One of the first grassroots church initiatives in the UK supporting LGBT+ people ‘Integroup’, led by Dudley Cave(pictured above), is set up at Lewisham Unitarian Church by Rev. Dr. Tony Cross, and also at Golders Green Unitarian Church by Rev. Keith Gilley, who began conducting bless same-sex blessing ceremonies in the 1970s.
Carol Steele has recently written that Rev Keith Gilley was the first clergyman to accept her as a woman in “Trans Britain: Our Journey from the Shadows”. From ‘Integroup’ emerged the 1974 Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and the Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project. Unitarian headquarters at Essex Hall hosted training for the latter. Click here to read Rev. Keith Gilley’s obituary.
Dudley Cave (1921-1999) fought in the Second World War and suffered as a Japanese prisoner of war, nearly dying of starvation in Singapore. Liberated in 1945 and returning home, he was dismayed by the continuing persecution of homosexuals like himself. In 1954, he met his life-partner Bernard Williams. In 1971, Dudley became a Unitarian and was pioneer of the campaign for LGBT+ inclusion in the Unitarian denomination during the 1970s. He was a co-founder of the Gay Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline, in 1974, and remained a phone volunteer until his death in 1999. Dudley also set up in 1980 the Lesbian and Gay Bereavement Project. In his later years, he campaigned for recognition of the role of LGBT+ soldiers like himself in the war. Click here to read Dudley Cave’s obituary, by Peter Tatchell.
Ann Peart, interviewed February, 2023
“Integroup was a meeting of both gay and straight people, to discuss matters of mutual interest on a basis of equality. Nobody was asked their orientation. It was the place where I first knowingly met gay men and lesbians.”
Jeff Gould, interviewed February, 2023:
“The intention was to get heterosexual people and homosexual people together, in one room, to talk, and have direct experience of each other. This was radical thinking – and action – back then.“