'Curing' Homosexuality

During the 1950s and 1960s, debates over the legality and morality of homosexuality drove gay men and doctors to desperate and dangerous measures in their search for a ‘cure’, writes John-Pierre Joyce.

US gay rights activist Craig Rodwell, 1969.
US gay rights activist Craig Rodwell, 1969.

On the evening of September 5th, 1957 viewers in ITV’s Granada (North-west) and Rediffusion (London) regions were presented with an unusual spectacle. An anonymous doctor, seated in shadow, his back to the camera, admitted on live television to being a homosexual. When asked if he would prefer to be ‘normal’, the doctor responded: ‘Oh yes, I would. If there was a guaranteed cure – a hope – that I could become an ordinary normal person I would certainly welcome it. I think all homosexuals would like to be cured.’

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