Podcast: The Historical Medicalization of Homosexuality & Transvestism


Author: Dr Tommy Dickinson. Produced by Simon Brown., last updated: 20th June 2015

In this podcast, Dr Tommy Dickinson of the University of Manchester, looks at the historical medicalization of homosexuality and transvestism. 

1. Introduction.
2. The impact of British Press in framing British perceptions.
3. European research into sexual pathology.
4. The emergence of 'sexology' in Britain.
5. The influence of Freud.
6. The impact of WW2 and the Cold War.
7. The Wolfenden Committee.
8. Chemical castration and aversion therapy.
9. A shift in public attitudes.
10. 1990 - the World Health Organisation removes homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Suggested Reading: 

Tommy Dickinson (2015) "Curing Queers": Mental
Nurses and their Patients  1935-1974. 

Peter Conrad & Joseph, W. Schneider (1992) Deviance and
Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness

Peter Price (2007) Pete Price: Namedropper 

Alkarim Jivani (1997) It's Not Unusual: A History of Lesbian
and Gay Britain in the Twentieth Century. 

About our Author: 

Dr Dickinson initially graduated as a Registered Nurse in 2001 and worked in clinical practice across the UK and Australia. In 2006, he moved into academia and initially held lectureships at the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Chester before commencing at The University of Manchester in 2013. His Doctorate examined the plight of men who were institutionalised in British mental hospitals to receive 'treatment' for homosexuality and transvestism, and the perceptions and actions of the men and women who nursed them. This led to numerous consultancies. Dr Dickinson was a Historical Advisor and Script Consultant to documentary drama "Britain's Greatest Code Breaker" (2011) and the documentary "Undercover Doctor: Cure Me, I'm Gay" (2014) with Dr Christian Jessen. Both consultancies were for Channel 4. He has advised on the redevelopment of the Medical Galleries at the Science Museum, London (2013) and The Manchester Museum's "Alan Turing and Life's Enigma: Exhibition" (2012). He has also written for "Gay Times" magazine and published in various academic journals.  His book "Curing Queers" was released in January 2015 and selected as "Book of the Week" by The Times and The Guardian.


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