A nice confluence this week, gay pride in many cities and Alan Turing’s 100th birthday. Anyone paying attention knows by now that Turing was gay, persecuted, driven to suicide by some insane hormone treatment forced upon him. (Although there is room for doubt on intentional suicide). A tragedy, a powerful story about the importance of gay rights.

So today I’d like to honor Andrew Hodges, the author of the 1992 biography on Turing that talked explicitly about his personal life, his homosexuality. So much of gay history is hidden, whispered, unwritten things that are eventually forgotten. Hodges did a huge service for me and other gay nerds by researching, documenting, holding up Turing as a role model.

Here’s a lovely picture of Turing swimming in Sark. I particularly like this photo because it reminds me that Turing was not just a brilliant mathematician. He was also a young man who enjoyed skinny dipping, probably with other young men. It’s such a human moment for one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. A reminder of the importance of embracing all of a person’s life, not just their work.

And here’s a photo from today, the Turing statue in Manchester, an impromptu gay pride demonstration. It’s getting better.

  2012-06-23 18:50 Z