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Campaign to Knight Turing


More than a half century since gay mathematician Alan Turing committed suicide after being chemically castrated by the British government, an organization is asking that he be posthumously knighted for his efforts leading to the fall of the Germans in World War II.

"Alan Turing is one of the most important figures of the 20th century," Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum, said in a statement on Friday. "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 was a mathematical genius whose work breaking German codes for the British during World War II contributed to the eventual Allied victory. His Turing Machine made him known as an early father of the modern computer. However, instead of being knighted, he was chemically castrated after being found guilty of "gross indecency" for having a gay relationship. Two years later, in 1954, he killed himself at age 41.

In a recent campaign, Brits and others around the world called for an apology by the government. Earlier this month, U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology to Turing, recognizing his contribution to humankind and "all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work."

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