Writing

Love in the Lav: Policing Same-Sex Desire in Two Irelands

 

In 1922, one Ireland became two. After a bloody war of independence and brutal civil war, 26 counties joined the Irish Free State, while six in the north remained part of the United Kingdom. In the decades after they diverged, the Free State and Northern Ireland both continued to police same-sex sex under Section 11 of the British Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885). Between 1922 and 1993 in Dublin, hundreds of men were arrested for same-sex sexual offences; preliminary research suggests that Belfast had relatively few arrests. In the North, same-sex sex was decriminalized in 1982, despite vociferous opposition of clergy like Ian Paisley’s “Save Ulster from Sodomy” campaign, after a legal battle that reached the European Human Rights Court. In 1987, the European Court determined that the Republic of Ireland too violated the European Convention on Human Rights, and same-sex sex was finally decriminalized in 1993, also with loud opposition from prominent religious leaders. Yet in 2015, the Republic voted by referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, while Northern Ireland’s marriage equality bill was crushed five times by the Democratic Unionist Party, only passing in 2019 and going into effect on January 13, 2020. This history--the policing, marginalization, and experiences of same-sex desire in the 32 counties of Ireland--has yet to be written. To understand the history of sexuality in two Irelands, it is essential to consider the divergent and parallel histories of the entire island. 

 

My work has also appeared in the Journal of the History of Sexuality (2019) and Historical Reflections (2020). 

Seance in the Archive: A Dig into the History of Lily Dale, New York

 

(Under contract) Séance in the Archive is a fresh, smart history of the spiritualist community of Lily Dale, New York. The four women historian-producers of Dig: A History Podcast deliver a popular feminist history featuring all the autobiographical snippets, pop culture references, and intelligent yet cheeky historical interpretations that listeners have come to expect, this time focused on Lily Dale. The book will combine the authors’ firsthand experiences in the town, along with deep explorations of its background in first wave feminism, religious revival and reform. Expected 2023. 

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