Alan Turing

Pupils are taught about figures from history ­persecuted for their ­sexuality, such as wartime code breaker Alan Turing. Photo: National Portrait Gallery London

A north London school which has developed lessons on gay historical figures who suffered persecution claims to have succeeded in “more or less eliminating homophobic bullying” in its classrooms and playgrounds over the last five years.

The life story of the wartime code-breaker & computer pioneer Alan Turing is among those being used to tackle homophobia. Turing, a mathematician who cracked German codes in the second world war, was prosecuted in 1952 for his homosexuality, which was then a crime. He was forced to decide between prison and taking female hormones to reduce his libido, and chose the latter. An inquest into his death – two years after his prosecution – returned a verdict of suicide. Authors Oscar Wilde and James Baldwin and artist Andy Warhol also feature in the lessons.

Now Stoke Newington secondary plans to share the lessons with hundreds of primary and secondary school teachers. By the summer, it will have trained more than a hundred teachers in how to “educate and celebrate” being gay. Read on…

It is, sadly, highly doubtful if such lessons would ever be allowed to be taught in many American schools since, according to the influential religious right there, asking kids not to bully others into suicide is “pushing the gay agenda”.