The American Psychiatric Association (APA) declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973.
A new documentary, Cured, is due to make its debut at the virtual edition of Outfest Los Angeles on 24 August.
Deadline reports that Cured will explore how the APA finally declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, something which an eyewitness in the documentary calls “the most important moment in gay liberation history”.
Cured was directed by Patrick Sammon, who directed Codebreaker, a documentary about the life of gay codebreaker Alan Turing, and Bennett Singer, who was a consulting producer for Codebreaker and has also produced documentaries like The Question of Equality, American Experience and All We’ve Got.
Cured explores the campaigns against the APA by queer communities through a mixture of archival footage and eyewitness testimony, with Dr. Charles Silverstein, an LGBTQ+ activist, explaining how they tried to be ‘cured’ of their sexuality because of the APA’s stance.
The documentary also examines methods used to try and ‘cure’ people of their queerness, as well as the role that John E. Fryer, the first American psychiatrist to come out as gay, played in the movement.
Fryer arrived at the APA’s 1972 conference under the name of Dr. Henry Anonymous, and wearing a mask and speaking through a voice distorter to conceal his identity, gave a speech at a panel titled’ Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to the Homosexual?; A Dialogue’ in which he spoke about gay psychiatrists who had to hide their identity.
It also looks at activist Ron Gold’s 1973 speech to a group of psychiatrists in which he stated “Stop it, you’re making me sick!”