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Gay hate, then and now

Good to read about Gordon Brown's apology for the indescribably brutal way in which computer pioneer Alan Turing was treated by the government and the courts in Britain fifty plus year ago. Turing, whose work was essential to the cracking of the Enigma code during the second world war, was removed from his job and given the 'choice' of prison or some warped 'aversion therapy' to 'cure' his homosexuality, because he was gay. He killed himself as a result in 1954.

We were talking about it in the office here and reflected on how to us, in 2009 Britain, this is not really comprehensible. So much anti-gay legal discrimination and prejeudice in society has been overcome. We certainly don;t have the emdical profession backing up this kind of bigotry and providing the court-ordered 'treatments'.

We should never be complacent about homophobia in Britian – Stonewall's report on huge amounts of gay bashing and bullying in our schools makes very powerful reading and there's clearly srtill lots of work to be done.

As we reflected Britain's shameful history of gay hate there was news yesterday of a violent murder of a British consul in Jamaica, which looks like it may have been motivated by homophobia. Some say the phenomenon of widespread and violent homophobia in Jamaica, which sometimes includes vigilante mobs beating men and women they accuse of being gay, has to be understood in relation to British colonial history. What's clear is that Jamaica is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be gay, to the extent that some Jamaicans have sought asylum elsewhere on the basis of their sexuality.

We think we've come a long way from the way Alan Turing was persecuted. We still have a long way to go.


About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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