injustices

Will Britain Apologize For Convicting This Computer Nerd of Homosexuality?

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“A campaign has been launched to win a posthumous apology for computer pioneer Alan Turing over his conviction for homosexuality. The brilliant mathematician, who spent his key years at Manchester University, is hailed as one of the founders of modern computing. But a conviction for homosexuality effectively ended his career. Troubled Turing went on to commit suicide in 1954, aged just 41.”

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26 Comments

  • The Milkman

    This is a long time coming. Turing’s work was priceless to the Allies and saved many many lives.

  • MiKem

    You mean the homosexual that probably saved us all in world war two? the queer that broke the codes and all that stuff?
    Nah… why should they apologize? It would only make them look bad. After all this is the same country that shot their own men with ‘shell shock’!

  • Jack

    @MiKem: Of course, America’s wartime conduct has always been impeccable…

  • AlwaysGay

    Yes, Britain needs to apologize for the hateful thing they did. America needs to apologize as well for keeping gay Holocaust victims in prison until they served their entire sentences, some were in prison until the 1970s.

  • Utahime

    Don’t forget that he had to undergo forced chemical castration…

  • Adam

    @AlwaysGay: Do you have any links to more information about that? I’ve never heard of that before, but if there’s information out there, I’d definitely like to know it.

  • schlukitz

    @Adam:

    Google and Bing will give you more hits about the atrocities of WWI (on both sides) than you will know what to do with.

    Oh…and don’t forget to have a big box of tissues next to you as you read some of them. They’re heart-rendering.

    Man’s inhumanity to man, in vivid, 1080I display.

  • Namaste85

    @AlwaysGay: i cant find anything on the americans making the gay holocaust prisoners finish their terms. do you have any links to the info? it would be great for the book im writing.

  • Jaroslaw

    I would even go so far as to say Turing’s breaking of Enigma machine’s code won the war. Or drastically shortened the duration. The Allies knew who the spies were after that, where the Nazi troops were landing etc. in advance.

    and HELL YES they need to apologize. I understand it is 50 years too late, but it will then be on record. We will have some measure of proof that Gay contributions to society exist, and that governments admit to discriminating against us. The fact that such apologies don’t exist is one of the first things our opponents us against us.

  • robert

    @Jack:

    Jack, exactly, does anyone recall the My-lai massacre in Vietnam during the 60s, among other atrocities committed by our own country? We shouldn’t be throwing stones at other countries when our own record is hardly unblemished. Every country has its fair share of dirty linen to go around.

  • robert

    @Jaroslaw:

    Actually, it was the Battle of Britain in 1940 that was the turning point in the war when Britain gained control of the air in the first major defeat of the German Luftwaffe. Had that not been the case, the world would probably be a very different place. Hitler would have launched, Operation Sealion, a plan to conquer Britain through amphibious attacks. Lets not forget, the Germans invented the U-boats during WW2 as well as the rocket. Flying bombs, or doodle-bugs (V2’s) as the Brits called them were responsible for much of what is known as the “blitz”, the precursor of the rocket that Germany developed by a team headed by rocket scientist Werner von Braun who later was brought to the U.S. to start the NASA program in the U.S. Odd he wasn’t tried as a war criminal, another dirty secret our own country tried to sweep under the carpet. We need to be very careful who we condemn before we look at what our own country has done and continues to do.

  • Jaroslaw

    #12 Robert- what you say is more or less correct – history that involves world wars is hardly cut and dried since there are so many points of view.

    Since few of us were actually there, I am relying on articles by others. Coupled with the knowledge that contributions by Gay people are routinely ignored, dismissed and minimized, I stand by what I said. But thanks for responding.

  • robert

    @Jaroslaw:

    Whether or not an apology is elicited, and I would like it if there were, and yes, we have contributed immensely to the world for millenia, though we can’t right the wrong that was done even by apology, we can however make sure that this kind of thing never happens again and make sure that credit is given where credit is due.

  • robert

    @Jaroslaw:

    Neither am I going to villify a country for its past mistakes, heaven knows we have a lot on our own doorstep and we need to get our own house in order first before casting aspersions on others.

    Having said that, the UK is doing a far better job in making life a lot better for its gay citizens than we are for own. They are protected from discrimination in the workplace, housing, the delivery of services; they can serve openly and proudly in their military and police force; they can sponsor their binational partners for residence; they can adopt children and they are enjoying far more equality than we are and the only thing left for them to now is upgrade their civil partnerships to marriage with the stroke of a pen which is all it would take since they enjoy all of the rights under another name. We have nothing at the federal level resembling that. The UK at least has learned a lot more from its past mistakes committed against its gay citizenry than we have. At least there will be no more Alan Turings we’ll be demanding apologies for, thank goodness. Those days are well and truly over.

  • MiKem

    @JACK and others… yes, i deplore American’s actions of hatred and bigotry. It is utterly useless and unnecessary. As an American, I most humbly apologize for my country and it’s evil ways. More evil to humanity has been done in the name of country, than any other cause except perhaps for God. The USA has the lion’s share of these acts.

  • Jaroslaw

    #15 thanks for the clarification – I’m at work and my mind wasn’t concentrating on this. I agree things are much better in UK than here for Gays and that the US has nothing comparable at the Federal level. Thanks for putting it in perspective.

    I’d still like an apology, but not nearly as fervently as before!

  • robert

    @MiKem:

    MIKEN, its truly amazing that we have the largest, most powerful group of right wing religious wacko hate mongering homophobes outside the middle east. Why is it the more enlightened western societies don’t have this problem or allow them to meddle in the political process? They’ve done far more harm to dehumanize us, denigrate our lives, take away our rights and support discrimination and hijacked our government. We need to get our own house in order first before villifying the UK for what happened to Alan Turing, not that that should be condoned. Our priorities are so wrong and misplaced. We’re no paragons of virtue either.

  • robert

    @Jaroslaw:

    You’re very welcome. I too would like to see an apology but I’m not going to make it a cause celebre, there are huge problems out there that we face as a group that need an urgent response and remedy. I want to see DADT and DOMA gone first, then marriage equality for all with an incessant, concerted effort to reach out to other minorities and faith based groups some of whom are our enemies to make sure it happens. Whether we like it or not, we need their support to bring that about.

  • M Shane

    @No. 15 · robert ;et. al. I’m apreciative of your information & thoughts about the war and particularly the comparison between what happens here relative to Great Britain. Turing was a horrible tragedy. It seems that stories such as that , in our relatively short existence as an open minority are still the stuff that prevents many talented gay people from acheiving their potential. I know from frequent talks with a U.K journalist friend of mine that our situation seems so bizarre and truamatized that it is hard for gays there to comprehend the dilemma much at all.
    It’s hard for any of us to understand , I think . I believe that we are captive to more cramped constrictive restrictions on thought with regards to many things due to the extreme & rigid right wing social and economic controls on the information we process. Most certainly, in light of the vast criminality of the Iraq War , we have shown very little improvement over the Nazis. I saw a report about Judge from America who presided at the Nurenburg trials who said that the Nazi leaders were comdemned for exactly the reasons that provoked Bush and Co. in attacking Iraq.

    also @No. 9 · AlwaysGay thanks for the referances I had never heard that information regarding gay prisoners.

    I have just been reading gay history from the past 40 years and realize that our struggle for identity and community has really just begun. Turing was a great hero and was condemned not that long ago.

  • Jaroslaw

    well, Robert, at least this is Gay news. Unlike the Derek Barrett story.

  • M Shane

    W/reaspects to famous people. Did we hear about Gore Vidal?

  • Paul Mc

    @robert:
    Hi,

    one right not granted to civil partnerships in the UK is the right to register the partnership on religious premises. One can still get married in church where that is the doctrine – but would still need to register legally in registry office however no ceremony is mandated. So it is possible to get married in Church service and then pop into registry for 10 minutes before the reception and hey… Gay Marriage!

    In every other regard, the rights are equal.

    Turing of course, is a Gay hero and is celebrated in our National Gallery’s Gay Icons exhibition along with Harvey milk and many other familiar and some unfamiliar names.

    The UK has come a long way in the 10 years of a Labour govt. The US will be wholly transformed by 2 terms of Obama, believe me!

  • robert

    @Paul Mc:

    Paul, aside from the Metropolitan community church that I think doesn’t grant licenses to marry gay couples or straight couples for that matter, I don’t know of any religious denomination that would allow gay couples to marry in a church, synagogue or mosque because civil partnerships, though they carry the rights of marriage, are not marriages. They are not defined as such and the government has made it quite clear that it remains that way, no matter how the society at large regards them as “marriages”.

    Quite frankly, I think I can safely say that the majority of gay Brits wouldn’t want a religious ceremony if it were permitted. If you look at mainland Europe, France in particular, a civil marriage is the binding one, not the religious which is not mandatory. French straight couples marry at the local town hall by the mayor or some deputy so designated, if they want a religious component, they immediately proceed to their place of worship to have the marriage religiously solemnized, but it means nothing in terms of the legality of those marriages. It should be the norm across the EU, except that France surprisingly does not have state religion, even though its overwhelmingly “catholic” unlike the UK. I think there is growing opinion in some areas of the Church of England that religious marriages should be reserved for those who are regular worshippers, makes sense to me, only I doubt if Rowan Williams would have the guts to implement it. It would make the case for same sex civil marriage a lot easier. Not even the Episcoplian branch has gone that far, though I think it should.

    I’m not so sure about Obama having a second term, I rather doubt it given his abysmal “cock-up” of the health care reform plan, a high unemployment rate that really doesn’t show positive signs of significant recovery any time soon, housing foreclosures on the increase, a disastrous debacle in Afghanistan unfolding and a host of other problems that were the remants of the previous administration; failure to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (DADT),the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a gutted Employer Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) that excludes transgendered from protection in the workplace, housing and the delivery of services before the 2012 election. This all spells a recipe for the republicans taking back the White House. We will see a degree of democratic loss of power come the 2010 primary elections, no question about it, unless of course the public option health care plan is back on the table and he decides to go it alone and push it through, which he can. The problem is, does he have the political will to do it?

  • Paul Mc

    @robert:

    Hi Robert:
    I agree that not many gay Brits clamour for religious marriage. I was just pointing the small remaining legal obstacle vs practical way of enacting gay marriage in Church. There is nothing to stop Church offering such services followed by legal registration at the local office. The Quakers have recently voted to adopt marriage equality as their official position, i.e a change in the law to allow registration of Civil Partnerships on their premises or the opening of marriage to same-sex couples.

    You make a good point about separation of religious and legal meaning of marriage and I think many in the US are stumbling towards that understanding – despite the scaremongering of your religious and conservative right.

    Considering that many countries considered Western, (Europe, Canada, parts of South America, South Africa etc) now offer state rights to gay people, we look on with some kind of bewilderment that the US, from once being the leader of the pack in personal freedoms and progressive thinking on many issues, has now become a relatively backward place where enlightenment has stumbled and darkened. The rancourous debate on Heath Care reform is appalling and though I love your country very much (I just came back from 2 great weeks in the Hamptons), compared to the rights I have in the UK (free healthcare, near complete equality as a gay man) , the US would not be a place I could consider as civilized as here.

    Don’t give up on Obama! The program of gay reform under Labour starting in 1997, has taken 12 years and is ongoing (Equality Bill now in Parliament). The National Health Service (not perfect by any means) is now back on its feet. More than ever Obama needs support on Health care. I believe he is truly enlightened about lesbian and gay equality. You wouldn’t believe how much faith is invested in Obama by Europeans and others to reverse the worst of the Bush years. He feels like our president too .

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