Benedict Cumberbatch says he’d defend gay rights ‘to the death’

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In an interview with OUT magazine, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch has stated he would defend gay people “to the death”.

Benedict is set to star in The Imitation Game as the lead role Alan Turing. Gay World War II codebreaker Alan Turing was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 after having sex with a man, and was chemically castrated, barred from working for GCHQ, and eventually driven to suicide two years later in 1954.

Cumberbatch spoke passionately in defense of gay rights, telling Out magazine: “People are being beheaded in countries right now because of their beliefs or sexual orientations. It’s terrifying. It’s medieval — a beheading! I’d take up arms against someone who was telling me I had to believe in what they believed or they would kill me. I would fight them. I would fight them to the death. And, I believe, the older you get, you have to have an idea of what’s right or wrong. You can’t have unilateral tolerance. You have to have a point where you go, ‘Well, religious fundamentalism is wrong.’ ”

Cumberbatch added that the role he plays signifies that although we are moving in the right direction at present, “this could very easily happen again.” He said: “Human rights movements and sexual and gay rights movements have made huge social progress in the last 40 years, without a doubt, but there’s a lot more work to be done.”

The Sherlock actor also raised the issue of the fear of coming out in the industry, saying that: “We all know actors who are [gay] who don’t want to talk about it or bring it up, or who deny it”.

In the past he has stated that America needs a gay president and last year he conducted a civil partnership for one of his closest friends.

In 2009, after a campaign led by Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry and Peter Tatchell and supported by, the then prime minister Gordon Brown issue an apology for Turing’s treatment on behalf of the British government.

In December last year, the Queen granted the gay war hero Alan Turing a posthumous pardon.