‘We thought the paramilitaries would come for us. Luckily, they came for each other’

Colin Murphy’s new play, A Day In May, harks back to the liberating moment of gay marriage being legalised in Ireland. This week, it will be staged in Belfast – a city where, in the old days, veteran gay activists like Jeffrey Dudgeon needed all their wits and courage to survive

7th April, 2019
Jeffrey Dudgeon: ‘Gay people don’t have a past of their own – they’re not taught about their gay ‘family’, so they have to hunt it out’ Pic: Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker Press

I came late to the marriage equality party. I thought the liberal battle was to de-institutionalise relationships, rather than to liberalise the institution.

But as the referendum campaign progressed, and as it culminated on that day in May 2015 in Dublin Castle, I gradually realised that I was out of step. My liberalism had become overly prescriptive. For gay people as much as straight people, marriage was elemental and sacramental; access to it was fundamental,...

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