‘UK chemically castrated him’: BoE & BBC savaged for ‘glossing over’ homophobic persecution of Alan Turing – face of new bank note
The Bank of England has unveiled its new £50 note design featuring iconic British mathematician Alan Turing, but some Brits were quick to criticize the bank –and the BBC– for seemingly glossing over his persecution by government.
Though the bank on Thursday placed an LGBT rainbow flag on its image unveiling the note – which is set to enter circulation on June 23 – and briefly mentioned Turing "was homosexual and was posthumously pardoned by the Queen, having been convicted of gross indecency for his relationship with a man," critics argued Turing's history was being whitewashed.
"Hypocritical for the UK government to act so happy you're putting him on a note when you literally chemically castrated him because he was gay," declared one Twitter user, while another wrote, "Glad he's being honoured but we can't forget what happened."
State sanctioned homophobia literally killed Alan Turing. https://t.co/5JIFquDxxD— Ruth Sangree (@Ruth_Sangree) March 25, 2021
Others complained about Turing being put on an infrequently used bank note that isn't accepted in many shops, and called on the government to ban gay conversion therapy in his honour.
Sure let's put a gay man on a note that isn't accepted in a lot of places oh the bloody irony 🤦🏻♂️ https://t.co/F3zAxDxIKc— 🌈🐇Vincent Van Goth🦇🌱 (@gonegal) March 25, 2021
While I’m sure he’d be flattered, I reckon Turing would rather see the Government ban conversion therapy, the (currently legal) form of LGBT torture that he was subjected to before he died in 1954 https://t.co/MBlx03fG6j— matt horwood (@matthewhorwood) March 25, 2021
The BBC also came under fire for its report on the bank note, with social media users accusing the state-owned news outlet of having "brushed over" Turing's persecution and being loose on the details.
BBC news announces that Alan Turing be the face on a new bank note. Acknowledging he was a brilliant man responsible for breaking the enigma code and inventing the first computer. They avoid detail about the persecution against his sexuality and his chemical castration.#bbcnews— Lizzy Wicks (@lizzywicks) March 25, 2021
Alan Turing celebrated this morning for his contribution in helping us shorten the 2nd World War they didn't mention he was arrested & prosecuted for homosexual acts chemically castrated as an alternative to prison & less than 2 years later committed suicide BBC obscuring history— Barbara (@BarbaraSutton15) March 25, 2021
Saw the BBC news report on Alan Turing on the £50 note, hoping for a bit of reflection on how appallingly he was treated for his sexuality and LGBT+ representation in the reportObviously they completely brushed over that aspect of his life, just disappointing but not surprising— Cllr Luke Jeffery 🔶🏳️🌈 (@lukeejeffery) March 25, 2021
Though the BBC did note that Turing was prosecuted for his homosexuality, it did not mention that he was chemically castrated, nor did it speak in detail of his persecution.Also on rt.com Turing’s Law sees posthumous pardons for gay men convicted of abolished offences
Turing, a computer scientist, was an integral part of the UK's codebreaking efforts at Bletchley Park during World War II. Despite his role in helping to defeat the Axis, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, chemically castrated as a result, and then died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. Turing's death has long been debated and it is unclear whether he intentionally ended his own life. The UK government publicly apologised for its treatment of Turing in 2009, and he was pardoned by the Queen a few years later.
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