If you’ve never heard of Roger Casement, who was executed by the British for treason 100 years ago today, the reason is as simple as it is sad, he was homosexual. For that reason he was ignored when he was not being written out of our revolutionary history.
Jeffrey Dudgeon, MBE has written two wonderful insightful books into Casement,
- Roger Casement: The Black Diaries – with a study of his background, sexuality, and Irish political life Paperback – 5 Jan 2016
- Roger Casement’s German Diary, 1914-1916: Including ‘A Last Page’ and associated correspondence Paperback – 24 Jun 2016
- His Antrim father fought in Afghanistan
- His Anglican mother secretly baptised him as a Catholic
- He was looked after by the people of Antrim after his parents died
- He exposed one of the bloodiest colonial regimes ever
- What he saw changed him
- He sought German backing for an Irish rebellion during WWI
- Some see him as a gay icon
- Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned against his sentence
- He converted to Catholicism on the day of his execution
- A hundred years on from the Easter Rising, it’s important to remember Casement
However, as with all history, it is open to interpretation, and I know that different camps will have different feelings towards Casement, his impact on Irish history, and on Gay History.
The musical about him was one such attempt, and I hope that if it comes to a theatre near you, you will make an effort to see it and view it through the eyes of someone who is probably far older than he was, and also who has the benefit of a society that is beginning to be accepting of LGBT people.