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date: 09 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Homosexuality has a complex history of entwinement with disability, marked most notably by its long-standing designation as a form of mental illness. That attribution was anticipated by nineteenth-century sexologists and promoted by mid-twentieth-century psychiatrists. In the years that followed, gay and lesbian activists worked to distance themselves from that stigmatizing association, successfully lobbying to remove “homosexuality” from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973. Revisited here is the history of the gay liberationist battle against the psychiatric establishment as viewed through the analytical lenses offered by critical disability studies and disability history. Also tracked are the exclusionary and stigmatizing effects of the insistence on homosexuality as “healthy.”

Keywords: gay and lesbian rights movement, queer history, mental illness, Frank Kameny, Evelyn Hooker, American Psychiatric Association, DSM

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