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 published in 1976.[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 Staff Writer (10 January 2008). "The gay poem that broke blasphemy laws". Pink News. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "James Kirkup" (obituary), The Telegraph (retrieved September 1, 2014)
  3. ^ Erotic poem challenges blasphemy law

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