…didn’t always believe that the only choice was between 1 and 0 and it ended up destroying him.
In January 1952, Turing met an unemployed 19-year-old named Arnold Murray outside a cinema in Manchester. After a lunch date, Turing invited Murray to spend the weekend with him at his house, an invitation which Murray accepted although he did not show up. The pair met again in Manchester the following Monday, when Murray agreed to accompany Turing to the latter’s house. A few weeks later Murray visited Turing’s house again, and apparently spent the night there.
After Murray helped an accomplice to break into Turing’s house, Turing reported the crime to the police and during the investigation acknowledged a sexual relationship with Murray. Homosexual acts were illegal in the United Kingdom at that time, and both were charged with gross indecency under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. Turing was given a choice between imprisonment or probation conditional on his agreement to undergo hormonal treatment designed to reduce libido. He accepted the option of treatment via injections of stilboestrol, a synthetic oestrogen; this treatment was continued for the course of one year. The treatment rendered Turing impotentand caused gynecomastia.
Turing’s conviction led to the removal of his security clearance, and barred him from continuing with his cryptographic consultancy for theGovernment Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British signals intelligence agency that had evolved from GCCS in 1946. At the time, there was acute public anxiety about homosexual entrapment of spies by Soviet agents, due to the recent exposure of the first two members of the Cambridge Five, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, as KGB double agents. Turing was never accused of espionage but, in common with all who had worked at Bletchley Park, was prevented from discussing his war work by the Official Secrets Act.