Gay History 101: August 27, 2014

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Alan Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE

Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and mathematical biologist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Britain's code-breaking center. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. Winston Churchill said that Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany. Turing's pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in several crucial battles.

Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, when such acts were still criminalized in the UK. He accepted treatment with estrogen injections (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death a suicide. On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for "the appalling way he was treated." The Queen granted him a posthumous pardon on 24 December 2013.

DATES

In 1528 Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez made the earliest written account of effeminate Indians in Florida who “go about dressed as women and do women’s tasks.”

July 24, 2014 John Barrowman, actor and musician clasped the head of another man during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The openly gay Doctor Who actor hugged and kissed his male companion. It was an act that flew in the face of anti-homosexual legislation in 42 out of the 53 Commonwealth countries represented at the games.

SHOWBIZ

Philadelphia is a 1993 American drama film and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia. It was written by Ron Nyswaner, directed by Jonathan Demme and starred Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. Hanks won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role, while the song "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.


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