Premiered October 11, 2021


Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon

When homosexuality was considered a mental illness to be “cured," LGBTQ+ activists fought back.


About the Documentary

When doctors classified homosexuality as a mental illness to be “cured,” they employed cruel treatments like electroshock and lobotomies. LGBTQ+ activists and their allies fought back — and won a momentous victory when the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders in 1973.

The Filmmakers

Bennett Singer

Bennett Singer has been making social-issue documentaries for more than 25 years. He co-directed Electoral Dysfunction (PBS) and Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin (PBS’ POV) and won a duPont-Columbia Award for his work on Eyes on the Prize II (PBS). He is the former Executive Editor of TIME Magazine’s education program.

Patrick Sammon

Patrick Sammon, the President of Story Center Films in Washington, DC, was creator and Executive Producer of Codebreaker, a “superb” (The Telegraph) and “imaginative” (Sunday Times) drama-documentary that "artfully explored" (The Mail) the life of gay British codebreaker Alan Turing. The film attracted more than three million viewers.

Full Credits


  • Frameline Film Festival

    Audience Award - Best Documentary Feature

  • NewFest: New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival

    Audience Award - Best Documentary Feature

  • American Historical Association

    2021 John E. O’Connor Film Award

Learn more about the documentary

Join the Discussion

How much did you know about how the psychiatric establishment tried to “cure” homosexuality? What surprised you the most? Do you know anyone who went through this back in the day, or more recently through “conversion therapy”? What strategies or tactics used by activists in the film seem most relevant to today’s movements for social change?