People with the genius to become great scientists and engineers are a rare breed—but one that bridges all divides of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Yesterday, as part of the UK’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) History Month, we were proud to host a gathering in honour of one such exceptional person: Alan Turing.

Turing deserves to be remembered not just as a codebreaking hero and computing pioneer, but also as an important historical figure in the LGBT community. Courageously, he strived to live as an openly gay man in an era of horrendous discrimination. As our centenary tribute put it:
Turing’s life was one of astounding highs and devastating lows. While his wartime codebreaking saved thousands of lives, his own life was destroyed when he was convicted for homosexuality. But the tragedy of his story should not overshadow his legacy. Turing’s insight laid the foundations of the computer age. It’s no exaggeration to say he’s a founding father of every computer and Internet company today.

Gatherings such as this are helpful, in providing a forum for networking within the LGBT community, as well as spotlighting the achievements of LGBT forebears. But more important is what they have the potential to catalyse: a sharing of stories, leading to a strengthened sense of unity and support. We hope that connections forged at last night’s gathering will have, like Turing’s work, a long-lasting impact.