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A Suitable Case for Treatment? Female homosexuality and psychiatry (1950s-1970s)

Event type
History of Sexuality
Event dates
, 5:15PM - 7:00PM
Online- via Zoom
Helen Spandler (University of Central Lancashire), Sarah Carr (University of Birmingham)
Email only

Female homosexuality, like male homosexuality, was officially classified as a mental disorder (“sexual deviation”) in the DSM (until 1973) and the WHO ICD (until 1992). Whilst we know some men were subjected to aversion therapy to ‘treat’ their sexuality in the 1950’s and 1960’s, little is known about the experiences of women in the psychiatric system during this time. This paper will present findings from a ‘bottom up’ LGBT archive study (funded by the Wellcome Trust). Whilst treatment for homosexuality was not a mainstream intervention for men or women, we did find that small numbers of women were subject to a range of ‘experimental’ treatments. This paper identifies the challenges we encountered conducting this research, and discusses some of the examples we found.

All welcome but registration is required, as capacity is limited.