Belfast Telegraph

Cumberbatch: Homophobia is shocking

Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about why he is appalled by homophobic culture and the mistreatment of minorities.

The 38-year-old actor depicts Alan Turing in new historical biopic, The Imitation Game. Alan was an openly gay British mathematician who is credited with ending World War II after cracking the Nazi’s nearly indecipherable military code, but he subsequently died at the age of 41 in 1954 from cyanide poisoning.

Alan was prosecuted for homosexuality in the UK in 1952 and he accepted oestrogen injections as punishment for the crime, a practice Benedict thinks is beyond reprehensible.

“And it’s still going on in North America with the Christian far right! There are courses and doctors and meds handed out to ‘cure’ people of their homosexuality, and it’s shocking that it still goes on,” he lamented to The Daily Beast.

“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.”

But Benedict has hope the world will turn a corner culturally.

He believes it’s now apparent most of society is no longer interested in divisiveness.

“It’s interesting: Outsiders are becoming mainstream. That’s the truth,” Benedict said. “You see it in culture, as well. Bryan Singer’s X-Men series is an entire celebration of what oppressed minorities are capable of. I think that’s a really healthy thing that’s happening in our culture. We have a lot more unlikely heroes now. It’s not just the guy with guns—it’s the guy with brains.”

The Imitation Game will be released in the US and UK this November.

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