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Gay computer hero Alan Turing pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II

Gay computer hero Alan Turing pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II has pardoned Alan Turning, the father of computing and World War II hero, for his 1952 conviction for having sex with another man.

Turing helped crack the Enigma code, helping the Allies understand German communications and ultimately win the war.

But in 1952 he was convicted for ‘gross indecency’ with another man by a British court. Instead of prison, he accepted treatment with female hormones – also known as chemical castration.

This led to Turing committing suicide in 1954.

The Queen’s pardon reads in part: ‘We in consideration of circumstances humbly represented unto us, are graciously pleased to extend our grace and mercy unto the said Alan Mathison Turing and to grant him our free pardon posthumously in respect of the said convictions.

A Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords had been frustrated by the lack of progress in giving Turing a posthumous pardon so he had drafted his own bill to get his record wiped clean.

Lord Sharkey said last year: ‘Alan Turing helped save this country. His work on cracking the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park during World War II undoubtedly changed the course of the war and saved many thousands of lives.

‘Instead of being rewarded by his country, he was cruelly punished and convicted simply for being gay.’

After the war he continued his work in computing, helping develop the first stored-program computers. He also developed the Turing Test as a hypothetical way to see if future computers really are ‘intelligent.’