Story of Alan Turing sparks petition demanding the pardon of 49,000 men

Even from a young age, English scientist Alan Turing displayed signs of high intelligence. During World War II, Turing was a leading participant in wartime code-breaking, particularly that of German ciphers.

Despite his many achievements, Turing was charged with gross indecency in 1952 after admitting to the police that he had a sexual relationship with the 19-year-old man who broke into his house. During this time, homosexuality was illegal in the United Kingdom.

Due to the charges against him, Turing was forced to choose between imprisonment or temporary probation on the condition that he receive hormonal treatment for libido reduction. Turing chose the latter and underwent chemical castration through injections of a synthetic estrogen hormone for a year, and soon after Turing died of self-inflicted cyanide poisoning.

In 2013, Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon. Campaigners are now demanding the government pardon 49,000 other men that were convicted under this law. Leading the protest are three of Turing’s relatives who will hand over a petition, which collected over 500,000 signatures, to 10 Downing Street.

“The fact that they all haven’t been pardoned earlier just shows how closed-minded everyone is to how others want to live their life,” sophomore Miriam Podkolzin said.

Many people feel this way all over the world, which is why actions are being taken now to try and right the said wrongdoings of the past.

“The government committed a blatant atrocity so they have a moral obligation to pardon those affected so they can have some degree of closure,” senior Andrew Morley said.

If the United Kingdom should choose to pardon the men convicted under this law, it may not undo the actions of the past, but it may begin to help governments worldwide take a step in the right direction and will definitely be a large victory for civil rights activists everywhere.

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By Savanah Speaker

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