Oppression and suppression of the sexual deviant, 1939–1967
in ‘Curing queers’
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This chapter draws upon publications within the medical press and news media, along with literary, film, legal and sociological depictions of homosexuality. It explores the complex social and cultural climate in which the homosexuals, transvestites and mental nurses were living from the 1930s to the 1960s. In the treatment of sexual deviants two powerful conditioned stimuli were used: chemical and electrical. Most noteworthy in relation to the treatments developed for sexual deviation, was the work of Ivan Pavlov, who developed the theory of 'classical conditioning'. The pathological, psychological and psychoanalytical interpretations and analysis of homosexuality can be seen to be appearing on both sides of the Atlantic during World War II. John Costello argues that the British military authorities did take homosexuality seriously. Roger Davidson argues that some of the fullest and most compelling evidence to the Wolfenden Committee in favour of homosexual law reform came from medical witnesses.

‘Curing queers’

Mental nurses and their patients, 1935–74

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