Gay War Hero Alan Turing Receives Post War Era Apology
On Thursday, September 10th, following a petition signed by more than 30,000 people, gay war hero Alan Turing received a post war era apology from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who issued a lengthy apology for the way Turing was treated in the post era war.
Turing, often considered to be the father of modern computer science, lived in an era when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and homosexual acts were considered illegal.
Turing famously invented the Turing machine and cracked the German Enigma code during World War Two, ultimately helping the Allies to win the war. But he killed himself in 1954 aged 41 after being convicted of having a sexual relationship with another man.
A British court gave him the choice of going either to prison or undergoing chemical castration and opted for the latter.
A campaign supported by major public figures including Professor Richard Dawkins, writer Ian McEwan, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and celebrity Twitterer Stephen Fry is the fourth most signed petition on the Downing Street website.
In a moving and emotional response, Mr Brown reflects on the 70th anniversary of the start of World War Two and says that Turing's treatment was "utterly unfair" that he was convicted under "homophobic laws" and "deserved so much better." Mr Brown's wife Sarah posted on Twitter: "Just back to hear from Gordon that he has rightly issued apology to codebreaker and hero Alan Turing."
Read the Prime Minister's Apology, here.
View the Petition, here.
A portrait of Alan Turing is currently on display at National Portrait Gallery "Gay Icons" Exhibition - July 2nd to October 18th.