Thursday 15 November 2012

LGBT History Month 2013 Prelaunch

After two years of sport the LGBT History Month organisers in the UK have decided to have science and technology as the theme for February 2013. This is in honour of Alan Turing, the father of computer science, whose centenary was celebrated this June.

The special pre-launch event for 2013 takes place tonight at the place where Turing conducted his most important, and secret, work – Bletchley Park. This is also the place where Noel Currer-Briggs worked as a cryptographer. He was a member of the team that cracked the Playfair cipher which helped Allied Forces in north Africa. After the war Noel became a noted genealogist and historian, particularly in the field of Huguenot ancestry, and he became a leading expert on the mysterious Turin Shroud. On leaving the army Noel became an advocate (though not necessarily an activist) for the acceptance of gay men in the army. The British army didn’t have the restriction of a “Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask” policy like the USA, and gay men were generally tolerated as long as their sexuality was kept out of army matters and private. This was a remarkable attitude bearing in mind that homosexuality was still illegal. Noel himself was gay, and he wrote a novel based on his experiences called “Yong Men at War”. Like most gay men of that era he decided to get married, though after accepting his sexuality the marriage ended.

I too will be celebrating next year and, like this year, will continue the theme beyond LGBT History Month itself. As well as continuing my Star Gayzing series (which is, sort of, about science) I’ll choose one specific scientific subject and use it as a theme for a month. February 2013 itself will be a mixture of all sciences.

At this stage I haven’t decided on a set list of which science will feature in which month, but I hope to cover as many as possible. At the moment my proposed sciences are (in alphabetical order) :
computer science,
inventors and inventions,
and zoology.

Some of the facts we will discover are :-
·         how to mix astrophysics with gay rights,
·         the other “father of the computer”,
·         blow up a storm on Mars,
·         the truth about the Apple computer logo,
·         meet the Earthquake Lady,
·         and why stuffing a dead chicken with snow can be hazardous to your health.

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