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Posted December 14, 2001
This book is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in the history of the gay rights movement. Ronald Bayer did an outstanding job of interviewing most of the major figures involved in the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 decision to remove homoesexuality from its list of mental disorders. Having had access to people on both sides, he also provides an important historical background to the clashing scientific opinions and colliding political forces around that event. One of Bayer's conclusions, first printed in the 1981 edition and then restated in this 1987 volume, was that psychiatry could not advance the cause of gay and lesbian civil rights. He believed that ¿...the psychiatric mainstream must ultimately affirm the standards of health and disease of the society within which it works. It cannot hold to discordant views regarding the normal and abnormal, the desirable and undesirable, and continue to perform its socially sanctioned function.¿ However, Bayer was in error. In the 90s,several years after he wrote his conclusion, the gay civil rights movement began to reach critical mass. It did take 20 years, however, to reach that stage. Nevertheless, this is a minor quibble as the book remains an important documentation of a landmark in gay and lesbian history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.