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Below are all the articles contained in the latest issue of The Pink Humanist with links added.
If you have found The Pink Humanist a good read, please consider making a donation to its publisher to help keep it going.
  • All
  • 'Gay Cures'
  • Alan Turing
  • America
  • Australia
  • Bermuda,
  • David Walliams,
  • Equality
  • Homophobia
  • Homosexuality
  • Human Rights
  • Judaism,
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Peter Tatchell
  • Reparative Therapy
  • Steven Anderson,
  • Terry Sanderson
  • Transsexuals
  • Trump
  • The Commonwealth Secretariat has been presented with proposals to put LGBT+ equality on the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which will take place in the UK in April, according to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. Photo: Peter Tatchell Foundation CHOGM leaders have previously always refused
    Read More
    • Equality
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality
    • Human Rights
    • Peter Tatchell
  • SCOTT DOUGLAS JACOBSEN speaks to TERRY SANDERSON, President of the UK’s National Secular Society, who is undergoing treatment for cancer. The interview was first published by The Canadian Atheist last October, and is republished with consent. TERRY Sanderson is the President of the National Secular Society – a British campaigning organization
    Read More
    • Terry Sanderson
  •   ABOVE is one of a number of posters that began appearing in Australia last year as the country prepared to hold a plebiscite asking citizens whether or not to legalise gay marriage. The main campaigner against a yes vote was the Coalition for Marriage, which used outlandish scare tactics
    Read More
    • Australia
    • Homophobia
  • AMERICA’s Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation in January 2018 of a new and “dangerous” division of the Office of Civil Rights that will allow healthcare providers to deny care to LGBT people and pregnant women based on their religious beliefs. The office, according to a report
    Read More
    • America
    • Homophobia
    • Trump
  • IN JULY last year Israeli Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu sparked outrage when he suggested that gay people were terrorists. He told Army Radio: “We will not allow Israel to become LGBTistan. There is LGBT terror, which forces the system to do what it views as being against healthy thinking. To say
    Read More
    • 'Gay Cures'
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality
    • Judaism,
    • Reparative Therapy
  • WHEN it was announced last year that a “secular temple” devoted to Oscar Wilde had opened in the basement of a New York church, the Telegraph reported that the project – 20 years in the making by American artists David McDermott and Peter McGough – had been created “to honour a trailblazer
    Read More
    • Alan Turing
    • Oscar Wilde
  • WHEN David Walliams – best known for his appearances in the TV show Little Britain and most recently as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent – published his first children’s book, The Boy in the Dress, in 2008 Christian reviewers lost no time on excoriating him for promoting transvestism and transgenderism. For
    Read More
    • David Walliams,
    • Homophobia
    • Transsexuals
  • IN AN astonishing about-turn, Bermuda – a British Overseas Territory – voted last December 13 to reverse gay marriage legislation just six months after the Supreme Court ordered the introduction same-sex unions. The Government replaced it with a Domestic Partnership Act. The reversal came after pressure was put on lawmakers by anti-gay
    Read More
    • Bermuda,
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality
  • PASTOR Steven Anderson, of Arizona’s Faithful Word Baptist Church – notorious for his aggressive incitements to anti-gay violence – was just about to travel to Jamaica when he got news on January 29 that officials has denied him entry. He had earlier announced that he would be travelling to Jamaica to recruit
    Read More
    • Homophobia
    • Steven Anderson,

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The Pink Humanist is a 16-page quarterly magazine launched by the PINK TRIANGLE TRUST in 2011 and edited by veteran gay journalist and photographer, Barry Duke, who lives in Benidorm on Spain's Costa Blanca.

The Pink Triangle Trust was established as a UK registered charity in 1992 – and is the only charity of its kind in the UK.

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Britain's Greatest Codebreaker

 

Turingcopy

CHANNEL 4’s airing of the docudrama Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker on 21 November marked an early start to the Alan Turing Year, 2012, during which a series of events are planned to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth on 23 June 1912.

The film tells Alan Turing’s story using three interwoven strands. One is the authoritative-sounding voice of an off-screen narrator (spoken by Paul McGann). The second is a series of talking heads – people with a particular insight into some part of Turing’s life or work. The third is a sequence of dramatised interviews between Turing (played by Ed Stoppard) and his psychotherapist Franz Greenbaum (played by Henry Goodman).

It is this third strand that puts the drama into the drama documentary. During the last eighteen months or so of his life, Alan Turing did actually consult a Jungian psychoanalyst called Franz Greenbaum, who became a personal friend as well as professional therapist. However, we know almost nothing of what passed between them beyond the fact that Greenbaum asked Turing to write down the content of his dreams, which he did (although the notebooks were destroyed following his death). The dialogue in the film is instead a dramatic device to enable Turing to contribute directly to telling the narrative. But its substance is largely based on the historical record as collated by Andrew Hodges in his groundbreaking 1983 biography Alan Turing: the Enigma – at least for the first half of the film.

The talking heads represent a variety of perspectives. They include several academics from different fields (one of whom, Ian Stewart at the University of Warwick, taught me the Foundations of Mathematics 40 years ago). There are some surviving veterans of the wartime codebreaking activities at Bletchley Park (Asa Briggs, Jean Valentine, Rolf Noskwith). There is David Leavitt, the author of a more recent Turing biography, The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer (2006). There is Tony Sale, who made a colossal contribution to the modern preservation of Bletchley Park until his recent death, There is Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc. (whose logo, incidentally, is not based on Alan Turing’s apple as urban legend would have it). Perhaps most interesting of all, there are Franz Greenbaum’s daughters Maria and Barbara, two of the few remaining people who were close to Alan Turing.

A programme lasting just over an hour (discounting commercial breaks) could not hope to cover every significant aspect of Alan Turing’s life, or indeed to cover any aspect of it in depth. The film provides a quick run through, stopping at most of the important milestones – the teenage death of his school friend Christopher Morcom, his seminal paper On Computable Numbers, his codebreaking achievements at Bletchley Park, the Turing Test, his work on early electronic computers at Manchester, his investigations into morphogenesis, his conviction for having sex with another man.

Nearly half of the film is devoted to the last two and a half years of his life, from his fateful first encounter with Arnold Murray in Manchester towards the end of 1951 to his suicide in June 1954. At this point the story becomes more speculative. The film espouses the now popular theory that Alan Turing’s death was a direct consequence of his treatment by the state authorities, particularly the treatment with female sex hormones that he had to endure for a year after his conviction in order to avoid a prison sentence. The theory gained popularity following the publication of David Leavitt’s biography at the start of 2006. But the two biographers are at odds on this. Andrew Hodges wrote in his review of David Leavitt’s book that: “Leavitt’s focus [...] is on Turing as the gay outsider, driven to his death. No opportunity is lost to highlight this subtext.” And: “This is no groundbreaking book, nor does it do much hoeing or weeding. It is a survey of a field long cultivated by other hands, devoid of new witnesses.” It may be significant, then, that David Leavitt plays a substantial role in the film, visiting various locations and effectively acting as an additional narrator, while Andrew Hodges – the acknowledged expert on Turing – is not to be seen, either on the screen or in the credits.

Nonetheless, despite its speculative aspects, the programme is well worth watching and Channel 4 is to be congratulated on showing it in prime time.

Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker is the first major new film for over a decade to focus on the life of Alan Turing, following the documentary The Strange Life And Death Of Dr Turing shown on BBC2 in March 1992 and the television adaptation of Hugh Whitemore’s 1986 play Breaking the Code shown on BBC1 in February 1997. It may not be the last. Warner Bros. were recently reported to have acquired the script for a proposed new film provisionally titled The Imitation Game (Alan Turing’s name for what we now call the Turing Test) in “a 7-figure deal”, with a view to Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead role. It’s rumoured that they hope to persuade David Yates – Britain’s most commercially successful film director thanks to Harry Potter – to direct it.

Brett Humphreys

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