Search results

You are looking at 1 - 8 of 8 items for :

  • "sexual deviations" x
  • Manchester History of Medicine x
Clear All
Abstract only
Mental nurses and their patients, 1935–74

Anecdotal evidence of the testimonies of patients who received treatments for sexual deviations and medical attitudes towards them are scattered in the recorded accounts of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex and queer/questioning (GLBTIQ) people. This book examines 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. It explores why the majority of the nurses followed orders in administering the treatment - in spite of the zero success-rate in 'straightening out' queer men - but also why a small number surreptitiously defied their superiors by engaging in fascinating subversive behaviours. The book is specifically about the treatments developed for sexual deviations in the UK. Transvestism was also treated fairly widely; however, not to the same extent as homosexuality. After an examination of the oppression and suppression of the sexual deviant, the introduction of aversion therapies for sexual deviance is considered. During the 1930s-1950s, mental health care witnessed a spirit of 'therapeutic optimism' as new somatic treatments and therapies were introduced in mental hospitals. The book also examines the impact these had on the role of mental nurses and explores how such treatments may have essentially normalised nurses to implement painful and distressing 'therapeutic' interventions . The book interprets the testimonies of these 'subversive nurses'. Finally, it explores the inception of 'nurse therapists' and discusses their role in administering aversion therapy.

Abstract only

Concluding remarks It is fairly clear that the nurses in this study did not deliberately set out to inflict pain and distress on homosexuals and transvestites in their care. A variety of circumstantial factors provided momentum for the development and implementation of medical ‘treatments’ to ‘cure’ these individuals. The medicalisation of sexual deviation can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. However, World War II appears to have been a critical point in this medicalisation. In spite of the war exposing the British to different and more liberal

in ‘Curing queers’
Abstract only

’.7 What Percival had agreed to was to undergo aversion therapy in a bid to cure him of his homosexuality. The behaviour of the police officer was not unusual and entrapment by undercover police officers during the 1950s and 1960s was common practice.8 Nurses were frequently involved in administering aversion therapies to cure such individuals of what were seen as their ‘sexual deviations’.9 The heart of this book is primarily focused on such characters and narratives, which will be used as a way of interrogating questions of experience, motivation, feeling and

in ‘Curing queers’

have any real knowledge to base this practice on . . . not like you have now: my granddaughter is a nursing student and is trained to ‘question practice’ [laughs], even doctors! My god! You would never do that in my day, you would not have dared. They had overall superior knowledge. [. . .] We did what they said, because they could not possibly have been wrong.1 Introduction The motivations of the majority of nurses in this study to administer treatments for sexual deviation appeared to rest on the notion of obedience to authority. Some nurses sensed that there was

in ‘Curing queers’

1 Oppression and suppression of the sexual deviant, 1939–1967 I would sometimes question the treatments we were giving. [. . .] Then I would get home and turn on the television [. . .] and all over it was either ‘homosexuals should be accepted’, or ‘homosexuality is illegal, it is wrong, these people are irredeemable.’ And thank goodness; ‘psychiatry is trying to do something about it.’ [. . .] I just didn’t know who was right and what was wrong, it left me very perplexed.1 Introduction Nurses caring for patients receiving treatments for sexual deviations

in ‘Curing queers’

confines of the new Act remained the subject of ‘social opprobrium and regulatory intervention’.21 It is important to note that the 1967 Sexual Offences Act and the new legal climate it supposedly opened up did not appear to have a radical effect on reducing the numbers of patients being referred for  treatment of their sexual deviations. One rationale for this is because the recorded incidence of indecency between men in public actually doubled between 1967 and 1977.22 This offers a context to explain why the treatments continued despite the new legal climate. Gay

in ‘Curing queers’

them steadfastly objected or refused to administer treatments for sexual deviations, some nurses, ­nevertheless, took huge professional risks, and did c­ overtly ­question the orders they were given for the sake of their patients. They did this by engaging in what can be described as furtive and s­ ubversive ­behaviours to avoid administering treatments for sexual deviations. This chapter seeks to explore and describe these nurses’ ­experiences when bending the rules in regard to ­administering ­aversion therapy, and the meaning they attached to these ­rule

in ‘Curing queers’

were in the ­countryside, meant that they were difficult to incorporate into the NHS and were able to continue with many of their traditional practices.113 107 ‘Curing queers’ Hospital culture: daily life in psychiatric hospitals Despite the absorption of mental health services into the NHS and the medical rhetoric of curative treatment within psychiatry, the mental hospitals from the 1930s to the mid-1970s, where the patients would have received treatments for their sexual deviations, more closely resembled nineteenth-century asylums than they did twentieth

in ‘Curing queers’