Ian Campbell Dunn

1st May 1943 - 10th March 1998

A fuller appreciation and more pictures appear in InsideOUT 20a.


Ian & Ross on holiday in Spain
Pic: Janet Scobie

Pioneering Scottish lesbigay campaigner Ian Dunn died suddenly in Edinburgh on Tuesday 10th March. He collapsed as he was leaving Edinburgh Royal Infirmary whence he had been discharged after receiving tests for shortness of breath and chest pains. He was re-admitted, but doctors were unable to revive him.

Educated at Hillhead High School in Glasgow, Ian worked for a time in the Met Office at Prestwick Airport before moving to Edinburgh and attending Heriot Watt University where he studied Town Planning - he subsequently worked for many years in the City's planning department.

In 1969, he was a founder member of the Scottish Minorities Group (which became the Scottish Homosexual Rights Group and is now OUTRIGHT Scotland). He was Convenor of OUTRIGHT Scotland at the time of his death and played a crucial role in the organisation over the years. His main success was in persuading Robin Cook to move the amendment to the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 which decriminalised sex for gay men aged 21 and over, but he continued to lobby for complete social and legal equality for homosexuals.

Tabloid newspaper reports of his stance as an avowed sexual liberationist led to the Labour Party dropping him as a local council candidate, so he joined the breakaway Scottish Socialist Party but to no electoral success. He eventually rejoined the Scottish Labour Party of which he nevertheless remained publiclly critical until his death. He was looking forward to the new Scottish Parliament - yet another of his campaigning issues.

As a Humanist Officiant, he regularly conducted secular marriage ceremonies for lesbian and gay couples which brought him further tabloid opprobrium. However, he was at the front of the debate between homosexual Humanists and Christians and organised two major lesbigay theological conferences.

In the Broughton area of Edinburgh, in which he lived for most of his adult life, he took a keen part in the activities of local civic amenity and conservation groups. Most recently, he was overjoyed at the success of the campaign to save the Phoebe Traquair murals at Mansfield Place Church. It is fitting that his funeral is to take place there.

A prolific writer, he was a Director of Gay News, the first Editor of Gay Scotland and more recently contributed to both ScotsGay and Cruise Magazines.

He is survived by his lover Ross Watt, his parents Donald and Audrey and sister Lorna.

John Hein

Click on the thumbnail on the left for the full image.

Pictures may be used by all lesbigay media without charge.


Funeral arrangements:

Ian will be received into the Mansfield Place Church (foot of Broughton Street, Edinburgh) at 2.30pm on Wednesday March 18th where there will be a Humanist commemoration of his life. All welcome to attend. No flowers, please but donations may be sent to Adam Cramond and Sons, 318 Ferry Road, Edinburgh or will be taken at the church for organisations Ian loved.


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