Trailer 1: George Montague
Trailer 2: Steve Close

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After a decade of attempts to reform British law, a new bill in Parliament to expunge the records of many men convicted under the 1885 law that criminalized male homosexual acts as “gross indecency,” was passed.

Forgetting the Many: The Royal Pardon of Alan Turing, is the story of that long struggle. A wave of post-WWII prosecutions caught thousands, including the brilliant World War II computer pioneer  and code-breaker Alan Turing. In 1967, a new Sexual Offenses Act partly decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults in  England and Wales.

Full decriminalization was not enacted until 2003, when the 1885 law was finally repealed. But neither of these reforms expunged the criminal records of those convicted under the old law. In 2009, however, then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a posthumous apology to Turing, and in 2013 the Queen pardoned him, posthumously expunging his conviction.

In 2017, a new Policing and Crime Act-with an amendment popularly known as Turing’s Law-automatically pardoned all those convicted under the gross indecency legislation who had already died, but left the surviving victims in a legal limbo, with their convictions still standing. But an amendment to the 2022 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, now law, will widen the range of homosexual offenses eligible for a disregard and pardon and at last allow all men convicted of consenting same-sex behavior with a person aged 16 or over, where the acts are no longer an offense, to apply to have their convictions disregarded and removed from the records. However, some men remain ineligible because their offenses are still crimes.