Holding Out for a Gay Hero: Are we bucking the cinematic miserable-queers trope at last?

As author Michael Musto says, "Cinema’s track record in handling gay issues has been splotchier than a twink on a high-gluten diet." 

Good news arrives this week with the premiere of The Imitation Game. The film features Benedict Cumberbatch as a real-life gay hero: Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who famously broke the Enigma code and, in the process, helped bring about the end of World War II. Winston Churchill later said Turing made the single greatest contribution of anyone when it came to defeating the Nazis.

That’s pretty major, though this isn’t totally a feel-good story. The man who knew secrets had his own, since this wasn’t exactly a time for Pride parades and Drag Race reunions. In fact, Turing (who was socially awkward to an extreme) was prosecuted for homosexuality, suffered chemical castration as a punishment, and was found dead in 1954 in an apparent suicide. It wasn’t until last December that Queen Elizabeth II pardoned him for his transgressions. (Mighty white of her.) But still: He was gay! And a hero! And they made a movie about him! Read More