Friday, 18 September 2009

I hope Turing apology makes world a slightly safer place in which to be gay

Gordon Brown has apologised to the family of Alan Turing, the gay war hero, mathematician and code-breaker who killed himself in 1954 after he was convicted of gross indecency in 1952.

I am always sceptical of politicians offering apologies for things that happened a long time ago – and which they had nothing to do with at all.

And I can't help agreeing with Peter Tatchell, who has observed that singling out Alan Turing just because he's famous is unfair on the 100,00-odd gay men prosecuted under the same laws: either the Government are ashamed of Britain's history of homophobia or it isn't.

But with 77 countries around the world still outlawing homosexual activity, in many cases punishing gay men with execution or imprisonment, it’s an essential statement of our opposition to any persecution of gay men.

Coming on the very day when a British Consul was reportedly murdered in a homophobic attack in Jamaica, I hope it will give homophobes everywhere pause for thought – and make the world a slightly safer place for everyone.

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