Visit 2 LGBT Memorials in Your Trip to Europe
By Izhar Alonso |
Discover the story behind 2 LGBT memorials in Europe: The LGBT Memorial, in Berlin, and the Alan Turing Memorial, in Manchester.
The LGBT community has gained visibility in the past few years. Achieving this has taken years of struggle and protests. Many times, they have ended in tragedy. However, such manifestations have become part of history and have inspired the creation of monuments to support people who are still fighting for equality. Among the most renowned monuments are the pink triangles, which are scattered around many cities, and memorials such as the one located next to the Monumental Cascade in Barcelona.
The LGBT community has gained the recognition of its rights and raised awareness of respect and tolerance. Thanks to this, there are more and more people who live the values represented by the rainbow flag freely and proudly. For this reason, DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, invites you to visit the following LGBT memorials in your next trip to Europe.
LGBT Memorial in Berlin
The Tiergarten is the most important park in Berlin and a great tourist attraction. It stands out due to its location in the same area as the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The latter was built in honor to the Jews that were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. It was until 1980 that homosexuals were also recognized as victims of Nazism. Therefore, in 2003, a monument was built in the Tiergarten in remembrance of homosexuals persecuted by Nazism. For this end, a contest was organized to choose the best idea. It was won by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
Project of the Memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted by the Nazi Government
Elmgreen and Dragset’s idea was very innovative. It consisted of a gray octahedron with a window through which people could watch a video of two men kissing. This upset the lesbian community since they didn’t feel represented by the monument. Therefore, it was agreed to change the video every two years for another one showing two women kissing.
The Last Homosexual Survivor of the Nazi Concentration Camps
The monument was inaugurated on May 27th , 2008. It is the third of its kind in Berlin. Rudolf Brazda, the last homosexual survivor of the Nazi concentration camps was a special guest at this event.
If you pay attention to the surroundings of the place where it is located: in front of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and close to the Memorial to Gypsy Victims of the Holocaust, the message becomes more evident: rejection of any kind of intolerance.
The Nearest Subway Station to the Memorial to Homosexuals
The nearest metro station to the Memorial to Homosexuals is Brandenburger Tor. Walk to the corner of Ebert Avenue and Hannah Arendt street. There, you’ll find the entrance to the Tiergarten, which is permanently open.
Alan Turing Memorial in Manchester
This memorial commemorates the life of a person who is very important for world history and LGBT history. We are talking about Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer scientist who was born in Paddington, in 1912.
Turing had a prosperous professional career. That’s why many people have named him the “father of computer science”. If this wasn’t enough, he also developed the Bombe, a machine that helped decipher secret messages created through Enigma, another machine used by Germany during World War II. Thanks to Turing’s invention, the Allies were able to prevent several Nazi attacks and save many lives.
Persecution and Death of Alan Turing
Despite his aid to humanity, things didn’t turn out well for Alan Turing. In 1952, his lover Arnold Murray and an accomplice broke into Alan’s house with the purpose of robbing him. Turing pressed charges against them, and admitted having sexual relations with Murray in his declaration. For this reason, the authorities accused Turing of “indecency and sexual perversion”.
The sentence for this crime could be incarceration or chemical castration with estrogens. Turing chose the latter and he suffered terrible physical and mental consequences. Finally, in 1954, he was found in his home holding an apple that had been poisoned with cyanide. They never knew whether he had committed suicide or if he had been murdered.
The United Kingdom Apologizes with Alan Turing
In 2009, the prime minister of the United Kingdom gave a speech in which he apologized to Alan Turing for being mistreated by the authorities. Even though this apology was posthumous, the gesture was very meaningful for the LGBT community. Moreover, in 2013, Queen Elizabeth II absolved Turing of all crimes. As a curious fact, it is said that the famous logo of Apple company was inspired by Turing.
Location of Alan Turing’s Memorial
This memorial is located in the Sackville Gardens, in Sackville Street and Canal Street. In order to get there, we recommend checking for available transportation on the day of your visit. You’ll recognize the sculpture quite easily. It represents Alan Turing sitting on a bench, holding an apple on his right hand. It also has an inscription written in what seems to be Enigma code and translates as “Founder of Computing Sciences”.