Actor Benedict Cumberbatch has criticized attempts to turn gay people straight.In The Imitation Game
, Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County
) plays Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma machine code, which proved a turning point for the Allies in World War II.
In 1952, Turing was convicted of "indecency" for being gay and given the choice of going to prison or submitting to a form of chemical castration via estrogen hormone injections. He chose the latter.
Two years later, a 41-year-old Turing took his own life.
Speaking to The Daily Beast
to promote the upcoming film, Cumberbatch said it was "shocking" that efforts to alter a gay person's sexuality persist to this day.
"It's still going on in North America with the Christian far right!" he said. "There are courses and doctors and meds handed out to 'cure' people of their homosexuality, and it's shocking that it still goes on. It's also shocking that any time there's any kind of hardship, the minorities are immediately scapegoated – and that includes homosexuals in Russia, the Golden Dawn in Greece. The Golden Dawn came out of a financial crisis and people wanted answers, and the minute you start stirring up nationalistic feelings, minorities are the first people to get it because they're the easiest to scapegoat. It's terrifying."