If the US military would remember the accomplishments of Alan Turing, maybe they'd realize that discharging those gay Arabic linguists is not such a good idea after all.

I'm just kidding, of course they wouldn't. I mean, he's British, for God's sake.
I'm tired of your homosexual agenda to corrupt our kids, Dan Savage!

But, seriously, you're right; that would never happen here.
I left the UK school system relatively recently and remember having a few lessons along these lines. They definitely help foster a more educated and open-minded atmosphere. And studying all the historical figures mentioned is educational in and of itself.
Gay people never accomplish anything worthwhile! It's only straight, Christian, white, Republican men that we need to teach our children about.
Surely the fact that pupils felt comfortable coming out will be used by assholes as evidence that teaching kids about famous gays makes them gay, though?
My reaction each time I think about the right wing is that they must live with such overwhelming fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of others. How else could you explain how someone who holds most of the cards (male, white, Christian--the majority) could be so threatened by that which is different from his own personal experience? To be successful, those people, and those congregations need to create an "us and them" mentality, and I guess (as Joy Behar said in her interview) it's not politically correct to say that about blacks or Jews, so the Christian right is left with gay people. Once that becomes politically impossible, they'll have to find another group to torment, as fundamentalist Christianity only functions through creating fear in its members.
Ignorance breeds fear, which often breeds violence. Ignorance is not stupidity. Stupidity most often can't be changed. Ignorance can be changed by exposure to different ideas, by knowledge. So the more we know, the less fearful we are, and the less likely to attack something we fear (e.g. ignorant evangelicals fearing teh gays).

I've told my kids that the people who have the desire/need to put other people down have very poor self-esteem. They think they can feel better about themselves by stepping on others. Bullies can be lumped into this category of self-haters.

I'm sorry, but what's exactly wrong with teaching about buttsex to five year-olds? Unless there's something inherently different about sex between consenting adults via vaginas? Someone please make a succinct explanation to me here.

I learned about sex when I was younger than five, and have always been grateful for it. It's just that we have this retard button that goes off in our brains that a perfectly normal and ok thing is fine for, say, a highschool kid to know about, but that somehow if a child does, it's "bad."

This is why so many supposedly upstanding and thoughtful atheists suddenly become drooling cowards -- they have children and run back to church with their tails between their legs.

Maybe I'm a fucked-up individual, maybe I'm not. I have a pretty awesome marriage right now, though, and I can assure you it's not because I wasn't told about shit when I was a kid.

Sadly this kind of educational approach has only been possible in the UK over the past 10 years or so since the repeal of Section 28, which, at the end of the eighties, banned what was described as the "promotion of homosexuality" in schools. It's a long road.

Ok, but making "Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story" mandatory reading for 5th graders is a bit much...don't you think?…
Manipulation through fear is the only effective way for authoritarianism to prosper.
Not ONLY was Turing a codebreaker who helped win WWII, he laid the foundations of contemporary computer science. Without him we might not be Slogging right now. He may also have committed suicide thanks to institutional homophobia (he was prosecuted for homosexual acts two years before his death and sentenced to chemical castration): he died from ingesting cyanide, which was self-administered (possibly accidentally, possibly not; circumstances point to not). Homophobia: it kills teens and geniuses.

@6: Fear of death, fear of Yahweh, fear or terrorists, fear of brown people, fear of one's lack of universal importance, etc. Actually, it makes a lot of sense: if one's at the top of the pyramid, one has the most to lose, and given what one had to do in order to get there (exploitation, backstabbing, etc.) and the fact that one's privilege makes one an obvious target, the living in continual fear is understandable. It's also a viscous cycle: because one's so terrified, one feels the need to cling to the privilege all the more strongly, lest the loss of even a little of it make one unable to protect against whatever certain doom one fears. Which leads to more fear, etc. It's really a sad, small existence. Of course, the insistence on fucking things up for everyone else displaces any pity I feel, but watching Tea Party rallies doesn't even make me angry, it just fills me with a sense of detached resignation. We shouldn't HAVE to be dealing with these people because the shit that they fear is so petty and meaningless (compared to, say, desertification, loss of freshwater, and endangered bee populations reducing our capacity for food production; we have enough real problems without inventing imaginary ones like "the gays will ruin society"), but we do and we might as well get on with it.
I'd love to see a movie made about Turing. Though I don't know if I could sit through it, it's one of the most heart breaking stories I've ever read in my life but more people NEED to know about it.
@8 That's just it: You learned about it early (as did I), so there isn't fear associated with sex, or descriptions of sex. If you give kids information early, I think it just gets processed along with all the other things they're learning. It's like we've said to kids, "well, you can learn about squirrels now, but chipmunks and badgers, well honey, THAT will have to wait until high school. Marmots will be something you have to wait to learn about on your wedding night." Uh huh. I have no idea why people attach so much baggage to different types of sex, or make value judgments. I do know, though, that it isn't just religious people, it's anyone who seeks to control their fear of the unknown by having control over their kids. I know people like that, who think that giving kids information is tantamount to giving them a permission slip. I have heard people who I had thought were normal, rational people say (in reaction to Ontario taking out the "learning about gays" portion of the new sex ed program for grade-school kids) "Well, I'm glad they stood up to that crazy idea...someone had to." As if less information is better than more information. It's ridiculous, and makes your head spin, and cuts down on the list of people you need to invite for dinner.
Education is always the answer. Religion never is.
@12 Exactly! Last paragraph nails it.
I'm an American married to a Brit and living in Britain, and in my limited experience they seem to have a very different cultural mindset about homosexuality. This certainly hasn't always been the case (as #9 pointed out) but they must have CHANGED - as a culture and a nation - their minds at some probably not very specific point in their recent history - which is AMAZING. I have two gay brothers-in-law and I have spent many drunken hours trying to explain why the gay rights movement in America is such a big deal, and why members of my family spend their time working for marriage equality. They think we're a backwards and benighted nation (not just 'cause we spend so much time fighting about sexuality, but partly), and it makes me think that someday we will also have that shift in cultural mindset. Someday gay American kids will think of marriage inequality as something archaic and bygone.
@12: Thank you! I keep hearing people talk about Turing and only mention his codebreaking work. Drives me crazy. It leaves the impression that he was some minor figure in history, working in the background, unknown to the world at large, instead of probably one of the most influential figures in history.
@8: SEX IS BAD. Period. That's why we need to "think of the children" and "protect" them from knowledge of and engaging in sexual acts. Because SEX IS EVIL AND WILL SEND YOU STRAIGHT TO HELL. If you learned about sex when you were less than five, you were clearly abused and your parents should be in jail. I dunno how we're supposed to stop fetuses from masturbating, though; maybe we can develop the technology to affix chastity devices in-utero.</ChristianSexualityFearmongerVoice>

Incidentally, this is also why we legally deny minors sexual agency, the absurdity of which is probably best exemplified by the recent rash of "sexting" cases, where minors are being prosecuted for producing and distributing "child pornography" of themselves (the justification being that they are somehow exploiting/abusing themselves, I guess).
@13 There was at least a TV movie about Turing staring Derek Jacobi.

Alan Turing is my hero!
@17 I can't help feeling (truthiness alert) that the public strength of the influence of Christianity is one reason for the difference. It's just not a part of public daily life in the UK these days like it is in the US. It's much more of a private matter. You don't tend to see bumper stickers proclaiming a belief in Jesus in the UK. One can happily exist as an atheist without ever being on the receiving end of the Christian finger of suspicion. Politicians in the UK do not attack each other by questioning their commitment to a Christian faith - it would be absurd and irrelevant and make the attacking opponent look plain silly - yet that's a campaign approach here. Furthermore, the nutty attitudes and behavior and views of the Christian religious right and the tea party leaders look quite loopy and irrational from a British perspective, but somehow their loopiness is given a kind of credibility here (even if that credibility is just airtime) in the US that the (tiny) equivalents in the UK struggle to achieve. I'm not sure why - news organizations are just as desperate for fodder in the UK as they are here.
If I were religious, this is the one thing that I would get down on my knees and thank God for: that my parents taught me exactly what I needed to know about sex when I needed to know about it, without fuss or muss. I won't say I don't have my issues (we all do, in some way or another) but seeing it as something scary, unhealthy and frightening isn't one of them... Early education is *absolutely* the key (to so many things, as well).
Thanks, both @18 and @12. Codebreaking is sexy. Founding an entire branch of study is sexier.
@21 Yes, I think you're on to something there. I'm reminded of a British show -- can't remember which -- I saw once where the daughter stammers and tries to admit something to her mother, and it's completely set up as one of those coming out scenes... except the daughter finally admits she's joined a church and her mother is horrified...
I wonder if there is a prepared homeschool curriculum for this? Anyone know?
@13. "Breaking the Code" would be one movie you'd find interesting then.
@24 - Are you thinking of AB FAB? That very scene did take place on that show. The mother (played by Jennifer Saunders) was devastated to know that her daughter wasn't actually "coming out," but rather joining a church. She would rather her daughter be gay. LOL
@27 That's it!

Anyway, I'd seen that article earlier this morning and it's great. But the entire country over here would have a complete aneurysm over this: "By the summer, it will have trained more than a hundred teachers in how to 'educate and celebrate' being gay."

But yes, I wish more people knew Alan Turing's story. I got the standard intro to Turing's machine and all that my computer science courses, and then imagine my delight when I looked him up and learned so much more... then my horror at what was done to him.
@25: Nearly parsed "homeschool" as "homosexual". Durr.
It tells me a great deal about the mindset of homophobes that virtually none of them seem capable of separating orientation from specific sex acts. Thus any lesbian is a "rug-muncher" and any gay man is a "butt puncher." It kind of blows their mind if you call straight men "rug-munchers" and "butt-punchers" in response - it's as if the VERY SAME ACT is somehow qualitatively different unless the genitalia match. It blows their minds even more to be told that not all lesbians eat pussy and not all gay men practice anal sex.

So the right-wingers can't allow little kids to be taught about gay people, because THEIR filthy minds leap straightaway to the sex acts about which they continually obsess.
Well, of course this idea would work in a place with a totally gay name like "Stoke Newington".
What an excellent project, props to them. More schools should be including this in their mandatory curriculum. is a project that has been running in British Columbia and also making a difference. Not just in the big cities but traveling to the small rural towns across the province combating homophobia.
Alan Turing was one of the greatest scientific/mathematic minds to have ever lived, and it's a shame that almost nobody knows much about him outside of the computer science world or lgbt history programs.
@33: Let's inform people on what "CAPTCHA" stands for!
It wont happen here, especially considering Texas is the state that dictates what goes into textbooks, and ultimately the curriculum of the rest of the nation.

I remember looking through my high school text book at the beginning of the year hoping for some mention of being gay, My People, and I found a whopping 4 sentence paragraph which basically amounted to "a bunch of uppity fags got angry in the 60's and now they got rights".

It's disgusting.
All the Turing fans should read Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. :-)
We currently have Women's History Month & African American History Month, why not have a Gay History Month?
But it won't happen the American Equality Bill is passed...but it's possible!

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