Arts & CultureCampus & City

Movie Review: ‘Cured’

What does it take to be cured of homophobia?

“This is the greatest loss: our honest humanity.”

Cured is a documentary directed by Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon. It looks into the lives and actions of some of the activists involved in the fight for rights for gay people, along with the fight to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in the United States. 

The history of homosexuality in the U.S. is not a friendly one. Up until the 1970s it was considered a disease treatable through mental institutions and castration, shock therapy, aversion therapy and in some instances, even lobotomies. 

Lawrence Hartmann, a psychiatrist and reformer of the social movement, discusses in the film his fear when growing up surrounded by a society that pressed the ideology of homosexuality as a disease.

“If my parents, my friends, and my teachers all think [being gay]’s an illness, can I really be alright about thinking that it’s not?”

It wasn’t until people began to stand up and fight against these beliefs that a movement took hold, and things began to change. This was thanks to many of the people featured in this film, including Barbara Gittings, Kay Lahusen, Franky Kameny, John Fryer, and more that homosexuality was officially removed from DSM in 1973

This documentary brought joy to my life, even if only momentarily. In a world still wrought with the tension of protests and hatred, it’s difficult to believe in humanity some days. Sometimes it feels like society’s only enemy is ourselves.

Cured made me believe in humanity again. It shows how people come together to face the challenges that not only they themselves may face, but thousands and millions of people face today and will face in the future. When faced with real aversion and discrimination, humans will join together and support one another. 

Not only does this documentary provide a very gripping interpretation and discussion of the gay rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s, but the documentary provides viewers with a story of love, hope, and determination.

These advocates the documentary follows express their own stories of being in this movement as gay psychologists, as sons and daughters, and as lovers. They lay open their lives for us to view and relate to, and how they led the way for our generation, and generations to come, to be able to love who we want to love. 

The fight isn’t over. Queer people still face discrimination and judgment from members of the public — some on a daily basis. Queer people still worry about having to “come out” to their families and friends, worrying about the judgement that they may have to face. 

But knowing that there is a community made up of people in similar situations, and knowing that this community is there for you when you’re faced with discrimination and judgment yourself, is a powerful thing. This is what Cured allows viewers to understand. 

Cured had its official release by PBS in the United States on National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2021. To view the documentary, visit their website to look for upcoming screenings of the film. 

Taylor Jeffrey

(She/her) Taylor the 2022-23 Opinion Editor at The Gateway. She previously served as a Deputy Arts & Culture Editor. She was a double major in English and History, and is now pursuing an After-Degree program. She can often be found at the end of a trail of half-filled coffee cups, curled up with a book and piles of yarn.

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