Alan Turing, the father of computer science and one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, is often considered the father of modern computer science. He was renowned for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of computing. He played a crucial role in developing the first modern computers and was instrumental in cracking the encrypted codes used by the Germans during World War II through their Enigma machines. Additionally, he proposed a landmark idea known as the Turing Test, which laid the foundation for the study of artificial intelligence.
Without his professional achievements, it's likely that we wouldn't exist and the progress made in computer science wouldn't be possible.
However, Turing's legacy goes beyond his impressive scientific achievements and accolades. He was also a pioneering figure in the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights. His life and work in Manchester are an important part of our city's rich history - one which we're proud of.
Turing moved to Manchester in 1948 to work at the University of Manchester, where he was a professor of mathematics. During his time in Manchester, Turing became involved in the city's thriving gay scene and he had several relationships with other men. However, in 1952, Turing was charged with "gross indecency" after a relationship with a man was discovered. He was given a choice between prison and chemical castration and he chose the latter. The treatment left him impotent and depressed, and two years later, he was found dead in his home, widely believed to have committed suicide.
Turing's treatment by the British government was a clear example of the discrimination and persecution that LGBTQIA+ people faced in Britain in the mid-20th century. However, despite his untimely death, Turing's legacy lived on and he continued to inspire future generations of computer scientists and LGBTQIA+ rights activists.
Manchester has been a hub of LGBTQIA+ activism and is home to a vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. The city played a key role in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in the 1970s and 1980s with the establishment of gay rights groups such as the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and the Gay Liberation Front. These groups worked to raise awareness of LGBTQIA+ issues and to challenge the legal and social discrimination that LGBTQIA+ people faced.
Today, Manchester continues to be at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights, with the city hosting the annual Manchester Pride festival, which has become one of the most significant and most celebrated LGBTQIA+ events in Europe. Alan Turing's legacy continues to inspire and influence the LGBTQIA+ community in Manchester and beyond. In 2013, he was granted a posthumous pardon by the British government; in 2017 he was given a formal apology for how he was treated. These gestures of recognition and support for Turing's legacy are important milestones in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights and serve as a reminder of the impact that one person can have on the world.
Alan Turing's life and work in Manchester is a testament to his legacy as a mathematician, computer scientist, and LGBTQIA+ trailblazer. During LGBT+ History Month, we celebrate Turing's contributions to science and society and remember his sacrifices in fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights. Turing's legacy continues to inspire and influence people worldwide, and his life and work in Manchester are important to the city's rich LGBTQIA+ history.