via Huffington Post
After portraying war hero Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch has joined the call in England for overturning the so-called "indecency" convictions handed down to gay men like Turing.
Turing, you may recall, was a computer scientist and mathematician who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma machine World War II, leading to the Allied victory. Turing was also gay, and in 1952 was prosecuted for being gay under Great Britain’s indecency laws; instead of being imprisoned for his "crime," Turing chose chemical castration.
Alan Turing died two years later; and nearly sixty years after that, in 2013, his "crime" was pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II.
After a recent screening of The Imitation Game comedian Stephen Fry started the call to pardon the thousands other gay men who were convicted under the indecency laws, and Cumberbatch agreed:
"Alan Turing was not only prosecuted, but quite arguably persuaded to end his own life early, by a society who called him a criminal for simply seeking out the love he deserved, as all human beings do. Sixty years later that same government claimed to ‘forgive’ him by pardoning him. I find this deplorable, because Turing’s actions did not warrant forgiveness — theirs did — and the 49,000 other prosecuted men deserve the same."
Cumberbatch is right, though, when he says these men, like Turing, do not need to be forgiven for being gay; the government of England needs to ask for their forgiveness — at least of the 15,000 men still alive today who were convicted under this archaic law — and pardon every last one of them.
New ads for The Imitation Game — nominated nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture — appeared this week, highlighting the plight of Alan Turing and the “other 49,000”:
“Honor this movie. Honor this man. And honor the movement to bring justice.”
“The apology and pardon of Alan Turing are to be welcomed but ignores over 49,000 men who were convicted under the same law, many of whom took their own lives. An estimated 15,000 men are believed to still be alive. The UK’s homophobic laws made the lives of generations of gay and bisexual men intolerable. It is up to young leaders of today including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to acknowledge this mark on our history and not allow it to stand.”
In a sad side note: Prince William and Catherine have opted not to publicly support the campaign to pardon these thousands of men because as a palace spokesperson explained that the royal family felt as if the issue was a purely governmental affair and that they had no place in the discussion.
Some say it was less about that, and more about the royal’s decision to distance themselves from this particular campaign because of the less high-profile men who would be exonerated.
I guess if you were imprisoned for being gay but weren’t a war hero, but just a regular bloke, the royals don’t give a fig for you.
Hopefully, without the help of these fools, the movement will keep on and men punished simply for being who there were, and are, and simply for loving who they loved, will one day no longer be considered criminals.
Can’t say that for the royals, though.