ByLd Kristoffer J Chelidoni, writer at
Ld Kristoffer J Chelidoni

The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley alongside a talented cast, reflects upon the events during WWII as the British worked to crack ENIGMA.

It follows the life and events of Alan Turing who was a brilliant mathematician, lecturer at Cambridge, and the developer of the first computer. More importantly though, the film focuses on the treatment of homosexuals such as Turning during the turn of the century and well past World War II.

Up until the 1960s, homosexuality in many countries, including the UK and the US was considered deviant behavior, abhorrent and indecent. Regardless of who you were, your education, your family ties, to be a homosexual was to be a criminal. Even if you were, unbeknownst to many, the reason why the Allied Forces were able to turn the tide of war against Nazi Germany.

The film touches on this fact several times and in many ways, hinting at what would happen if Turing was discovered to be gay. All of his work would have been dismissed and it is possible that without the first Turing Machine, Nazi Germany would have won the war. Yet, after his efforts, he would be eventually discovered to be a homosexual, charged with social indescency, and forced to choose between prison or chemical castration. He, along with many other gay men during this period, suffered great social hardship while working for the betterment of their country. Choosing chemical castration, a process through which hormones are changed, Turing lost a losing battle as his mental faculties slowly drowned beneath depression and chemically induced hormonal imbalance. A year after starting his chemical castration and nearly completing a rebuild of the first computer, he committed suicide.

In 2013 Alan Turing was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth and granted a knighthood. The sad irony is that he died and was persecuted under laws that were indistinguishable from the laws set in place by the Nazi party as they persecuted millions of people. The very ideology which he and many other people fought and died to stop, was the ideology used to persecute him and many other gay men in the US and UK.

The Imitation Game is a brilliant period film that explores the depths of society and the brilliant efforts of one of World War II's greatest unsung heroes. It exemplifies the tragedy of Turing's life in an attempt to change our views of homosexuality and the individual. The retelling of his story serves as a reminder of our past efforts to preserve humanity in this day and age, where prejudice against the LGBTQ community is still rampant and new laws that resemble old ideologies thought to be long buried in the overgrown rubble of WWII are resurfacing each day.


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