POZlife

POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

The Gay-Detecting Fruit Machine

Posted by pozlife on May 10, 2006


Slot MachineDuring
the 1950s and 1960s, some otherwise freedom-loving governments waged
secret wars against suspected homosexuals within their borders. During
those years, Canada’s campaign to eliminate all homosexuals from the
military, police, and the civil service was particularly broad and
unforgiving, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) compiling
files on over 9,000 suspected homosexuals. Reports indicate that the
RCMP created Security Service subsection A-3 in the 1950s, whose sole
purpose was the identification and dismissal of every gay person in
public service.

Perhaps the most disturbing element of their
campaign was a government-owned device known only as the “Fruit
Machine.” It resembled a dentist’s chair, but it also had various
sensors, a camera to monitor the pupils, and a black box situated in
front of the subject to display pictures. Subjects were told that the
machine was used for measuring stress, yet its purpose was something
else entirely; it was intended to identify whether the subject was gay.

A series of images would display on the monitor as the subject’s
pupils, perspiration level, and heart rate were monitored for
involuntary “erotic response.” Some images were mundane, while others
were sexually explicitly photos of men and women. If the machine
detected erotic response to certain images, the subject was assumed to
be a homosexual.

In
Britain, the term “fruit machine” is another term for the slot machines
used in gambling. Given the questionable science and unreliability at
work in Canada’s sinister fruit machine, theirs had more in common with
its British namesake than it did with any actual scientific measuring
devices. Yet the results of the fruit machine tests were used to fire
thousands of people over the years.

The fruit machine was in
use until the late 1960s when the government pulled all funding for the
project. However that did not mark the end of the efforts to remove
homosexuals from government service, and the RCMP continued to compile
dossiers on suspected gays for years. A similar device called a
plethysmograph, which connected directly to the subject’s genitals, was
used for similar purposes after the fruit machine was retired, but the
Canadian government eventually put a halt to the RCMP’s anti-homosexual
activities. Plethysmographs are still in use today in investigating
suspected pedophiles, but their accuracy is highly controversial.

Further reading:
Wikipedia article on the Fruit Machine
Wikipedia article on the plethysmograph

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