11 Sept 2009

Killed by a disease called homosexuality?

Many may think that the sad suicide of Alan Turing in 1954 - two years after the eminent scientist was convicted of gross indecency with a man, labelled a homosexual, and forcibly given 'chemical castration' medications - belongs in an IT forum. I beg to differ!

Homosexuality was accepted as a mental disorder - and many a doctor and psychiatrist treated it as such under ICD-9 (which reigned until 1992). See APA Policy Statement 1987. So the world in 1952 was a dangerous place! Turing was given the 'option' of prison or 'chemical castration'. He opted for the latter.

Shame and humiliation, among other things, broke him. He committed suicide in 1954 by consuming an apple laced with cyanide.

The actions of the many and the powerful - facilitated by bias, ignorance and utter stupidity – robbed this world of Turing's genius.