Tag Archives: castration

Remembering Alan Turing: LGBTQ Pride Month 2015

7 Jun

Alan TuringIt was 61 years ago today that Alan Turing took his life. He was not able to see anyway out of the homophobic culture he had endured.  The irony is not lost that just two years ago the British government finally declared that Turing would no longer be considered a criminal for being gay.

Alan Turing was born in 1912. His teachers and family noticed his immense talent for mathematics early on, and he began a rigorous education. He became a fellow at King’s College at the age of 22 and began work on computation. His pioneering work earned him the title: Father of Computer Science. During the war, he worked for the British government as a code breaker. His methods helped crack critical German codes. Some have gone so far as to give him credit for Britain making it through the war without surrender. Turing’s contributions to computer science, cryptology, artificial intelligence, and mathematics are immense, and his gracious style made his ideas approachable, helping spark further innovation.

He was also gay. He was generally careful about this fact, given that any homosexual activity was still criminal in the United Kingdom, but he did have partners. In 1952, after reporting a break-in at his home, he admitted to the police that he was in a gay relationship with the other man living there. He was arrested charged with “gross indecency.” While he felt no guilt about simply being who he was, he pleaded guilty to avoid the negative publicity of a trial. He opted for injections of artificial estrogen — chemical castration — rather than go to prison.

The conviction revoked his security clearance and ruined his career. It kept him from travelling to the United States to expand on his work. It left him alone and bitter, his promising life in ruins at the age of 40 just because he wanted to live his life honestly. In 1954, he died of a cyanide overdose that was ruled suicide. What a pointless end to an amazing life and we must ask ourselves who is culpable–who has blood on their hands?  How do we learn from this tragedy and learn how to support our LGBT brothers and sisters?

While very well known in math and science circles, the scandal kept his work and life from greater renown. It wasn’t until 2009 that the British government — in a statement from Prime Minister Gordon Brown — apologized for what Brown aptly described as “appalling treatment.” (The Brits did better than the Catholic church, of course, with its habit of taking centuries to apologize for its legal abuses…) In the past four years, a bill has slowly worked through the parliamentary process to formally pardon Alan Turing. It appears poised to pass in October.

It will be wonderful for the charges against Turing to be formally erased. But his life cannot be returned. The amazing things his mind would have accomplished will never come to pass. The horrific impact of homophobia and abuse of power cannot be fully calculated or undone. Over 49,000 men were sentenced for the same crime in Britain — including Oscar Wilde — before the law was finally removed from the books.

There are still many countries with laws like this. There are still jurisdictions in our own country with laws like this. Let the dark example of Alan Turing be a call to action — every life deserves dignity, legalized oppression and discrimination must be stopped. In the end, Alan Turing was a victim, not a criminal. He does not need to be pardoned, the British government does, and this one positive step is simply not enough to wash the blood of thousands from its hands.

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Rape

28 Aug

The GOP Owns Your Vagina

Thank you to my friend JoAnna, a fierce advocate for oppressed voices, for inspiring me to write this article. Now that the Republican Platform includes Akin’s “Legitimate Rape” and the repeal of all rights gained by the LGBT community, Tom Smith (R), Senate Candidate from Pennsylvania, is just following his party’s platform when he adds his comments to the overwhelmingly misogynistic tea (Kool Aid). As reported in the Huffington Post, he believes:

Rape is like having a baby out of wedlock… although he condemns Akin’s comment, he agrees with Akin that abortion should be banned without any exceptions, including for rape and incest victims.

How is that disagreeing with Akin? He has been hanging around Romney and Ryan for too long.

I simply do not understand how any woman could vote Republican right now.  The party platform says specifically that they are going to try and overturn Roe v. Wade with their “personhood” amendment.  That “Rape is just like having a child out of wedlock,” “that women can’t get pregnant because of a ‘legitimate’ rape.”   How is this not a War on Women?

I would also beg the question as to how could any self respecting LGBTQ person vote Republican when it is now part of their platform and Romney signed a pledge to:

  • Support and send to the states a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  • Defend DOMA in court,
  • Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution,
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters,
  • Support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage.
  • Repeal all rights gained by the LGBTQ community.

Don’t fear, homos! My friend Jodi Sisson just notified me that Todd (I can’t even spell biology )Akin has hope for you: breast milk cures homosexuality! There’s some science for you.

They may call this the Republican Party, but let’s face it, this is a Fascist Party serving up some noxious tea. Their leadership is the greatest supporting argument for birth control I can think of.

My suggestion for all of these white purportedly heterosexual men wanting full control of every vagina in the land–get castrated!

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