This 93-year-old gay man powerfully explains why he doesn’t want a pardon from the U.K. government
The success of the 2014 film, The Imitation Game, has brought much-needed awareness to the U.K.’s historical anti-equality laws in regards to sexuality. Alan Turing, computer scientist, mathematician, and focus of the film, was convicted under these anti-gay laws. Now, the U.K. is pardoning the men who were convicted under that same law — many of whom have already passed away.
The Gross Indecency Law resulted in the unlawful convictions of thousands of gay, bisexual, and queer men across the U.K. before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967. One of those men is George Montague, and his conviction caused him to lose his job at a camp for boys struggling with disabilities.
Now 93 years old, Montague is still vocal about the consequences of criminalizing homosexuality in the U.K.
In fact, he's been one of the most vocal activists in pushing not for a pardon -- but for a public apology from the government. He even started an online petition to put more public pressure on the British government.
He writes on his Twitter page:
As Montague explains, a pardon still suggests that these men did something wrong in the first place. He told BBC:
"To accept a pardon means you accept that you were guilty. I was not guilty of anything... I think it was wrong to give Alan Turing — one of the heroes of my life — a pardon. What was he guilty of? He was guilty of the same as what they called me guilty of — being born only able to fall in love with another man."
A pardon is a step in the right direction, but without a commitment to treat homosexual and queer residents better in the future, the U.K. is vulnerable to repeating these tragedies and injustices.