Homosexual acts were criminal offences in the United Kingdom in the 1950s and Alan Turing was charged with “gross indecency” under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Brought to trial on 31 March 1952, he was convicted and given a choice between imprisonment and probation. His probation would be conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal physical changes designed to reduce libido. He accepted the option of injections of what was then called stilboestrol (also known as diethylstilbestrol or DES), a synthetic oestrogen; this feminization of his body was continued for the course of one year. The treatment rendered Turing impotent and caused breast tissue to form, fulfilling in the literal sense Turing’s prediction that “no doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out”.
Selected Press Releases
- Alan Turing, World War II code-breaker castrated for being gay, is the face of Britain’s £50 note, CNN Business July 15, 2019 – Alan Turing belongs on the UK’s £50 note; now put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, CNN Opinion, July 16, 2019.
- Alan Turing is crowned the most iconic figure of the 20th century, dailymail, 6 February 2019.
- Pardon all of the estimated 49,000 men who, like Alan Turing, were convicted of consenting same-sex relations under the British “gross indecency” law (only repealed in 2003), and also all the other men convicted under other UK anti-gay laws, change.org, Feb 10, 2015.
- The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero, thedailybeast, 11.29.14.
- Alan Turings name restored with film about his work, life and identity,
oddonion, November 14, 2014.
- Budget 2014: Alan Turing Institute to lead big data research,
oddonion, March 19, 2014.
- The Imitation Game, based on the real life story of Alan Turing, desdaughter, 2015/02/14.
- Alan Turing granted Royal pardon by the Queen, telegraph, 24 Dec 2013.
- Grant a pardon to Alan Turin, epetitions, Closing:23/11/2012.
- Alan Turing: Inquest’s suicide verdict ‘not supportable’, BBC Radio Science Unit, 26 June 2012.
- ALAN TURING AND HIS MACHINES – FRESH INSIGHTS INTO THE ENIGMA, independent.co.uk, 14 June 2012.
- How Alan Turing Finally Got a Posthumous Apology, radar, September 17, 2009.
- PM apology after Turing petition, BBC News, 11 September 2009.
- Gordon Brown: I’m proud to say sorry to a real war hero, telegraph, 10 Sep 2009.