Friday, March 05, 2010

Being gay is not a crime!

By Manchester socialist, Gordon Shand

In 2010, nearly half a century after buggery was decriminalised in this country, you would think it impossible that any person should be registered as a sex offender for having consensual sex. Regrettably, truth is sadder than fiction.

After applying for a position as a volunteer at Wormwood Scrubs prison, John Crawford from London discovered that his Criminal Record Check showed him to be a sexual offender because of two counts of buggery dating back to 1959. 51 years later, when applying to work with vulnerable people, Crawford remains legally bound to disclose a conviction received when he was just 19 and extracted after weeks of beatings in a police cell. If he failed to mention his buggery conviction he could be prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 1956.

Crawford has taken his grievance to court and in doing so launched a landmark legal battle to overturn his 1959 conviction for buggery. In an interview with the Guardian, Crawford explained that "what I want to do is apply for voluntary work and, when it comes to the box on the application form that says 'do you have a criminal record', I want to be able to say no."

As the old slogan goes “an injury to one, is an injury to all” and as such we should all show our support of John Crawford’s case and others like him. You can sign a general petition to abolish convictions for buggery at and there is a facebook group in support of his case at

I originally read about his case in the Pink Paper at!