There are a number of Chicago connections to the new film “The Imitation Game,” including screenwriter Graham Moore and the Nazi “Enigma” code machine on display at the Museum of Science & Industry.
But also there’s an important, permanent tribute here to Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who was the long-unknown man who broke the Nazi’s code — a key victory that helped win World War II for the Allies. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Turing in the film.
Chicago’s “Legacy Walk,” the outdoor museum in the Boystown area of Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood, was inspired by and is dedicated to Turing. As the Legacy Project’s executive director Victor Salvo points out, the Legacy Walk “was created to help LGBT youth — who are three times more likely to be bullied in school, and four times more likely to attempt suicide — by providing historically significant LGBT role models.”
Turing, considered a forerunner in the world of computer science, was a long-closeted gay man back when being gay was a crime in his native Britain. He commited suicide in the early 1950s after being hounded by authorities, admitting he was a homosexual, and convicted of “gross indecency,” and sentenced to chemical castration.
Chicago’s bronze memorial to Alan Turing is the only marker in the world that notes that the man who inspired “The Imitation Game” (opening Friday) was in fact gay.
The Legacy Walk also honors such well-known gay individuals as social justice advocate Jane Addams, civil rights pioneer Bayard Rustin, astronaut Sally Ride, composer Cole Porter, playwrights Lorraine Hansberry and Oscar Wilde, poet Walt Whitman, artist Frida Kahlo and U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan.