The new face of the £50 note has been revealed as Alan Turning, the Second World War codebreaker, and people on social media are hailing the decision as a victory against burgeoning homophobia.

The news that the renowned mathematician, considered to be the father of modern computer science, and credited by Winston Churchill as making the 'single biggest contribution to the allied victory' in the Second World War, as the face of the £50 note was announced on Monday.

Speaking about his decision to put Turing on the note, Mark Carney, Bank of England governor, said:

Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today.

As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and path-breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.

Despite his achievements, Turing was persecuted throughout his life because he was gay. In 1952, he was prosecuted for homosexual acts and, faced with the prospect of imprisonment, he instead chose chemical castration, a form of hormone treatment that was supposed to suppress his sexual desire.

In 1954, at the age of 41, Turing died of cyanide poisoning. The mathematician's housekeeper found him dead with a half-eaten apple laced with the poison on his dressing table. At the time, his death was recorded as suicide, but experts have since questioned the evidence.

The news comes as reports of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes including stalking, harassment, and violent assault, have more than doubled in England and Wales over the last five years since 2014, reports the Guardian.

Furthermore, schools across England have been receiving letters opposing the teaching of relationships and sex education and LGBT+ equality, after protests began in Birmingham and letters, predominantly from conservative Muslims, and from some Christian parents in Kent, have been sent to a number of schools nationwide, reports the BBC.

It goes without saying that the news has been welcomed as a huge statement against homophobia, with people on social media celebrating the decision.

There were also some jokes.

In 2009, Turing received a pardon from then prime minister Gordon Brown, who made an official apology for the 'appalling' way that Turing had been treated during his lifetime, yet it wasn't until 2013 that Turning was officially pardoned by the Queen.

In 2016, the government passed an 'Alan Turing law', that posthumously pardoned thousands of gay and bisexual men who had been convicted under gross indecency laws.

LGBT+ activist, and founder of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell, who in 2018 campaigned to have the code-breaking hero as the face of the note, commented:

This is a much deserved accolade for one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century.

Turing's Enigma code-breaking helped defeat the Nazis and thereby shortened the Second World War, saving millions of lives.

As a pioneer of computing science, his theories laid the foundation of the modern world, including everything from the internet and email to mobile phones, space exploration and life-saving medical technologies.

HT The Independent

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