First SLM demonstration for Homosexual Law Reform outside the Department of Justice, 24th June 1974
(Image courtesy of Michael Kerrigan)
In October 1973, 10 men and women met in a room in Trinity College, Dublin to form the Sexual Liberation Movement (SLM). Those people were Ruth Riddick, Mary Dorcey, Margaret McWilliams, Irene Brady, Michael Kerrigan, Gerry McNamara, Hugo McManus, Peter Bradley, Edmund Lynch, and David Norris.
This photo of the first-ever demonstration organised by the SLM for Homosexual Law Reform outside the Dept of Justice on 24th June 1974. From left to right are Hugo McManus, Micheal Kerrigan and Edwin Henshaw.
The SLM was diverse and inclusive. Topics for discussion were varied and included feminism, racism, colonialism, art, poetry, and literature. The message was ‘Only Connect!’. That resonates with me to this very day. Unfortunately, a split occurred as certain members felt they wanted to solely concentrate on Gay Rights. They left and formed the Irish Gay Rights Movement (IGRM).
I remember how sad the first meeting was after they left but we ploughed on and organised a famous Symposium in the Junior Common Room, Trinity and afterwards, the first Gay Disco in Ireland. It was in 21 Westland Row and wasn’t there a famous Irish Queer born there who is now buried in Paris?!
(Words by Michael Kerrigan. Michael has been an LGBTQ activist in Dublin, London and Derry for many years and has been a full-time playwright since retiring from teaching.)