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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 343 > When the legislation was passed, I felt fully irish for the first time in my life

When the legislation was passed, I felt fully irish for the first time in my life

So says Senator David Norris of the day that homosexual acts were decriminalised in Ireland, 25 years ago this month. To mark a quarter of a century of freedom under Irish law, Aoife Moriarty asks him and other notable lesbians and gay men who experienced Ireland pre and post-decriminalisation to refl ect on the changes it brought about.

Senator David Norris

“There’s been a revolution in terms of LGBT rights in Ireland. But I will also say that, at the core, Irish people were always compassionate, decent and tolerant.”

“We started preparing a case against criminalisation in 1974. I was running the legal section of the Irish Gay Rights Movement.

I thought at first we’d persuade one of the people who was being charged under the criminal law to take a constitutional defence. But of course they wouldn’t because the last thing they wanted was any more publicity. They wanted it all to go away. So we built a case around myself.

It was a very lengthy process. First of all we went to the High Court. We had international witnesses from all over the world. Every day it was some star witness, so it was on the front page of every newspaper.

And then we got a judgement. The first part was like a charter of gay rights. The judge said there were a surprisingly large number of gay people in Ireland, that they weren’t child molesters, that they weren’t mentally sick, they weren’t less intelligent. All those kinds of things. And then at the very end he said: ‘Nevertheless, despite all this, because of the Christian and democratic nature of the State, I have to find against the plaintiff’.

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It’s our bumper Pride issue and we’ve got so much in store for you, we hardly know where to start! First up on our cover are the gorgeous Glória, Dublin’s lesbian and gay choir and star donators to our GCN30 exhibition Fundit campaign, who talk to us about being one great big alternative family. It’s appropriate, since the Dublin Pride theme this year is ‘We Are Family’ and in keeping we talk to groups of friends who consider each other kin, while Justin McAleese talks about our need for solidarity as the Pope’s visit to the World Meeting on Families excludes LGBT families. We remember the tragic murder of Declan Flynn, which sparked the first gay rights march in Ireland, and reflect on the situation facing LGBTs in Latin America, where brutal murders take place every day. We get educated on Intersex issues and talk to Minister Katherine Zappone about the governments LGBTI+ Youth Strategy, the first of it’s kind in the world. Plus Rupert Everett talks to us about his love for Oscar Wilde and growing older as a totally out actor. And that’s just the beginning of what’s on offer. Get reading now!