David Norris may have campaigned tirelessly for LGBT rights, but according to one newspaper report, it didn’t leave the much-loved Senator much time for a personal life.
In an interview with the Irish Mirror, Norris reveals that he went four decades without sex and “lived the life of a bloody nun”, as he was too afraid to bring disgrace on the equality movement.
Starting his fight back in the 1970s, Norris’ first bid to decriminalise homosexuality was defeated in 1980 in the Irish High Court (and later, the Supreme Court) An appeal in the followed by a failed appeal to the Supreme Court.
The campaign’s efforts were eventually rewarded in 1988, when Senator Norris won a ground breaking case in the European Court against the Irish State, over the constitutional status of homosexual acts.
“For 40 years I didn’t even enter a public lavatory in Dublin, any sort of indiscretion on my part would’ve been highlighted by the media,” Norris told the newspaper.
“In those days the most dangerous thing was to be noticed, to be known as gay, you couldn’t afford it.
“Your job, your friends, your status and your livelihood would be gone.”
Needless to say, he has found recent changes in legislation – among them the passing of the Gender Recognition Bill and the recent marriage referendum – the culmination of years of hard work.
“It was the end of a very long process, a 40-year struggle and to make that journey was quite extraordinary,” he says.
“There were no people out at all in my day, homosexuality was a word which would stop conversation in a polite society. I was seen as a criminal and an outsider,” he added.
“To go from that to seeing everyone so happy – grandparents, husbands, wives, parents – is wonderful.”
© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.