the midlands’ might be. Joyce uses the phrase in Dubliners, to mean the (large) area around Athlone. (Athlone is more or less in the centre of the landmass…).


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