Wolfenden and Scotland

  • Jeffrey Meek
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History Series book series (GSX)


The publication of the Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (hereafter the Wolfenden Report) in 1957 was the first major investigation by any national authority in Britain into homosexual behaviour. The report was indicative of reformist principles within government during the post-war period,1 and, as historians have argued, prompted the birth of gay liberation movements in Britain.2 The recommendations of the report, namely to decriminalise homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, were implemented in the Sexual Offences Act in 1967 but, significantly, only in England and Wales. The debates ignited by the Wolfenden Report continued for over a further decade in relation to Scotland. This chapter explores the main reasons why the introduction of more permissive legislation was delayed or prevented in Scotland, focusing on debates held in the Houses of Parliament, newspaper discussions on homosexuality and the law in Scotland, and the experiences of gay and bisexual men (GBM) who lived during this period.


Sexual Offence Male Homosexual Homosexual Behaviour Scottish Society Proactive Engagement 
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Copyright information

© Jeffrey Meek 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Meek
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

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