135 episodes

Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.

Making Gay History | LGBTQ Oral Histories from the Archive Eric Marcus

    • History
    • 4.7 • 1.3K Ratings

Intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history brought to you from rare archival interviews.

    Dismantling a Diagnosis: A Kind of Madness

    Dismantling a Diagnosis: A Kind of Madness

    In the 1950s, psychiatrists diagnosed all homosexuals with a mental illness, and the sickness label created new forms of oppression for gay people in America.
    The sickness label was pervasive and seemingly inescapable. Until 1973, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the DSM), homosexuality was a mental disorder. In this first episode of Making Gay History’s “Dismantling a Diagnosis” miniseries, you’ll hear testimony from Eric Marcus’s archive describing this dangerous diagnosis and how the label affected the lives of LGBTQ people in the 1940s, ’50s and '60s. We also explore the crucial role of psychiatric pseudoscience in propagating misinformation about homosexuality. And through first-hand accounts recorded decades ago, you’ll hear from gay men and lesbians who were subjected to therapies or treatments aimed at “curing” their homosexuality. In the words of activist Morris Kight, “Imagine trying to burn out of your brain your love.”
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
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    • 27 min
    Dismantling a Diagnosis: The Cure

    Dismantling a Diagnosis: The Cure

    A half-century ago, millions of homosexuals were cured with the stroke of a pen when the American Psychiatric Association decided to change its diagnostic manual and remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. 
    In this episode, we journey through several milestones in the battle for gay liberation and acceptance as we focus on how the field of psychiatry defined, and distorted, what it meant to be homosexual. Homosexuality was officially classified as a mental disorder in the 1952 edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, but the narrative that equated being gay with being mentally ill had been emerging for decades. The nascent gay rights movement in the 1950s was caught between believing the sickness narrative and seeking treatment, and questioning the diagnosis and using their own voices to fight back. A groundbreaking 1956 study by psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker debunked the notion that gay men were, by default, mentally ill, and even though societal pressures dissuaded Dr. Hooker from extending her study to lesbians, her research gave activists a foundation to advance the discourse. The years that followed brought continued campaigning by gay activists, and with the help of enlightened psychiatrists who became allies and closeted gay psychiatrists who had the courage to speak out, 1973 brought victory. The APA overturned its classification, effectively “curing” millions of homosexuals overnight.
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
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    • 48 min
    Dismantling a Diagnosis: Out of the DSM & into the Present — A Conversation about LGBTQ+ Mental Health

    Dismantling a Diagnosis: Out of the DSM & into the Present — A Conversation about LGBTQ+ Mental Health

    Eric is joined in conversation by Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth and Dr. Ilan H. Meyer to delve into the past and present of mental health for LGBTQ people. 
    They discuss historical stigma, the ramifications of the American Psychiatric Association’s declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder 50 years ago, and shifting psychiatric understandings of LGBTQ mental health in relation to societal pressures and prejudice. They also explore the continued pathologization of trans people, and the barriers that exist to finding accessible, safe, and informed care. 
    The MGH episode about Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld mentioned in the episode can be found here.
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
    ———

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    • 50 min
    Coming of Age During the 1970s: A Surge of Energy

    Coming of Age During the 1970s: A Surge of Energy

    The Stonewall uprising ignites an explosion of protests and organizing that transforms a small, often tentative homophile movement into a newly assertive national force that demands gay liberation and equality. In a Puerto Rico hotel pool, 12-year-old Eric experiences a transformation of his own.
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources, archival photos, and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
    Episode art photo: Gay Liberation Front Poster Image (1970) by Peter Hujar. Credit: © 2023 The Peter Hujar Archive / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
    ———

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    • 31 min
    Coming of Age During the 1970s: Fire Island and Other Stories

    Coming of Age During the 1970s: Fire Island and Other Stories

    While activists are demonstrating, filing lawsuits, and pushing for anti-discrimination laws, 16-year-old Eric is on a ferry to Fire Island, a legendary gay refuge off Long Island, with his neighbor Rev. Mullen—a trip that would introduce him to a vivid slice of mid-1970s gay life, ready or not.
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources, archival photos, and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
    ———

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    • 49 min
    Coming of Age During the 1970s: Family Ties

    Coming of Age During the 1970s: Family Ties

    When Jeanne Manford’s gay son is badly beaten at a 1972 GAA protest, the shy elementary school teacher takes a stand. She cofounds the organization now known as PFLAG and launches a movement that harnesses the strength of our fiercest allies: parents and the other people who love us.
    Visit our episode webpage for additional resources, archival photos, and a transcript of the episode.
    For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
    ———

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    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
1.3K Ratings

1.3K Ratings

Emberdreagon ,

Excellent

Anyone with gay friends and family, or anyone want to lear more should listen to this podcast. Veery well done, and highly informative.

A suggestion for a future episode—check out the Indy Bag Ladies. They are one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, AIDS fundraising groups in the Us.

Donna Odrosky ,

Beautiful Tribute to Mom and PFLAG

I have written before as I enjoy Making Gay History book (and your other works) and this podcast every week. This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom and to PFLAG Moms and Dads everywhere. I refer to your book frequently as a great resource for our PFLAG support group meetings and as I counsel other parents and families who love those identifying LGBTQ+. Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you on TV or online again soon. ❤️🏳️‍🌈🤗
Very Proud PFLAG Mom with Trans son.

Satisfied in Somerset ,

We need to know our history

I have learned so much from listening to this podcast. As someone as was afraid to come out, if I had heard this earlier I would’ve come out sooner. It’s so very important to know our history as we navigate these perilous times of our country swinging toward Christian nationalism. Hearing how they protested and fought in the past gives me hope that we can protest and fight again now, to keep our freedom and defend those being attacked in our community.

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