THE Guardian reports today that Alan Turing, the mathematician and second world war codebreaker, is to be celebrated on a special stamp as an online petition calls for a posthumous pardon to quash his conviction for gross indecency.
The e-petition says his treatment and death:
Remains a shame on the UK government and UK history.
The computer pioneer is one of 10 prominent people chosen for the Royal Mail's Britons of Distinction stamps, to be launched in February.
The move has been warmly welcomed by the UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT). The Trust’s Secretary, George Broadhead, said:
This is richly deserved as, of course, is the call for a posthumous pardon which we fully support.
It is well known that Turing was gay, but perhaps not so well known that he was a staunch atheist. There are many other famous gay atheists past and present – Christopher Marlowe, Maynard Keynes, Stephen Fry and and Michael Cashman among them – but Turing is probably the most notable, since his breaking of the Enigma Code went such a long way in saving the UK from defeat in the last war.
Despite this, the treatment meted out to him by the authorities was despicable and almost certainly led to his suicide.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Turing's birth, the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee (TCAC) is coordinating the Alan Turing Year, a year-long programme of events around the world honouring Turing's life and achievements.
LGBT Humanists will certainly be participating in this programme to honour a man who, to them, is great hero. A number of articles about Turing were published in Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine and can be read at http://www.pinktriangle.org.uk/glh/turing.html.