In Britain in the two decades after the end of the Second World War the social world of the male homosexual achieved a visibility it hitherto had not enjoyed, for the first time becoming the object of social scientific investigation. This chapter is concerned with the various professional practices through which that world was rendered increasingly legible between 1945 and 1968. It will address a series of questions pertaining to a crucial shift in focus that took place in these years, a shift from what many increasingly believed to be a narrow interest
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.
This book examines the ways in which women were able to deploy ambiguous concepts such as the 'career woman' and the 'bachelor girl' to simultaneously indicate and mask a lesbian identity. Contemporary anxieties about female same-sex desire which attached to these figures offered the opportunity to deploy them as an indication of potential sexual deviance. But their very ambiguity simultaneously afforded a protection from censure which more explicit terms such as 'lesbian' did not. These cultural connections between 'deviant' and 'normative' models of sexual identity have become the focus of considerable attention by queer theorists and historians in recent years. Queer historians have sought to analyse the institutional practices and discourses which produce sexual knowledge, and the ways in which these organise social life. They have concentrated their research on the binary opposition of homosexuality and heterosexuality as the dominant epistemological framework of knowledge about sexuality. The book seeks to explore the connections between space and cultural practices in lesbian history and is therefore concerned with the material world of post-war Britain. Identities such as 'tomboy' were invested with specific meanings in particular spatial contexts. As a child in rural Essex in the early 1950s, Nina Jenkins could use the term 'tomboy' to explain and excuse her desire to climb trees and be part of a boys' street gang.
The operation of the British model of imperialism was never consistent, seldom coherent, and far from comprehensive. Purity campaigns, controversies about the age of consent, the regulation of prostitution and passage and repeal of contagious diseases laws, as well as a new legislative awareness of homosexuality, were all part of the sexual currency of the late Victorian age. Colonial governments, institutions and companies recognised that in many ways the effective operation of the Empire depended upon sexual arrangements. They devised elaborate systems of sexual governance, but also devoted disproportionate energy to marking and policing the sexual margins. This book not only investigates controversies surrounding prostitution, homosexuality and the age of consent in the British Empire, but also revolutionises people's notions about the importance of sex as a nexus of imperial power relations. The derivative hypothesis, which reads colonial sexuality politics as something England did or gave to its colonies, is illustrated and made explicit by the Indian Spectator, which seemed simply to accept that India should follow English precedent. In 1885, the South Australian parliament passed legislation, similar to England's Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 and introduced a series of restrictions and regulations on sexual conduct. Richard Francis Burton's case against the moral universalism and sex between men are discussed. 'Cognitively mapping' sexuality politics, the book has traced connections between people, places and politics, exploring both their dangers and opportunities, which revolve in each case around embroilments in global power.
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
Nurses caring for patients receiving treatments for sexual deviations
This book demonstrates a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas between British queer history and art history. It engages with self-identified lesbians and with another highly important source for queer history: oral history. The book highlights the international dimension of what to date has been told as a classic British tale of homosexual law reform and also illuminates the choices made and constraints imposed at the national level. It embarks on a queer critical history, arguing for the centrality, in John Everett Millais's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. The book aims to expose the queer implications of celebrity gossip writing. It offers a historical analysis of the link between homosexual men and gossip by examining the origins of the gossip column in the British tabloid press in the three decades after 1910. The book provides an overview of the emergence and consolidation of a number of new discourses of homosexuality as a social practice in postwar Britain. It explores a British variant on homophile internationalism before and immediately after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act by mapping Grey's cross-border connections while noting strain against transnational solidarity. The book focuses on evidence collected by the 1977 Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship to illustrate how gay men conceptualised the place of pornography in their lives and its role in the broader struggle for the freedom.
The APA’s 1974 decision to remove homosexuality from its DSM,
along with social protests and a newly emerged gay liberation movement, eventually led to the curtailment of medical treatments to cure
homosexuality. A conservative turn in the 1980s, however, provided
the cultural and social foundations to reclassify homosexuality as a
contagious pathology, and this could offer a context to explain why
the WHO took a further eighteen years before it mirrored the APA’s
decision to remove homosexuality from its diagnostic manual.
In 1981, the Centre of
Many members of the GLF [Gay Liberation Front] can testify to the ineffectiveness of aversion therapy in reorientation of their sexual desires and to
the totally destructive effect [this] has had on their personality and adjustment. Our plan, therefore, is for homosexuals seeking advice from you to
be given reassurances from you that they are fully capable of living a full,
worthwhile and happy life and that many other men and women are doing
just that. This positive attitude substituted for attempts to provide treatment
and cure will
The making of a queer marketplace in pre-decriminalisation Britain
In 1966 David McGillivray contacted the Films and Filming editor Peter Baker asking for the opportunity to write for the magazine. He wanted to be a film critic. McGillivray was just eighteen years old and had no idea that, besides being an established and respected film publication, Films and Filming was also well known among queer men for its homosexually themed articles, advertising and contact ads. According to McGillivray, ‘It was my friends who knew all about it because they said things like “Well, there’s always men on the cover”. And I hadn
The use of character evidence in Victorian sodomy trials
H. G. Cocks
a shepherdess of the golden age’, Campbell had been ‘completely equipped in [the] female attire of the present day’.2 The police alleged
that the defendants had been dancing together in the company of several
other men, and that their actions constituted an incitement to commit a homosexual act. Campbell’s defence was that he had done nothing immoral, but
had dressed as a woman merely in order to disguise himself and ‘see a little of
London life, without mixing with its abominations’.3
Conclusive evidence that Campbell had committed any indecent acts was