BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    ‘Queer’ treatments: giving a voice to former patients who received treatments for their ‘sexual deviations’

    Dickinson, T. and Cook, Matt and Playle, J. and Hallett, C. (2012) ‘Queer’ treatments: giving a voice to former patients who received treatments for their ‘sexual deviations’. Journal of Clinical Nursing 21 (9-10), pp. 1345-1354. ISSN 0962-1067.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Aims and objectives.  The study aimed to examine the experiences of patients and meanings attached to ‘treatments’ of sexual deviations, which included homosexuality and transvestism, in the UK (1949–1992), exploring reasons for such treatments, experiences and how individual lives were affected. Background.  Male homosexuality remained illegal in England until 1967 and, along with transvestism, was considered an antisocial sexual deviation that could be cured. Homosexuality remained classifiable as a mental illness until 1992. Nurses were involved in administering treatments to cure these individuals; however, there is a paucity of information about this now-discredited mental health nursing practice. Design.  A nationwide study based on oral history interviews. Methods.  Purposeful and snowball sampling was utilised when selecting participants for the study. Participants were recruited via adverts in gay establishments/media. All participants gave signed informed consent. Face-to-face oral history interviews were conducted and transcribed for historical interpretation. Results.  Seven former male patients made contact, aged 65–97 years at interview. All reported that the treatments had been unsuccessful in altering their sexual desires or behaviour. Most sought treatment owing to unsupportive and negative attitudes from friends, family and wider society. Others selected treatments instead of imprisonment. Most eventually found happiness in same-sex relationships. However, all were left feeling emotionally troubled by the treatments they received. Conclusion.  Defining homosexuality and transvestism as mental illnesses and implementing what could be argued to be inefficient treatments to eradicate them appears to have had a lasting negative impact on the patients who received them. Relevance to clinical practice.  Nurses who care for older gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender patients need to be mindful of their potential past treatment by healthcare services and ensure that they are non-judgmental and accepting of their sexual orientation and current gender.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): gay, gay history, marginalised, nursing ethics, nursing history, queer
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Moving Image, Birkbeck Institute for the (BIMI), Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR), Contemporary Literature, Centre for
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2012 09:28
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:57


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item