Ian Campbell Dunn

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Ian Campbell Dunn (1 May 1943 – 10 March 1998) was a gay rights campaigner who lived and worked in Scotland.

Life and career[edit]

Dunn began his work in gay rights activism after finding that the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalized homosexual relations between adult men, applied only to England and Wales and not to Scotland.

In July 1967 he wrote to Antony Grey, who was secretary of the Homosexual Law Reform Society (HLRS) in London. They met in London in September when Dunn asked about setting up a Scottish branch of the HLRS; Grey was less than enthusiastic, having experienced difficulties with the much more radical and grass-roots-based North-Western Homosexual Law Reform Committee, which was later to become the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE).

In January 1969 Dunn organised the first meeting which led to the foundation of the Scottish Minorities Group (SMG), of which Dunn remained the de facto figurehead for many years. SMG's England-and-Wales equivalent, CHE, was getting established at just the same time, and the two organisations often collaborated.

In January 1971 he helped start SMG News and was its editor for many years.

He visited the United States and Canada in the summer of 1971 to find out how activism was organised in other countries.

At the first International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh in 1974 he was involved in setting up the International Gay Association and in October 1974 he co-founded the Paedophile Information Exchange with Michael Hanson.[1]

Also in 1974 he helped to establish the Edinburgh LGBT Centre, the first such centre in Britain.

He joined the Labour Party in 1977. He had been active in labour organisations for some time, having worked for lesbian and gay rights through Edinburgh City Labour Party and the local government union NALGO.

In 1977 he became involved in the Edinburgh Books Collective, an organisation that opened a bookshop in Edinburgh called the First of May selling left-wing political and lifestyle books.

In March 1984 the Scottish Sunday Mail reported that Dunn had allowed his address in Edinburgh to be used by a newsletter/magazine for child abusers[2] called 'Minor Problems', edited by a Peter Bremner.

In 1990, the investigative journalist Tim Tate quoted in his book 'Child Pornography' a letter written by Ian Dunn to Mick Licarpa, editor of Minor Problems, after Bremner’s arrest in the summer of 1984:

“This letter is to let you know that David Rigby of News of the World is sniffing around the MP/PIE area yet again. Two reporters visited 52 Broughton Street (Dunn’s flat) last night and had several general questions. They wanted to know exactly how I tied in to MP, what I thought of the mag, how many letters did you get….what the Great British Public think of it all?

My response was brief: my flat was an accommodation address for MP only (not PIE), I was not part of MP (nor of PIE though I was co-founder with Michael Hanson in 1974); that I did have a letter published in MP (they had said copy with them – bought from Lavender Menace they said)….Phew. I showed them the door.

But of course they’ll dish up the dirt. I’ve been waiting for this for many years (wait till they get me for Rain Makers UK!), and you need not fear that I leaked your identity/ies!

With every good wish in common struggle, Ian."

Dunn was an active Humanist minister and celebrated ceremonies of affirmation for lesbian and gay couples.

Ian Dunn died in 1998 at the age of 54 of a suspected heart attack.

Posthumous recognition[edit]

One of the Pride Scotia awards, the Ian Dunn Memorial Award for Activism, was named in his memory by Outright Scotland.

A meeting room is named after him in the Glasgow LGBT Centre.

See also[edit]

  • Obituary: Ian Dunn, Peter Tatchell, Independent (21 March 1998) [1]


  1. ^ "Victims' fury as BBC refuses to axe show by paedophile supporter". Mail Online. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Evil Secrets of a Scots Address". Sunday Mail. 25 March 1984. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 

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