Deemed as a ‘truly momentous’ occasion, thousands of gay and bisexual men have been pardoned of decades-old offences.
The pardoning bill, aptly named after Alan Turing, took effect on Tuesday 31 January, after decades of campaigning.
As a result of the act, roughly 50,000 men who were previously convicted of now-legal offenses will be pardoned. The pardon addresses pre-1967 laws against homosexual activity. These include convictions against ‘gross indecency’ and ‘buggery’.
Alan Turing, the mathematician, scientist and WW2 enigma decoder from Wilmslow, was famously convicted for gross indecency in 1952. After chemical castration, consisting of the administered dose of hormones which left him impotent, Turing died two years later.
Since his death, which many believe to have been suicide, Turing has become a symbol of defiance against homophobia. In 2013, Turing was pardoned of his previous ‘crimes’. Now, the names of thousands of other men, whether dead or alive, will be similarly and automatically be cleared.
Sam Gyimah, the justice minister, said: “This is a truly momentous day. We can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs”.
Amidst the names of thousands of men, Oscar Wilde is one of many famous figures who will be pardoned. The poet, playwright and Victorian celebrity famed for his wit was imprisoned for acts of gross indecency in 1895.