Who cares about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their lives and accomplishments? We all should. But why? During LGBT History Month, we might learn about LGBT people who have made or continue to make a difference to our world. We can learn about their accomplishments and how they have changed science, literature, or many other fields.
Turing was in fact initially arrested when he reported one of his lovers to the police for breaking into his house and burgling it. The police in turn found out about the sexual affair, and instead of prosecuting the thief, arrested Turing for gross indecency with another male. Turing played his violin for the detectives and served them wine. His statement left no doubt about his guilt...
I have this week written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging a new inquiry into the death of the scientist Alan Turing, who has been finally granted a royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexual relations. Turing is generally believed to have been committed suicide following his conviction and chemical castration. However, the original inquest into his death was perfunctory and inadequate. A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death - including speculation that he was murdered by the security services.
In his short lifetime, Turing's profound achievements brought him all too little recognition. A pardon would be a powerful symbol, and another boost to his burgeoning public reputation. Yet while the coming debate is important, there are also other more concrete things that can be done to ensure Turing and his work receive adequate public recognition.
Only last year the coalition government refused to pardon the 49,000 men all convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, the act which recriminalized homosexuality. Alan Turing's conviction came from this Act but he was not the only famous person to suffer this. Oscar Wilde was also famously convicted under this act.
The estate of Bletchley Park can be found, enjoying regal respite, on lavish greens in Buckinghamshire. To the casual observer, there is nothing at all captivating about the site. But to the historian, or, fortunately, many a charming survivor of the old British Empire, this extensive manor is not merely a ramshackle corporation, it is the soul of our nation, hollowed ground, and the very embodiment of that uniquely British spirit, of resilience.