As part of LGBTQ+ Month there is only one man that I feel deserves special mention here. His name is Alan Matheson Turing.
As you will see his contribution to the war effort was instrumental to winning World War 2.
However, Alan suffered appalling inhumane treatment.
His only crime… he was Homosexual.
Thank goodness this ass of a law was repealed and is no longer law in the UK.
At the very least a mistreatment of Alan’s, and every homosexual man’s and lesbian women’s human rights..
Coming from the very hands of the people who should have protected him.. His actions virtually turned the war in our country’s and the allied countrie’s favour..
As a consequence, it ended tragically for Alan and his family ..
Alan Matheson Turing was born on 23rd June 1912, and died on 7th June 1954 a brilliant mathematician, cryptographer and a pioneer in multiple computer sciences and the founder of Artificial Intelligence.
By September 1939 he was already working in the Government Code and Cypher School, when the war broke out in 1939.
The cypher school went on to be GCHQ (Government Communications Head Quarters) one of three UK Intelligence and Security Agencies.
The second and third agencies are the MI5 and MI6. They protect the UK from terrorism in the UK and from anyone who wants to harm or damage us financially..
GCHQ is the UK’s version of the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA). They specialise in obtaining intelligence from communications. MI5 and MI6 deals with Human intelligence.
The people working for MI5 or known as the Security Services collect their intelligence within the UK. MI6 or lesser known as the Secret Intelligence Services collect their intelligence from outside the UK.
According to the gchq.gov.uk ”GCHQ protects the UK and its citizens from individuals, groups, and countries who wish to do us harm, or damage us financially.” But alas I’m rambling again.. Back to Alan..
Alan was working at Bletchley when he designed along with his team a machine called the Bombe.
He was supposed to have had a IQ of 185. The most known of his achievements is the cracking of the Enigma Code.
After the war was over, he continued his research and work into various fields of computer sciences.
In 1952 Alan was arrested for Homosexuality and was charged with ”gross indecency”. Found guilty Alan had a choice be imprisoned, or face chemical castration.
As ‘gross indecency’ could include anything that could prove of sexual intimacy between two males. Lesbians weren’t included in this law.
It widened the net for many successful prosecution of homosexual and suspected homosexual behaviour.
Chemical castration for a man is when (in Alan’s case) given female hormones to limit his libido. This stopped him from wanting sexual intimacy and sexual intercourse with a potential partner.
This extreme kind of treatment was usually reserved for men who were convicted of practicing sexually deviant behaviour.. For instance the first time chemical treatment was given to 48 male patients with long standing histories of deviant sexual behaviour in the US. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6453536/&ved=2ahUKEwj7tKKGjYrvAhXAaRUIHT1DCQEQFjALegQICxAO&usg=AOvVaw1Wok2lFsiytL-N-Sbob6LI
Before the 7th of June in 1954, that fateful day when Alan was found dead. A half eaten apple laced with Cyanide was found by his bedside. The verdict was suicide. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-37443639
After the court case he lost his security clearance. This meant he was unable to continue his work at GCHQ and therefore lost his job. He had been convicted for being homosexual.
The history of discriminating and the persecution of homosexual men and for Lesbian women including Trans gendered people has a long history.
in the reign of Henry VIII, The Buggery Act 1533 was introduced where any man found to be having anal intercourse or any intimacy were arrested convicted and hung. Then in 1861 it was repealed and replaced with Offences Against The Person
However, before Alan’s death in 1954, there was the ‘gross indecency’ law. This was also known as Labouchere Amendment or Section 11. This was part of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.
It was rather insidious to homosexual men as according to Wikipedia the agreement allowed the prosecution,”to prosecute male homosexuals where actual sodomy (meaning in this context, anal intercourse) could not be proven”.
The penalty for having anal sex (sodomy) and any sexual acts between men was death up to 1861. After this the penalty was life imprisonment. Until 1967 and the Sexual Offences Act which made consensual sex between two men in private legal.
Provided both men have reached the minimum age of 21 years. However it remains illegal for public consensual sexual acts between two or more men. Strangely, consensual sexual acts between women don’t seem to be mentioned.
Although according to an very interesting (worth a read!) article by counsel magazine Lesbianism was treated as indecent assault. https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/the-sexual-offences-act-1967-50-years-of-progress
Lastly, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 reduced the consenting age for someone to engage in homosexual acts is now 16 years old.
The consenting age was previously reduced from 21 to 18 years old in 1994 ”by virtue of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994” as stated in the Background section of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 .CHAPTER 44 legislation https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/44/notes?view=plain
Alan Turing finally in 2009 got an apology from the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Then in 2013 although posthumously, a pardon came from the Queen. Sadly it came too late for Alan to hear. But his family and great grandniece did…
The Sexual Offences Act 1967; 50 years of progress; https://www.counselmagazine.co.uk/articles/the-sexual-offences-act-1967-50-years-of-progress