Alan Turing's Pardon Opens Door for 50,000 More

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com December 26 2013 1:09 PM ET

Alan Turing, the math genius whose code-breaking techniques helped the Allies defeat the Nazis in World War II, finally got a pardon from Queen Elizabeth II after the British government castrated, humiliated him, and likely drove him to suicide. Now, there's a possibility that the other 50,000 men convicted of "gross indecency" could get the same respect.

British LGBT rights leader Peter Tatchell is urging the British government provide the same pardon to others convicted of a 19th-century law criminalizing same-sex relations; 15,000 men charged with that crime remain alive. The government previously refused to pardon these men, but the Queen's action on Turing may have opened the door for a change. The first step is submitting a formal application, reports Gay Star News.

"The government has taken concrete action to allow those affected by this to apply for their convictions to be disregarded and would encourage anyone affected to apply to have these records deleted or disregarded and guarantee that all applications will be considered carefully," according to a statement from the U.K. Home Office.

Tatchell would also like an inquest into Turing's 1954 suicide (by cyanide-laced apple) as the gay rights leader is not entirely convinced the British Secret Service did not have something to do with it. Tatchell believes the government may have killed Turing because as a gay man he posed a blackmail risk who could endanger relations with the Soviet Union.