PRIDE MONTH is upon us: join us as we celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, their struggle to be seen as equal and worthy, and the long road they have journeyed to claim their pride and rightful place in this world. Although engineering courses that Alan Turing would take pride in are easily available to anyone (of any gender or sexual orientation) in our country today, Mr. Turing would have himself struggled to enrol just a few decades ago simply because of who he was attracted to.

An important question before you read any further: are you proud of yourself?

I hope you are. We, as people, tend to be somewhat ruthless towards ourselves. If left unaddressed, our insecurities fester, directly influencing the way that we relate to and treat others. Knowledge, therefore, truly is power – through knowing yourself and being assured of who you are, you can connect with and come to understand others instead of fearing them.

Turing the Whole World Upside-Down

“I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future:

Turing believes machines think

Turing lies with men

Therefore machines do not think

Yours in distress,

– Alan Turing

Born in London on June 23rd, 1912, Alan Turing is primarily known for being a brilliant British mathematician and logician; for his vital role in breaking German codes during the Second World War (including the complex Enigma); for his significant contributions to numerous academic fields such as cryptanalysis, logic, and philosophy; and for being considered (by some) as the founding father of computing.

His seminal paper published in 1936 proved that there is no universal algorithmic method to establish truth in mathematics and that there will always be undecidable proportions. It is this work that is widely regarded as the base research for modern computer science and artificial intelligence.

Much like the work Turing was doing mathematically, his sexual orientation also lay outside of the conservative norms of his time – he was a queer person in a world that couldn’t see the undecidable proportions when it came to human sexuality. Despite all his contributions to the literal safety of his nation, Turing himself was not safe simply because of who he laid in bed with.

Homosexuality (and any other queer expressions of sexuality) was illegal in the United Kingdom in the early 1950’s and, following a break-in at Turing’s house, police discovered that the male perpetrator was Turing’s lover. Charged with gross misconduct, he was given the terrible choice between prison or hormone treatment – he opted for the latter.

The conviction resulted in Turing being barred from work even though he had undergone chemical castration. He died not too long afterwards due to cyanide poisoning. To this day, the veracity of it being a suicide as it was ruled is questionable. An accident or assassination seem more likely. 

This is why Pride Month is so important: it honours the memories of the oppressed who could not enjoy these hard-earned basic human rights and freedoms. It uplifts a downtrodden community through giving their cause righteous form by calling it “Pride”.

Claiming these terms for that which lies outside of definition (human sexuality) helps turn sex into a more approachable topic for all, hopefully leading to a more informed world; one where fear is replaced by understanding.

Engineering hat for engineering courses


“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”
– Alan Turing

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