Representing LGBT rights on banknotes

I had blogged that Bank of England has chosen Alan Turing as the person to be represened on their banknote.

Sarah John, chief cashier of Bank of England whose signs go on the banknotes (yeah Governor does not sign the banknotes in UK) tells us the proces behind Turing’s selection.

I found this bit really inspiring:

It is Turing’s incredible scientific achievements that are reflected in the design, and the reason he was chosen to appear on the £50 note. But I am also very proud that Turing will be the first gay man to be depicted on a Bank of England note. This fact is all the more poignant given the horrific treatment Turing received as a result of his sexual orientation. In 1952, Turing was convicted of Gross Indecency for his relationship with a man. To avoid a prison sentence, he accepted probation which was conditional on receiving oestrogen hormone, otherwise known as ‘chemical castration’. After his prosecution, he was no longer able to consult with GCHQ as homosexuals were ineligible for security clearance.

In 2009, Gordon Brown made an official posthumous apology for Turing’s treatment, and Turing received a royal pardon for the conviction in December 2013. In 2017, the ‘Alan Turing Law’, was passed that posthumously pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts.

I hope that Turing’s depiction on the note will serve as a reminder to all of us of that prejudice has no place in the UK today whatever guise it comes in. Everyone’s achievements deserve to be celebrated, no matter their personal characteristics.

Bank of England officials have been speaking about building and promoting diversity. They seem to mean it in every  possible way.

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