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Remembering Alan Turing

June 7, 2007 10:18 PM

The Liberal Democrats are calling for the House of Commons to remember the gay cryptographer Alan Turing tomorrow, on the 53rd anniversary of his death. He is famous for having invented the Turing machine and been key to cracking the German Enigma code during World War Two, but was found dead after being convicted of having a sexual relationship with another man.

The Liberal Democrats Early Day Motion asks that the House "notes the vital contribution Turing made to the British War Effort... and regrets that... he received a criminal conviction for having a sexual relationship with another man."

We will ask the House to acknowledge "the huge and unnecessary suffering that he and so many other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have had to endure over the years due to legislation."

Lorely Burt, Lib Dem MP for Solihull, said: "The anniversary of the death of Alan Turing is an important reminder both of how far we have come in regard to LGBT liberation and how far we still have to go. In the 1950s awful laws made the lives of LGBT people a misery and lead to the suicide of one of this country's most brilliant thinkers. Although laws have changed, societal pressures still oppress and the LGBT suicide rate remains unacceptably high.

"We now need to focus of the causes of societal oppression, in particular through tackling homophobic bullying in schools.

After he was convicted of engaging in gay sex, Turing was forced to choose between hormone "treatment" or go to prison, and despite having been awarded the OBE for his worth there during the war was barred from working at Government Communications Headquarters.

He was found dead after eating an apple laced with cyanide on 8th June 1954, more than ten years before sex between men was decriminalised.