136 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
    Guest Episode: Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows: Mourning in America

    Guest Episode: Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows: Mourning in America

    Valerie Reyes-Jimenez called it “The Monster.” That’s how some people described HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. Valerie thinks as many as 75 people from her block on New York City’s Lower East Side died. They were succumbing to an illness that was not recognized as the same virus that was killing young, white, gay men just across town in the West Village.
    At the same time, in Washington, D.C., Gil Gerald, a Black LGBTQ+ activist, saw his own friends and colleagues begin to disappear, dying out of sight and largely ignored by the wider world.
    In this guest episode from WNYC Studios’ new Blindspot series, hear how HIV and AIDS was misunderstood from the start—and how this would shape the reactions of governments, the medical establishment, and numerous communities for years to come. 
    Listen and subscribe to the rest of the series here.
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    • 36 min
    Feminist Bookstores: A Love Story — with June Thomas

    Feminist Bookstores: A Love Story — with June Thomas

    As a bookish lesbian growing up in working-class England, June Thomas developed an early love of bookstores. After moving to the U.S. in the 1980s, she found community in the feminist bookstores of the era, as she recounts in A Place of Our Own: Six Spaces That Shaped Queer Women's Culture.
    Visit our episode webpage for a transcript of the episode. For exclusive Making Gay History bonus content, join our Patreon community.
    Episode Art: The Old Wives’ Tales Collective, San Francisco, 1982: Carol Seajay, Pell, Sherry Thomas, Tiana Arruda, and Kit Quan. © 1982 JEB (Joan E. Biren). 
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    • 28 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

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
1.3K Ratings

1.3K Ratings

Jay DeeNola ,

So good!

This is an amazing podcast. So much first hand history and recordings that give us invaluable insight into gay history. The host is great and has obviously had an amazing career documenting all of this important history. I’m so thankful for all of our elders who paved the way for the queer community.

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.

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