This year Manchester is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing. On a recent Saturday afternoon a group from St Chrysostom’s and the LGBT Communion service visited the special Turing exhibition at Manchester Museum.
Turing was a brilliant young man who became a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge at the age of 22. He was instrumental in breaking German codes during the war, and undoubtedly contributed to an earlier end to the conflict by inventing a code breaking machine which broke the Enigma code.
After the war he worked at the National Physics Laboratory, and also at Manchester University; he is considered to be the father of computing and artificial intelligence.
Turing was also gay, at a time when homosexuality was illegal. In 1952 he admitted to an act of ‘gross indecency’ with another man – for which he might have been imprisoned. He was, instead, given a Probation Order and forced to undergo hormonal treatment.
In June 1954 Turing was found dead at his home. The coroner believed the cause of his death was suicide. This was a tragic end to a brilliant career and life. He was driven to an early death by a nation he had helped so much.
60 years after the sad death of Turing, many societies and cultures are more accepting of diversity in sexuality. In some churches homophobia persists and LGBT people have to be silent about their sexuality if they wish to be a part of those churches. Thankfully there are other churches where LGBT people are welcomed.
St Chrysostom’s is a place of welcome. We delight in difference and diversity. We are pleased to host the monthly diocesan Mass for LGBT people and their friends, Communion. People are made welcome and can stand before God in church as they are, not as others would like them to be.