Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Gay Genius Alan Turing is Finally Pardoned

It's taken more than half a century of bigotry and prevarication, but the gay computer genius and war hero Alan Turing has finally been pardoned. 

Mathematician Alan Turing, who helped Britain win the Second World War by cracking Nazi Germany's "unbreakable" Enigma code, was granted a rare royal pardon on Tuesday for a criminal conviction for homosexuality that led to his suicide.

Justice Minister Chris Grayling said the pardon from Queen Elizabeth would come into effect immediately and was a fitting tribute to "an exceptional man with a brilliant mind."

And all I can say is it's about time eh? 

For he was an amazing gay man, and what they did to him was monstrous. 

But of course he wasn't the only victim of Britain's brutish anti-gay laws which still live on in their former colonies like Jamaica or Uganda. 

And which are still killing gay people, or making their lives miserable. 

So I can understand why some are saying that if Turing was pardoned so should all the other victims.

In announcing the pardon today, the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, said: "A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man." Turing was certainly an exceptional man but the tribute could not be less fitting. It says that the British state is prepared to forgive historical homosexual acts providing they were performed by a national hero, academic giant or world-changing innovator.

This is the polar opposite of the correct message. Turing should be forgiven not because he was a modern legend, but because he did absolutely nothing wrong. The only wrong was the venality of the law. It was wrong when it was used against Oscar Wilde, it was wrong when it was used against Turing and it was wrong when it was used against an estimated 75,000 other men, whether they were famous playwrights and scientists or squaddies, plumbers or office clerks.

And I don't disagree. There should be justice for Oscar Wilde and all the others. They all deserve justice, a pardon, and most of all an APOLOGY.

Even if it's too late for most of them.

But I do want to say that as a gay guy who has been fighting the bullies and the hatred that kills since the age of twelve, I know that it's a brutal war, and that every victory counts.

A lot of people, gay and straight, fought very long and very hard to make this day happen. It is Alan Turing's day. 

He deserves to be singled out for all the lives he saved, including those of countless Canadians on the convoys in the U-boat infested waters of the North Atlantic.

And because nobody should forget the shabby, shameless way he was treated, like a criminal instead of a hero. How he was humiliated instead of honoured. 

So I'm celebrating eh?

But still fighting, because I also believe that the best way to make up for the suffering of Turing and all those others, is to attack anti-gay bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head.

Like the stealthy bigotry of Stephen Harper, who on the day he announced that he would not be attending the Sochi Hate Games, made it clear that had nothing to do with the Putin regime's brutal assault on Russia's LGBT people. 

In Ottawa, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Stephen Harper won’t go to Sochi but not because of gay rights or Russian homophobia. “He normally does not attend; Vancouver was an exception,” said PMO spokesman Jason MacDonald who declined to say whether the Prime Minister plans to send a political message with its delegation.

Just to pleasure, or slobber all over, his rabid religious base. Who hate gay people as much as the Putin regime does. 

Feeding their blind hatred in a country where being gay can still get you a knife in the back. 

Or destroy you, like it destroyed the boy who liked to watch the daisies grow...

The gentle genius who helped save us from the Nazis, and could have contributed so much more, if he hadn't been driven to despair and murdered by bigotry.

The same insane hate that still destroys so many gay kids in our schools where bigotry still stalks the corridors and bullies still run rampant. While the Harper bullies look the other way.

Who would not fight against that eh? Or fight against them.

Down with the bigots, down with the Con regime.

Hooray for Alan Turing.

The gay man, the computer genius, and the great war hero...

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Anonymous said...

In my first computer world job, I worked for a women, Angela, who had studied computer engineering at University College London. We worked on designs that we referred to as 'paper machines' or 'state machines'. Angela insisted that we refer to our designs as 'Turing machines' (which is really what they were) in honour of the great mathematician. Thank you Alan. Thank you Angela.

Beijing York said...

Beautiful tribute, Simon. I may not comment as much as I have in the past but I read you daily. You are a joy and inspiration.

I wish you and Sebastian much joy and good health for this new year. Merry Christmas!

Unknown said...

I believe the directions for applying for the pardon will require you to provide this information.

US Waiver For Canadians