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LGBT U.S. History - Gay Rights Activism & the American Psychiatric Association

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How gay rights activism influenced the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of “homosexuality” as a diagnosable disease from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)

In “Gay Rights Activism & Psychiatry,” students will make connections between the medicalization of behaviors and society’s perceptions of morality and mental health. This Comprehensive Unit of Enquiry (CUE) offers a wide array of extension activities, games and further opportunities for learning. Included in this unit are topics relating to: Eugenics, Carl Jung, the Rorschach test and its history, Applied Behavior Analysis and more. The initial “hook” is Warren Blumenfeld discussing how his childhood experience of weekly visits to a psychiatrist for nine years (in order to correct Warren’s gender non-conforming behavior) led him to join the Gay Liberation Front and protest the medicalization of “homosexuality.”

An integral component of “Gay Rights Activism & Psychiatrists” is providing students with the opportunity to engage in academic discourse about the complexities of science and its implications on society’s understandings of morality and health, as well as what motivated “homosexuals” to organize and engage in political activism. This unit challenges students intellectually and provides conscious-raising in a communicative enquiry process.

Students will be able to:
1. Make connections between this unit and the influence of social activism on institutional ideas about morality and health
2. Defend their position on the case study through oral discussions and writing using knowledge of scientific research
3. ntegrate and evaluate multiple sources of information in order to answer the case study essential question and discussion questions
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