Alan Turing Legacy: Memorial Award Launched In Honour Of Gay Hero


A new annual award in memory of Alan Turing has been launched in partnership with Manchester City Council to coincide with the centenary of his birth (23 June).

The Alan Turing Memorial Award will recognise individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to the fight against homophobia in Manchester. The award will be a new special category in the LGF’s Homo Heroes Awards.

Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of the LGF comments “Alan Turing made a monumental contribution to the freedom that every single one of us enjoys in the UK today. What makes Turing’s legacy so tragic is that in the final months and years of his life, many of his own freedoms were denied to him. He was punished because of his sexuality and had to make the humiliating choice between imprisonment or chemical castration. This ultimately led to him taking his own life. Had Turing been alive today, he would have rightly been celebrated as a hero. We are also pleased to announce that the LGF are making Alan Turing a posthumous Homo Hero.”

The Homo Heroes Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate people, businesses and organisations in our everyday lives that have made a significant contribution to lesbian, gay and bisexual communities. This year they are being supported by Barclays.

Julian Bucknall, Co-Chair Barclays Spectrum (the LGBT Employee Network) said: “At Barclays we believe people are at their best when they can truly be themselves. That is why we are proud to support the LGF in their mission to promote LGBT equality.”

Alan Turing is considered to be the father of the modern computer. In Manchester he created the world’s first computer with storable memory. All modern computers – from laptops to iPads – are based on this prototype, which was called the Manchester Computer. His codebreaking work during the Second World War was instrumental in Britain’s defeat of the Nazis.

But Turing was also gay. He was prosecuted for having a relationship with a man and was forced to take female hormones to avoid jail. Two years after being convicted, Turing took his own life.

Councillor Kevin Peel, Manchester City Council’s lead member for gay men’s issues, said: “This award will recognise those people who are making a difference to victims of homophobia, it will recognise those people who aren’t afraid to stand up and say we won’t tolerate it. It also represents a lasting legacy to Alan Turing, and is a fitting tribute to that great man.”

The Homo Heroes Awards are coming into their second year and previous winners have included Sir Ian McKellen, The Co-operative’s Respect Network and Greater Manchester Police.

Sir Ian McKellen who won LGB&T Role Model of the Year in 2011 comments “I couldn’t have been more delighted, particularly as I admire the other winners so much.”

There are a total of seven categories in the Homo Heroes Awards 2012 plus the new Alan Turing Memorial Award. The nomination period will end on 31 July 2012 and following this the top three nominees from each award category will be put forward for a public vote from 6 August until 3 September. All winners will be announced at the Homo Hero Awards ceremony on 20 September in Manchester.

The winner of the Alan Turing Memorial Award will be decided by a panel and the award will be presented by Cllr Peel. The winner will also be invited to the Town Hall to be received by the Lord Mayor.

Nominations for the Alan Turing Memorial Award – and all the other Homo Heroes Award categories – can be made on the LGF’s website at