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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'
  • Audre Lorde
  • BBC
  • Bigotry
  • Brazil
  • Christian Institute
  • Christianity
  • Cinema
  • Conservative Party
  • Cuba
  • Donald Trump
  • Education
  • Evangelicals
  • Gay Marriage
  • Hate Groups
  • Homophobia
  • Homosexuality
  • India,
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Neo Nazis
  • Peter Tatchell
  • Section 28
  • South Africa
  • Transsexuals
  • United States
  • Pink Humanist editor BARRY DUKE reports THE man pictured above is Paul Dorr, a Christian extremist living in Ohio and an ardent devotee of Donald Trump. A few weeks back he inadvertently boosted the stock of gay-themed books at a his local library by posting a video on YouTube which
    Read More
    • Bigotry
    • Christianity
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality
  • IN SEPTEMBER, 2018, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, above, backed same-sex marriage. The Cuban leader, who took over from Raúl Castro on April 19, said he was in favour of recognising “marriage between people without any restrictions.” In an interview with TV Telesur, he said doing so was “part of eliminating
    Read More
    • Christianity
    • Cuba
    • Evangelicals
    • Gay Marriage
  • By ANDREW SPITZNAS WHAT a difference 150 years make! The former party of Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, stands behind a prison system that disproportionately shackles people of color and puts brown children in cages. The erstwhile party of Ulysses S Grant, a hero of Reconstruction who prosecuted the KKK and
    Read More
    • Donald Trump
    • Hate Groups
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality
    • Neo Nazis
    • Transsexuals
    • United States
  • Thirty years after the UK government banned local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexuality, TERRY SANDERSON reflects on the hysteria that prompted Section 28, the fear it caused and the backing religious fanatics gave it. Artwork by Vicky Boylan THE struggle for gay rights in this country over the past 50 years
    Read More
    • Conservative Party
    • Homophobia
    • Margaret Thatcher
    • Section 28
  •   SIMON Calvert, above, Deputy Director of the conservative UK advocacy group – the Christian Institute – has reacted angrily to the news that Scotland has become the first country in the world to embed LGBTI equality and inclusion in all state schools. Calvert was quoted by The Christian Post as saying
    Read More
    • Christian Institute
    • Education
    • Homophobia
  • MARCUS ROBINSON reports on Christian fascism's arrival in Brazil BRAZIL'S far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro, above – known as “the Trump of the Tropics”  – won a decisive victory in October’s presidential election, and when he takes office at the beginning of 2019 the country will, in the words of one commentator, will
    Read More
    • Brazil
    • Evangelicals
    • Homophobia
  • Human rights campaigner PETER TATCHELL takes courage from this landmark decision IN SEPTEMBER, 2018, India’s Supreme Court amended Section 377 of its penal code to decriminalise homosexuality. Peter Tatchell reacted by describing the ruling as “historic”, saying “it sets free from criminalisation almost one-fifth of the world’s gay people. That’s
    Read More
    • Homosexuality
    • India,
    • Peter Tatchell
  • EARLIER this year, a row broke out in South Africa following the release of a gay-themed movie called Inxeba (The Wound). Cinemas were forced to cancel screenings and among its detractors was musician Loyiso Bala, who said he wanted it banned. The singer took to Twitter to express his disapproval,
    Read More
    • Cinema
    • Homosexuality
    • South Africa
  • WHAT I like about BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives programme, writes CALLUM O'CONNOR, is that your get to hear erudite people discussing outstanding individuals – some dead, some very much still with us. One recent episode I particularly enjoyed was an examination of the life of Audre Lorde by Professor Laura
    Read More
    • Audre Lorde
    • BBC
  • ALAN SMITH reports GBENGA Samuel, a UK pastor, was the subject of the lead report on ITV News on November 12 about the extent of abuse suffered by members of the LGBT at the hands of Christian “pray-away-the gay” zealots .   Pastor Gbenga Samuel via YouTube The Winners’ Chapel pastor
    Read More
    • 'Gay Cures'
    • Homophobia
    • Homosexuality

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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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