GCHQ spy agency advertises jobs for gay codebreakers

WWII codebreaker Alan Turing

Britain’s biggest spy agency is advertising for LGBT codebreakers, 64 years after Alan Turing was tormented to death for being gay.

Intelligence agency GCHQ has taken out an advertisement in the Pride issue of gay magazine Fyne Times.

In an attempt to attract queer and trans applicants, the advert reads: “Alternative perspectives spark the innovative thinking needed to achieve our mission. You can see things differently. So we can flourish.”

(GCHQ is looking for gay codebreakers in its Cheltenham offices.)

It continues: “By recognising the value of individual differences, GCHQ enables everyone to give their best, so that we can stay one step ahead of the adversaries.”

The advert says its jobs are usually based in its headquarters in Cheltenham. To apply for a position visit www.gchq-careers.co.uk.

GCHQ has been named one of Stonewall’s 100 top LGBT employers in the UK. Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index is an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and trans staff.

(GCHQ was listed on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.)

But equality wasn’t always so welcomed at the spy agency. During the Second World, War Alan Turing cracked the code to the Enigma machine while working at GCHQ, but was driven to death because he was gay.

Turing, one of the world’s most famous codebreakers, was pardoned for previous offences that criminalised his homosexuality, in 2013 by the Queen.

The Queen pardoned Alan Turing in 2013. (Chris Jackson/Getty)

The pardon would become a model for the Alan Turing Law, contained in the Policing and Crime Bill, which was established in 2017.

Under the law, posthumous pardons were given to more than 50,000 men who were previously convicted of homosexuality crimes that no longer exist. In addition, 15,000 living men who were found guilty of sexual acts that are no longer illegal can apply to the Home Office for a pardon.