Homosexuality was a mental illness to be “cured” until LGBTQ activists fought the Establishment—and won.

Demonstrators gathered in Albany, New York, in 1971 to demand gay rights and to declare that "Homo Is Healthy."
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
October 11, 2021
53:00 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
Open Call
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 International Documentary Association (IDA)-ABC News VideoSource Award
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2021 GLAAD Media Awards-Outstanding Documentary
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    2022 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize-Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media
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    2020 Frameline Film Festival-Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2020 NewFest: LGBTQ+ Film and Media | New York-Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2020 ImageOut: The Rochester LGBT Film & Video Festival-Audience Award, Best Documentary Feature
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2022 Realscreen Summit-Non-Fiction — Archive-Based Program
  • Nominated laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2022 FOCAL International Awards-The Jane Mercer Researcher of the Year Award
  • Producer/Director

    Bennett Singer

    Bennett Singer has been making social-issue documentaries for more than 25 years. He co-produced and co-directed Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; was broadcast nationally on PBS’ POV series and Logo; and won more than 20 international awards, including the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Show more Documentary and prizes at LGBTQ film festivals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities. Singer was an associate producer on the Emmy- and Peabody-winning series Eyes on the Prize II; a producer/director on With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right In America; a consulting producer on Codebreaker; and co-director of Electoral Dysfunction, a feature-length documentary about voting in America that won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. The former Executive Editor of Time Magazine’s Education Program, Singer is the editor of 42 Up and the co-author, with his husband David Deschamps, of LGBTQ Stats, which Booklist described as “indispensable” and “astounding.” He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Video, a Visiting Artist Residency at The American Academy in Rome, and the National Endowment for the Arts Residency for Collaborative Teams at Yaddo. Show less


    Patrick Sammon

    Patrick Sammon has a mix of experience in filmmaking, broadcast journalism, and LGBT political advocacy. He is President of Story Center Films, a documentary production company based in Washington, DC. He is the Creator and Executive Producer of Codebreaker, a “superb” (The Telegraph), “imaginative” (Sunday Times), award-winning Show more drama-documentary that “artfully explored” (The Mail) the life and legacy of Alan Turing, one of the 20th century’s most important figures. More than three million viewers around the world have seen the film through television, a limited U.S. theatrical release, film festivals, and more than 250 non-theatrical screenings (at venues including The British Museum, the US National Archives, and the Organization of American States). Sammon started his career as an award- winning television news reporter. Before founding Story Center Films in 2010, he served three years as President of Log Cabin Republicans, which advocates for LGBT rights in the Republican Party. Show less

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    The Film

    This David-vs.-Goliath story follows the psychiatrists and activists who fought to remove homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in the early 1970s. Facing treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy, castration, and lobotomies as “cures” for homosexuality, gay people recognized that overturning the mental illness label was a crucial step on the road to equality. Through newly unearthed archival footage and incisive interviews with participants, this award-winning film illuminates a pivotal moment in the Gay Liberation movement—one that changed not only the LGBTQ community and the field of psychiatry, but also the social fabric of America.