Video: How a 1940s psychology study sparked the modern gay rights movement
In the 1940s, psychiatrists labeled homosexuality as a mental disorder. UCLA’s Dr. Evelyn Hooker sought to change that with her groundbreaking study that proved homosexuals were not ill and in need of a cure. This research made it all the way to the Supreme Court and helped change gay life forever.
During the repressive 1950s, Dr. Evelyn Hooker undertook groundbreaking research that led to a radical discovery: homosexuals were not, by definition, “sick.” Dr. Hooker’s finding sent shock waves through the psychiatric community and culminated in a major victory for gay rights. In 1974 the weight of her studies, along with gay activism, forced the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its official manual of mental disorders.
You can learn more about Evelyn Hooker’s story in the documentary “Changing Our Minds”. This Academy Award nominated film, narrated by Patrick Stewart, includes startling archival footage of the medical procedure used to “cure” homosexuality.
To read more about the defense of gay rights, click here for an article from the University of California.