Lobbying for change

Wolfenden Report. LSE/HCA/DYSON/2
The publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957 dominated the press for several days. The issue of homosexual law reform was keenly debated.

The campaign to implement the Report’s proposal on homosexuality was boosted by a letter to the Times in March 1958, signed by a number of eminent public figures. Novelist E.M. Forster subsequently wrote to the letter’s author, academic Tony Dyson, congratulating him on his success.

Letter from EM Forster to Tony Dyson, March 14 1958. LSE/HCA/DYSON/1.

"March 14 1958
Dear Mr Dyson
I found your letter some time back at
my Club, and I ought to have answered it
long ago. However I can now
congratulate you on the success of that
letter to The Times. It had an admirable
collection of signatories (no women
though, if I remember, which would have
further strengthened it), and it could
not have had a better chaser than Sir
Charles Taylor. What abysmal
savagery and silliness! The comments
on him have been very funny – a bit
of laughing on the subject is indeed greatly
called for.
Yours sincerely
EM Forster"

© the Provost and Fellows of King's College Cambridge. Reproduced by kind permission of the Society of Authors as agent for the Provost and Scholars of King's College Cambridge.

The Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS) co-founded by Dyson was key in the campaign throughout the period to bring about a change in the law.

Antony Grey became the Chair of the HLRS in 1963 and spearheaded the organisation through a crucial period of reform.

HLRS lobbied MPs and organised public debates across the UK. Allan Horsfall of the Manchester-based North-Western Homosexual Law Reform Society later co-founded the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, a national gay rights organisation which flourished in the 1970s and 1980s.

Next page: 4. The Sexual Offences Bill

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