The Bank of England announced that Alan Turing’s face would be featured on a new 50 pound note to commemorate his achievements in the field of mathematics and artificial intelligence. The bank also endorsed rainbow-colored flags to acknowledge the homosexuality of Turing. The move has received a lot of criticism because the leaders of England were also the reason behind his misery and death.
Alan Turing was chosen as the new face from the public survey in 2019 which included more than 1000 candidates. The options included the likes of Stephen Hawking, Ada Lovelace, Ernest Rutherford, William Herschel, and Rosalind Franklin.
The new note will enter circulation on 23rd June 2021, the date of Turing’s birthday. Different folks have reacted to the news in different ways but most were not impressed with the decision.
New 50 Pound Note Generates Mixed Reactions
Some people have said that the Bank of England has finally regarded Alan Turing as he deserved. According to his followers, what the state did to him after he beat the uncrackable Enigma code was horrifying. They saw it as great recognition for a real hero who was driven to commit suicide by the state.
On the other hand, many people took an opportunity to call out UK’s cruel medical procedure which tortured Turing in his last days. Sadly, hormone conversion therapy is still legal in the UK.
The state was never held responsible for performing inhumane conversion therapy on Turing. This reality has been hurting the followers of Turing, who suggested that the government departments should not speak about Alan Turing unless they are ready for accountability.
Some still cherished the fact that there weren’t many role models for the LGBTQ+ community to look up to. They knew the sad history but accepted the new 50 pound note design knowing that Alan’s face would help the non-binary people to have some kind of visibility.
Is the New Note Really Honoring Alan Turing?
There were even mixed reactions within the LGBTQ+ community. Where some appreciated the move, others only had hostile language for the government.
Some suggested the government ban conversion therapy if it really wanted to honor Alan Turing instead of just putting his face on a new 50 pound note.
How Did Alan Turing Die?
The scientist was best known for his codebreaking work during World War II, which saved millions of lives. He also created a “Turing Test” to measure the intelligence of machines.
Sadly, after the war, the monarchist government persecuted him over a relationship with a man. They gave him a choice to either suffer imprisonment or go through female hormone treatment, which was equivalent to chemical castration.
His conviction resulted at the end of his career at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). UK’s violent behavior against Turing forced him to poison himself in 1954 by eating a cyanide-laced apple.