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The UK’s new passport contains a poignant coded tribute to Alan Turing

Nick Duffy November 4, 2015

The images that will appear on the new UK passport have been released – and it contains a coded tribute to gay computing genius Alan Turing.

The passport is redesigned every five years to include new imagery and security features.

The ‘Creative United Kingdom’ passport, which was unveiled by immigration minister James Brokenshire this week, pays tribute to the UK’s creative forces.

Turing, often hailed as the grandfather of modern computing, was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide.

The mathematical genius previously worked at Bletchley Park to crack the German Enigma codes – which is widely believed to have meant an earlier end to World War II.

One page of the passport features a subtle tribute to the work of the gay mathematician and computing hero across his lifetime- not featuring his picture, but featuring mathematical equations, a map of Bletchley, and imagery of modern computers.

Rather than overtly showing Turing’s face, however, the page features two mathematicians from the 1800s – Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. Every page features images of William Shakespeare.

However, the passport has come under fire from Labour MPs for featuring seven men and three women – paying tribute to Lovelace, architect Elizabeth Scott, and Queen Victoria in stamp form.

Emily Thornberry MP complained: “Here we go again – new UK passport has 7 men featured and just 2 women”.

Stella Creasy MP added: “so tired of this shizzle (sic) -home office could only find 2 UK women 2 celebrate in 500 years of history”.

Earlier this year, heartbreaking letters from Turing were released – shedding light on the trauma he went through while being chemically castrated to ‘cure’ his homosexuality.

In a letter a friend, dated after his 1952 conviction, he wrote: “I have had a dream indicating rather clearly that I am on the way to being hetero, though I don’t accept it with much enthusiasm either awake or in the dreams.”

 

 

More: Alan Turing, codebreaking, England, hero, Home Office, LGBT, passport, sexuality, Turing, UK

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