Friday, September 11, 2009

Gordon Brown Apologises for Homophobic Treatment of Alan Turing and "Thousands" of Others

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized today for the 1952 trial and conviction of Alan Turing for the crime of being a gay man. The full text of his statement is here. Below is an excerpt. The apology was in direct response to a petition campaign that gained over 30,000 signatures (and which was previously mentioned in an earlier post in this blog).
I am both pleased and proud that, thanks to a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) activists, we have this year a chance to mark and celebrate another contribution to Britain's fight against the darkness of dictatorship: that of code-breaker Alan Turing.....

In 1952, he was convicted of "gross indecency" – in effect, tried for being gay. His sentence – and he was faced with the miserable choice of this or prison – was chemical castration by a series of injections of female hormones. He took his own life just two years later.

Thousands of people have come together to demand justice for Alan Turing and recognition of the appalling way he was treated. While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time, and we can't put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair, and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him. Alan and the many thousands of other gay men who were convicted, as he was convicted, under homophobic laws, were treated terribly.