Column: It’s now time to right this historic wrong

Doncaster Pride event gets underway with a parade around the town centre

Doncaster Pride event gets underway with a parade around the town centre

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“My freedom is connected to yours”- incredibly profound words from a refugee that I met in Brussels, who now spends his life campaigning for the human protections and rights of others.

Last week I watched in horror as a Tory MP, Sam Gyimah, spoke for so long that a law to automatically pardon 50,000 men criminalised under anti-gay laws ran out of time.

This bill, inspired by the wartime codebreaker Alan Turing, who had been chemically castrated for being gay under archaic laws, was an opportunity to put right the wrongs of the past, once and for all.

The Tory Government has stated that they need to put safeguards in place so that those criminals that were convicted of paedophilia, pre-homosexuality being legalised in 1967, or before the age of consent was lowered from 21 in 1994, do not escape the law.

In other words, gay human beings under these proposed Tory rules, who were criminalised pre-1967 have to apply for their own pardon despite suffering an incredible injustice.

I personally find this incredibly degrading and dishonorable, without a thought for the victims. It is frankly deplorable. Many of these people died with criminal stigma attached to their memories. Some are alive and in their 90s, and one can only imagine the inequalities and discrimination that these people faced daily because of these horrendous discriminatory laws.

If this MP knew anything about history and how the Nazis treated the gay community, I can promise you that this politician would not behave like this in the House of Commons and dishonor our democratic structures. Isn’t it bizarre that Alan Turing was fighting for our freedoms, and yet his own freedoms and choices were taken away – and there are people amongst us that still continue to suffer from this historic injustice.

I sincerely hope our MPs in Doncaster will lobby the government to bring this bill back into parliament sooner rather than later so that we can abolish another strand of discrimination from our history books.

Though the really honorable thing to do is for parliament to apologise to the LGBT community for the injustices they were consigned to.

Doncaster is synonymous for its PRIDE festival, it's about time this Government restores that pride and honour to these victims.