In Sickness and in Health

  • Jeffrey Meek
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History Series book series (GSX)


The Wolfenden Committee’s recommendations that the law should no longer interfere in the private sexual lives of homosexual men helped remove the state regulation of non-heterosexual citizens’ intimate lives. However, as shown in Chapter 3, those recommendations did not result in immediate action: it was a decade before legal restrictions were partially lifted in England and Wales and 13 years before similar action was taken in Scotland. The removal of state regulation was not the result of a surge of enlightened thinking, nor did it mean a broader acceptance of homosexuality. Rather, from the 1950s to the 1970s, one sees a shift in viewing of homosexual offences from a legal gaze to a medical one. During this period, medicine was being proffered as a discipline which might replace the law in governing responses to deviant sexualities. The Wolfenden Report itself addressed this tendency: a section of Chapter VI is devoted to consideration of the medical treatment possibilities for homosexual offenders.1 This discussion was limited and the committee were unconvinced of the merits of medical intervention into human sexuality. Nonetheless, debates within and beyond the medical community on treating homosexuality medically were little affected by this lack of political endorsement.


Medical Professional Ethinyl Estradiol Child Psychiatrist Medical Concern Female Hormone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Home Office Scottish Home Department (1957) Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution [Hereafter RCHOP] (London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office), pp. 61–72.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Roger Davidson (2009) ‘Psychiatry and Homosexuality in mid-Twentieth-Century Edinburgh: The View from Jordanburn Nerve Hospital’, History of Psychiatry, 20, p. 407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 7.
    Prior to the publication of the Wolfenden Report, Curran was co-author of: Desmond Curran & Denis Parr (1958) ‘Homosexuality: An Analysis of 100 Male Cases Seen in Private Practice’, British Medical Journal, 1, pp. 797–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 10.
    B. H. Fookes (1960) ‘Some Experiences in the Use of Aversion Therapy in Male Homosexuality, Exhibitionism and Fetishism-Transvestism’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 115, pp. 339–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 12.
    M. P. Feldman (1966) ‘Aversion Therapy for Sexual Deviations: A Critical Review’, Psychological Bulletin, 65, pp. 65–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 14.
    John Bancroft (1969) ‘Aversion Therapy of Homosexuality: A Pilot Study of 10 Cases’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 115, p. 1430.Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    Roger Davidson (2004) ‘“The Sexual State”: Sexuality and Scottish Governance, 1950–1980’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 13, p. 507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 19.
    Roger Davidson (2008) ‘“The Cautionary Tale of Tom”: The Male Homosexual Experience of Scottish Medicine in the 1970s and Early 1980s’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 28, p. 124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 23.
    See Davidson A, ‘The Cautionary Tale of Tom’, pp. 122–38; — ‘Psychiatry and Homosexuality in mid-Twentieth-Century Edinburgh’, pp. 403–24; — (2009) ‘Law, Medicine and the Treatment of Homosexual Offenders in Scotland 1950–80’, in I. Goold & C. Kelly (eds) LawyersMedicine (Oxford: Hart Publishing).Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    David Greenberg (1988) The Construction of Homosexuality (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press), pp. 387, 341.Google Scholar
  11. 47.
    M. King & A. Bartlett (1999) ‘British Psychiatry and Homosexuality’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 175, pp. 106–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 51.
    Glenn Smith, Annie Bartlett & Michael King (2004) ‘Treatments of Homosexuality in Britain since the 1950s — an Oral History: The Experience of Patients’, British Medical Journal, 328, p. 427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 67.
    L. Bender & S. Paster (1941) ‘Homosexual Trends in Children’, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 11, pp. 730–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Jeffrey Meek 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey Meek
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations