To celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), GCHQ is has illuminated its headquarters with the colours of the rainbow.
The “doughnut” in Cheltenham was lit up to promote awareness of IDAHOT, which is marked on 17 May to reflect the day in 1990 that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases.
Until the early 1990s, being openly gay was a bar to employment at GCHQ, the legacy of Bletchley Park and Alan Turing’s effort to keep Britain safe during the Second World War.
Turing’s nephew, Sir John Dermort Turing, expressed delight at the plan to illuminate the building in the colours of the rainbow, the symbol of the LGBT Rights movement and diversity.
Sir John said: “My uncle, Alan Turing, made a crucial contribution to the safety of the nation when he worked for GCHQ’s forerunner Bletchley Park, but due to society’s attitude at the time he was forced to hide his sexuality.
“It is important that that his successors at GCHQ today are free to be themselves and therefore bring their full potential and talents to such vital work.”
Robert Hannigan, GCHQ Director added to Sir John’s sentiments and said that the innovation that the service required was rooted in diversity.
“World-leading innovation in technology absolutely requires diversity,” he said.
“That was true for GCHQ when Alan Turing tackled Enigma for us and it is just as true today. I’m proud of our diverse and creative workforce.”