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Friday, September 25, 2009

Alan Turing, WWII Hero and Father of the Computer Petition the Queen to Bestow Knighthood

Alan Turing, a mathematical genius, led the WWII team that broke the German code.  Turing invented the Bombe, which deciphered secret messages encoded by the German Enigma machine. His invention turned the tide of WWII, shortened the war, saved countless lives and helped assure Allied victory.

Known as the father of the computer, the Turing machine is the basis for computer technology.

In 1952, Turing was arrested for gross indecency for consensual same-sex intimacy.  He was offered imprisonment or chemical castration. Turing chose chemical castration. Two years later, at age 41, Turing committed suicide.

In September 2009, as a result of a successful international petition, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology to Alan Turning for the treatment he received.  Brown recognized Turing’s contribution to humankind and “all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work.”  Brown stated, “I am proud to say we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.”

Alan Turing is one of the most important figures of the 20th century,” stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum.  “Despite his exceptional accomplishments, homophobia castrated him and led to his suicide. More than an apology is required. Alan Turing deserves to be posthumously knighted by the Queen.”

Turing’s portrait is currently on display in the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the “Gay Icons” exhibition.

To nominate Alan Turing for Knighthood, please visit:

Alan Turing was a 2006 Icon for GLBT History Month.  There is a video, biography, bibliography and downloadable images of Turing. To learn more about Alan Turing, visit and click on Archives for 2006.

Equality Forum is a national and international GLBT civil rights organization with an educational focus.  Equality Forum coordinates GLBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high impact initiatives and presents annually the largest national and international GLBT civil rights forum.

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