Lost in transition? Sexuality and justice in post-conflict Northern Ireland

  • Marian Duggan Kent University
Keywords: Northern Ireland, sexual minorities, transitional justice, marginalisation, homophobia


Northern Ireland has pioneered the delivery of transitional justice, largely as a result of its troubled past. Efforts to guide this long-divided society towards greater inclusion have been facilitated by a range of processes (judicial and otherwise) designed to deliver truth, justice and accountability. Legal requirements to consider a broader demographical representation in consultations means that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voices are increasingly evident in this transition. Yet continued political resistance to sexual minority equality, set against a backdrop of wider social integration, indicates the piecemeal approach to progress which is being adopted. This article critically analyses the socio-legal positioning of sexual minorities in Northern Ireland's ongoing processes of transitional justice. In addressing how sexual orientation fits with the driving factors underpinning a move towards a 'post-conflict' society, the analysis queries the heteronormative cultural dynamics informing this utopian future and the impact this may have on exacerbating rather than eradicating homophobic victimisation.