Opinion | The plea for gay repair


In 2009, the British government made an official apology in the footsteps of Spain to Alan Turing, the codebreaker from World War II, 57 years after he was sentenced to chemical castration for being gay. (Mr. Turing committed suicide two years later.) In his announcement, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "While Turing was being treated according to the law of the time and we cannot put the clock back, his treatment was of course completely unfair and I am glad that I have the chance to say how much I and all of us are sorry for what happened to him. "Turing's apology – and his subsequent grace in 2013 – was followed a few years later by a national pardon of thousands of gay & # 39 and bisexual men convicted of crimes under sexual abuse law. Such laws, which traditionally applied to men only in Britain, as in much of the English-speaking world, were used to condemn about 65,000 people.

In 2016, Germany announced that it would receive financial compensation from a fund of 30 million euros to anyone convicted under § 175, a provision in the German Penal Code used by the Nazi regime to homosexuals in concentration camps and that was still in the books until 1994. 140,000 people were reportedly arrested on the basis of paragraph 175, although in 2016 only about 5,000 were still alive. The government also promised to destroy the data of about 50,000 people imprisoned because of their sexual orientation.

Since 2017, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and several Australian states have apologized to gay and bisexual men and other members of the L.G.B.T. convicted of same-sex consensual activities before they were decriminalized and announced plans to remove the data from their convictions. The apology from Canada was preceded by a report written by the country's leading gay rights organization with systematic homophobia discrimination and was accompanied by a $ 85 million payment to the victims of the so-called gay purge, a policy of government-sanctioned discrimination that lasted until the 1990s and that led to thousands losing their jobs and facing persecution.

Certainly, the reason for gay repair in the United States is just as convincing, if not more, than in other Western democracies. President Executive Order 10450 of President Dwight Eisenhower, calling for the expulsion of homosexuals from all levels of the federal government, contributed to the & # 39; Lavender Scare & # 39; – the hunt for homosexuals throughout the federal bureaucracy, from the post office to the army and the diplomatic corps. It also heralded decades of initiatives, court rulings and laws that humiliated and demonized homosexuals – such as the Save Our Children campaign by Anita Bryant from 1977, in which homosexual men were portrayed as pedophiles; Bowers v. Hardwick, a Supreme Court ruling of 1986 in which sodomy laws were enforced at a time when most democratic nations were already dismantling such laws (that ruling would not be annulled until 2003); and "Do not Ask, Do not Tell", the infamous policy from 1993 that homosexuals could serve in the armed forces if they kept their sexual orientation secret. That policy alone was responsible for the dismissal of around 13,000 men and women, including doctors, fighter pilots and Arabic translators, by the time it was withdrawn in 2011.

But if history is a guideline, gay recovery stands for an upward struggle in the United States. After all, American society is still debating the merits of reparations for slavery. Although opinion polls show that the issue of gay rights is no longer shared by the American public, it remains an important fact for the Republican party. It is not surprising that social conservatives, who control the party's social agenda, have already attacked the idea. In 2010, radio show host Michael Medved said that "any gay repair campaign would fall flat because there is no evidence that today's homosexuals are the heirs of a long, bitter legacy of discrimination that spans generations." He added that unlike black people, homosexuals "exercise many choices about how publicly they want to embrace homosexual identity – or claim the status of a victim."