In 1959, the British man John Crawford was convicted of “buggery,” the crime of having sex with another man. He was 19 at the time, and says he confessed to the crime only after weeks of jailhouse beatings and sleep deprivation. Today, he is 70, and homosexual sex has not been much of a punishable crime there since 1967, when the British parliament repealed the Sexual Offences Act of 1956, though it took until 2004 for all buggery laws to be wiped clean. It’s a criminal history he learned about eight years ago, when he applied for a volunteer job at a prison, and remains legally required to disclose to employers at jobs where he would work with “vulnerable” people, such as the infirm; he does this now, as a volunteer at a hospital.
And unless Britain’s justice department removes the stipulation of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Exceptions Order of 1975, he will sue, arguing Crawford’s sexuality is still being used to discriminate against him. It shouldn’t have to go that far, but should it, we wish Crawford the very, very best in his case.