Britain Is Very Sorry for Firing, Castrating WWII Computer Genius Alan Turing


In August, we asked, “Will Britain Apologize For Convicting This Computer Nerd of Homosexuality?” It turns out, yes!

Alan Turing, the computer code breaker-hacker-mathematician person whose mad skillz were applied during World War II to fight the Nazzzis, has received a formal apology from the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which terminated him in 1952 for “gross indecency.” Punishment? Prison, or the option Turing took: chemical castration. Two years later, he killed himself. That was 53 years ago.

At the time, Winston Churchill hailed Turing “with making the biggest single contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.” And in 2009, gays and computer nerds launched a petition, eventually growing to 30,000 signatures, to call for an official apology.

It’s a posthumous way of saying: Sorry we ruined the life of a brilliant man ’cause he liked other dues. Well, it’s … something? But certainly not everything; the critics are already hopping mad with Brown

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  • Cam

    Amazing isn’t it? Winston Churchill hails this guy as basically saving Britain and they do that to him.

  • Ted B.

    The Brits of that era seem to have had a habit of treating their heroes shabbily…they kicked Chuchill to the curb only two months after the War ended in Europe, and while it still raged in the Pacific. He wasn’t even “Sir Winston” until 1953.

  • robert

    Why single out the Brits? Yes, it was awful what happened to Alan, but we’ve not much better if you look at the history of how America has treated its gay citizens. We have short memories, America too criminalized “homosexuality” and we were persecuted and some even spent time in jail for loving someone of the same gender. The McCarthy era was no picnic either.

    At least Britain’s national leader had the guts to make an apology. How many of our presidents have done that? A big fat zero. Ex-gay ministries are thriving, causing irreparable harm to conflicted, confused gay people while fleecing them of their money and nobody in government speaks out. If that’s not abuse of gay people, I don’t know what is.

    Britain has a done a lot more than the U.S. on social issues. Gays can serve openly in the military and police department, they have full protection against discrimination in the workplace, the delivery of goods and services; they can adopt children; they can form civil partnerships that confer all the rights of marriage at the national level, and what do we have? Five states with limited marriage equality without federal rights, no ENDA, no repeal of DADT or DOMA and several states that ban virtually any form of legal recognition of gay couples.

    We need to stop casting the first stone at others and look at our own country.

  • Cam

    @robert: You said “Why single out the Brits? Yes, it was awful what happened to Alan, but we’ve not much better if you look at the history of how America has treated its gay citizens.”

    Is it possible to ever have a discussion without somebody saying “Gee, these people did worse!”

    I never said that any other country was any better. My comment was directed specifically at the sotry of a man who was hailed as a savior of Britain and the Allies in WW1 and still being treated like this. But if you want to go on a rant against the U.S. Please remember that Britain still has separate Marriage for gays and straights. At least in several U.S. states that distinction is gone. Additionally Gays can serve in the Police department here so that claim is false. So calm the hell down and let us comment on this particular story please.

  • Thom


    This event has nothing to do with the US, and believe it or not just because one country somewhere has done something else wrong doesn’t mean you can use that as an excuse not to talk about this. I’m sick and tired of every god damn issue being brought back to this country, it elevates others that have their own problems but get ignored because the subject is immediately changed.

  • UWSguy

    this kind of thing still happens sadly

  • rudy

    Hey, it only took Britain 55 years to apologize.
    Compare that to the Pope and Galileo.

  • robert


    Right on, Rudy. The evil roman cult has a long way to go. If I had it in my power, the rottweiler wearing Prada and all of the hierarchy should be brought up on charges of crimes against humanity, the way it hid pedophiles and looked the other way as well as the homophobia it invites with its diabolical statements on our “behavior”, whatever that means.

  • Chris

    Just found this article, and it’s pretty awesome. As the most famous and intelligent gay mathematician, Turing has been an inspiration to me (at least closer to one than I could call anybody else), and it was always upsetting his story had such an awful ending. At least Britain has apologized for what they did to him, and hopefully reminded everyone of what a HUMONGOUS difference he made in the area of computer science.

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