CURED, documentary

The award-winning documentary Cured, from co-directors Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer, examines the activism behind the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1973.

Before the removal of homosexuality from the manual, those in the psychiatric establishment believed that homosexuality was only a condition that could be “cured.” The treatments, according to a press release, included intensive talk therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and aversion therapy. In some cases, people were castrated and lobotomized.

About the Film

Five years in the making, CURED illuminates a pivotal yet largely unknown chapter in the struggle for LGBTQ equality: the campaign that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses. Before this momentous 1973 decision, the medical establishment viewed every gay and lesbian person as diseased and in need of a cure. Business and government used the mental-illness classification to justify discrimination and bigotry. As long as lesbians and gay men were “sick,” progress toward equality was nearly impossible.

Incorporating a trove of newly unearthed archival material — much of it unseen for decades — CURED takes audiences inside this riveting narrative to chronicle the strategy and tactics that led to a crucial turning point in the movement for LGBTQ rights. Indeed, following the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, the battle that culminated in the APA’s decision marked the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. CURED sheds new light on this victory — which was far from inevitable — while situating the APA story within the larger context of the modern movement for LGBTQ equality.

“Our films this fall honour individuals whose determination in the face of challenge reflect major issues impacting our nation and our world, and our goal is always to inspire meaningful conversations around timely and often challenging issues,” said Lois Vossen, executive producer of Independent Lens. “Cured gets to the very core of this, shining a light on the inspiring LGBTQ+ activists who went up against a powerful institution and used open dialogue to create immense change, the impact of which is still felt today. I can’t think of a more appropriate film to open this new season.”


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