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Turing to inspire kids at gay history event

Event in Bletchley Park will celebrate life of gay scientist Alan Turing
LGBT History Month event in Bletchley Park will celebrate life of gay scientist Alan Turing

UK schools are being encouraged to start planning their activities for LGBT History Month with a pre-launch event taking place in Bletchley Park to celebrate the life of Alan Turing.

The event, taking place on 15 November and organised by SchoolsOUT, coincides with the 100th birthday of Turing, whose groundbreaking coding work during World War II helped save thousands of lives and is often credited as the father of the modern computer. However, he was hounded by the authorities for his homosexuality, and eventually committed suicide.

Several events will take place  on the day. In the morning, schoolchildren from Milton Keynes and Birmingham will be shown around the park, which was where Turing developed the famous Enigma machine.

They will then take part in code-breaking exercises, learn about the life and homophobic persecution of Turing and sample a maths lesson from the Classroom, an online resource developed by SchoolsOUT to introduce positive LGBT images into the school curriculum.

An event for university students will be held in the afternoon organised by Iain Standen, the CEO of Bletchley Park.

In the evening there will be events featuring prominent LGBT figures, including a debate on the question ‘Science and the LGBT Community – our friend or our enemy?’.

Among the speakers will be Elly Barnes, a music teacher who is now working for LGBT equality in schools in Birmingham.

Barnes, who was the spearhead for LGBT History Month at Stoke Newington School, said: ‘Our ICT department has studied the work of Alan Turing with year seven every February since 2005.

These students are now leaving the sixth form having benefitted from an inclusive LGBT curriculum for seven years; they will take that positive and unprejudiced experience with them into their universities and workplaces’.

LGBT History Month takes place every February, with the theme for 2013 being science, engineering and mathematics.

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