The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name

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The Love That Dares to Speak its Name is a controversial poem by James Kirkup.[1]

It is written from the viewpoint of a Roman centurion who is graphically described having sex with Jesus after his crucifixion, and also claims that Jesus had had sex with numerous disciples, guards, and even Pontius Pilate.[1]

It was at the centre of the Whitehouse v. Lemon trial for blasphemous libel, where the editor of Gay News—which first published in the poem in 1976—was convicted and given a suspended prison sentence.[1]It was the last successful blasphemy trial in the UK.[2]

The poem itself was considered of low artistic value, both by critics and the author himself.[2]

In 2002, a deliberate and well-publicised public repeat reading of the poem took place on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, without any incidents. Kirkup criticized the politicizing of his poem.[3][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The gay poem that broke blasphemy laws" (also contains the full text of the poem)
  2. ^ a b c "James Kirkup" (obituary), The Telegraph (retrieved September 1, 2014)
  3. ^ Erotic poem challenges blasphemy law