Thursday, 20 June 2024

Sexuality And Politics (Part 2)
THIS is the second and concluding part of a highly personal article, from South Derbyshire-based Liam Clarke. In the first part – – he warned of the dangers posed by both ‘left’ and ‘right’ – but particularly from the ‘extreme right’ who seem to feel that it’s impossible to be a gay patriot.
To demonstrate his point, he cited several examples – the most notable probably being Alexander the Great. Whilst Alexander had many wives, his greatest “beloved” was his male bodyguard, Hephaestion.
In this concluding article, Liam Clarke looks at another well-known gay patriot, Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954). Turing was the brilliant computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and theorectical biologist of Bletchley Park (Buckinghamshire) fame.

Queer Patriotism: From Alexander The Great To Turing And Beyond …

Alan Turing (1912 – 1954), founder of computer science, mathematician, code breaker, patriot … and gay.

It may seem strange that I mention these ancient figures when I am trying to condemn those who claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) people cannot be patriotic.  But do you not see the irony here?  All of these men are among the most revered and loved people in their respective nation’s histories.  They have become the very symbol of patriotism and national pride, yet all of them had great love for another man.  Alas, the point should be emphasised that the word “Homosexual” means attraction to people of the same sex, not someone who merely has in their mind that they want to explore the deepest most private insides of the same gender!

Perhaps then, after these heroic and legendary figures we must turn our attention to the slightly more obscure.  Now, without wanting to bore readers to death I’d like to discuss, perhaps the most upsetting story relating to the overall subject of sexuality and patriotism.  Have you ever looked at your iPod, or MacBookand seen the symbol for one of the world’s most prosperous businesses?  Take a look, because, as one theory claims, behind the Apple symbol lies a very poignant story (1).

Sculpture of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire. It was from here that Turing helped to break the Enigma code used by National Socialist Germany.

The Second World War lasted from 1939-1945.  Some analysts say it might have lasted much longer if not for the genius and talent of one man and his team.  Alan Turing was a maths genius.  Together with his team, he invented the world’s first ever automatic computer (2 – 3).  With this he cracked the infamous Enigma code that the Nazi’s were using.

After the war, Churchill recieved a Knighthood, honarary citizenship of the US and numerous statues of him have been erected around the world.  I agree that he probably deserved all this.  However, what Turing achieved – compared to what Churchill achieved – is completely different but equally as great.  This is worth thinking about.  How many lives did Turing (the gay man with his side parting and the brain of a genius) save?
But what was Turing’s reward?  First, the threat of prison and later, suicide.  I believe that – in 1952 – Turing was harrased by police and threatened with imprisoned for ‘perversion.’ This was (and still is) an age old term for being gay.  Later (in 1954) he was driven to suicide because of his love for another man.  But I don’t believe that he died a coward.  His suicide was akin to sticking two fingers up to the system as (it’s believed) he bit into a cyanide-laced apple replicating the story of Snow White. This was after he recieved hormone treatment to make him more ‘manly.’
All of the men that I’ve mentioned did something great for their nations.  It could be said that their lives were shaped by a love of their nation and the wish to see them  strong, prosperous and great.  The success they had was not because of their love of people of the same sex – but neither was it a hinderence.  Both ‘left’ and ‘right’ make Homosexuality a big issue, but it shouldnt be.  Sexuality is what makes people who they are.  It gives them their character.  And even when some of these men were persecuted for the way they were born, they stood by their flag, their fellow countrymen and women and their nation.  Who they loved shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but it was for the love of their nation that puts them in the history books as some of the greatest men to have ever lived.  And believe me, I think that there will be many, many more.


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