Gordon issues apology

LONDON — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology to World War II hero Alan Turing on Sept. 10, addressing the treatment Turing received after being convicted of indecency charges.

Turing helped to crack German Enigma codes during the war. In his apology, Brown said the outcome of the war would have been quite different if not for Turing’s “outstanding contribution.”

Apologizing on behalf of the government, Brown said that while it is impossible to turn back the clock, it is clear Turing’s conviction and subsequent treatment were immoral. After his conviction in 1952, Turing was forced to undergo chemical castration. Only two years later, Turing, 41, killed himself.

In a statement, Brown read, “Turing was a quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely.”

The official apology was prompted by a petition signed by almost 31,000 citizens.

— by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

Running champ is intersexed

MONTE CARLO — A gender test given to a South African running champion has determined the youth is both male and female, according to several reports from international media.

Caster Semenya, who won a gold medal at the World Track and Field Championships in Berlin in August, is intersexed, with both male and female organs. The 18-year-old athlete has no womb or ovaries and her testosterone levels are tested three times that of a normal female.

Her victory at the world championships resulted in complaints about her gender and fueled accusations of cheating. IAAF officials said the test was ordered to determine what Semenya had called a “medical condition,” despite earlier reports that said a test was issued to examine a possible past sex change operation, CBS News reported.

The results were released on Sept. 11, but officials with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) say a decision in the case will not be made until the IAAF Council meets in Monaco Nov. 20-21.

— M.C.

Bias in sports addressed

LONDON — Trade Unions met in Liverpool on Sept. 16 to join the fight against homophobia in sport. Supported by the Liverpool Football Club, the Trade Union Congress’ (TUC) LGBT committee met during the TUC’s annual meeting at the BT Convention Centre.

“While there have been big advances in LGBT equality over the past 10 years, professional sport remains one of the last bastions of homophobia and transphobia,” TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said. “There are hundreds of LGBT professional sportsmen and women, but due to the extreme prejudice that exists in sport the majority are unable to reveal their sexuality for fear of discrimination or attack.”

Barber added, “Unions are now joining the campaign to rid sport of this bigotry and intolerance, so that sportsmen and women no longer face harassment, intimidation, ridicule, violence or ostracism simply because of their sexuality.”

Those at the meeting discussed how to tackle the homophobia and transphobia preventing LGBT sportspeople from coming out, and anti-gay prejudice that continues in sport despite the several legal changes in the last decade.

Football Association spokesmen Mark Hardcastle and Dave Raval, as well as Professional Footballers’ Association representative Simone Pound, addressed the meeting, which was open to the public.

Pound, senior executive of equality at the players’ union, said last month: “As a union we take the human rights issue very seriously and will adopt a zero tolerance policy to any form of bigotry.”

Chief executive Gordon Taylor has said that the Professional Footballers Association has a zero tolerance policy in all areas of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice.

“As an organisation we are committed to tackling the issue of homophobia in the game, we are working with KIO (Kick It Out) and The FA on an anti-homophobia campaign that will tackle the issue head-on and I hope, be as successful as our anti-racism campaigns.”

— by Andy Harley . UKGayNews.org

African province blesses gays

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — In a move that will likely further divide the worldwide Anglican Communion, the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town has decided to support same-sex couples in “covenanted partnerships.”

The South African diocese — which includes bishops from the nations of South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and and Namibia — passed a resolution allowing those bishops to provide pastoral guidance to gay and lesbian parishioners in committed relationships. The move is in stark contrast to the anti-gay actions taken by many other African nations and religious organizations.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said the resolution was “an important first step to saying: ‘Lord, how do we do ministry in this context?’ I’m a developmental person. I don’t believe in big bangs. If you throw a little pebble into water, it sends out concentric circles and hopefully that way change comes from that.”

The Anglican Communion, whose various churches trace their roots to the Church of England, has not approved or blessed same-sex partnerships or marriages. The pro-gay stances of the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada has prompted a worldwide debate on the matter. Some bishops have said the disagreement has turned from simple debate to schism. At least 22 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada have split with their national Anglican churches.

— M.C.