Target: Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England
Goal: Thank Queen Elizabeth II for granting a royal pardon to WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, who was convicted of homosexuality.
Queen Elizabeth II of England granted a posthumous pardon to codebreaker Alan Turing for his conviction of homosexuality. Alan Turing was one of the most influential figures of the 20th century; he played a significant role in breaking the German Enigma codes and he helped the Allies defeat the Nazis. As if this were not enough, Turing went on to become widely recognized among computer scientists as the father of modern computing. The contributions of Turing were immeasurable. Without him, we would not have computers as we currently know them, and it’s even conceivable that the Allies could have lost the war without his work.
When the war ended, instead of being lauded as the genius and hero that he was, Turing was convicted of homosexuality, which was a criminal offense in England at the time. According to the biologist and social critic Richard Dawkins, he was given a choice between two years in prison or a round of hormone shots that would have been the equivalent of a chemical castration, and which also would have caused him to grow breasts. This was obviously a tortuous choice for Turing, and in the end he tragically formulated a third option. He took his own life by eating an apple that he had injected with cyanide.
Although this was an injustice that can never be fully corrected, the pardon does clear Alan Turing of any wrongdoing, and grants him the honor he deserves. Please sign this petition to let Queen Elizabeth know that you approve of this merciful and highly appropriate gesture.
I would like to thank you for the pardon that you granted unto Alan Turing, who was convicted of homosexuality. Turing cracked the German Enigma codes, helped the Allies win the war, and became widely recognized as the father of computer science. Instead of being celebrated as a hero, which is what he deserved, he was harshly persecuted until he made the tragic decision to end his own life. He did not deserve the treatment that he received, and his homosexuality hardly constitutes a crime anyway. Although Turing is gone and we can never fully correct this injustice, we can recognize the wrongdoing of the people who came before us, and work to ensure that no such injustices ever take place again.
I want to offer my sincerest thanks for your gracious gesture. Turing deserves to become recognized by history as a worldwide hero rather than a criminal, and this merciful pardon is a huge step forward in that process.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve Parker via Flickr