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Turing family and Attitude editor to deliver petition to Downing Street

2015-02-23
(FILES) This file handout picture releasThe family of World War 2 codebreaker Alan Turing (pictured) will today visit 10 Downing Street, accompanied by Attitude editor Matthew Todd, to personally deliver a petition demanding the pardon of 49,000 men convicted of historical gay sex convictions. Last month, Attitude Magazine united with a host of leading figures including Stephen Fry, Peter Tatchell and actor Benedict Cumberbatch to call on the British government to pardon the convictions of thousands of gay men convicted of “gross indecency.” In an open letter published in The Guardian newspaper, Todd, Fry, Tatchell, Cumberbatch, Imitation Game director Morten Tyldum and Alan Turing’s great-niece, Rachel Barnes, called on the government to take action. A Change.org petition has amassed more than half a million signatures in the past month, which Barnes, Todd and Turing's great-nephew Nevil Hunt will today hand-deliver at Downing Street. Turing, whose code breaking expertise was a vital element in the resolution of World War II, was convicted in 1952 of gross indecency, chemically castrated, and committed suicide just two years later. While Turing was given a posthumous pardon in 2013, campaigners now want that same pardon extended to the estimated 49,000 other men convicted of the same 'crime' before the law was overturned and homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967. "Generations of gay and bisexual men were forced to live their lives in a state of terror. Men convicted of gross indecency were often considered to have brought huge shame on their families and many took their own lives," says Attitude editor Todd. "We still live with the legacy of this period today and it's about time the country addressed this appalling part of our history. We still live with injustice that has hungover from that time." The co-signees of the letter call on the government to “begin a discussion about the possibility of pardoning all the men, alive or deceased, who like Alan Turing, were convicted under the UK’s ‘gross indecency’ law and other discriminatory anti-gay legislation."