VIFF review: Cured details historical LGBT fight to have homosexuality removed from mental disorders

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      Cured (USA) 81 min. Streaming online at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival from September 24 to October 7 at VIFF Connect

      We may know the overall route and outcome but the details of how lesbian and gay rights activists waged a seemingly Sisyphean battle against the American Psychiatric Association are what fascinate in this comprehensive documentary.

      Filmmakers Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon piece together a chronicle of the LGBT uprising that developed in an effort to have homosexuality removed from the diagnostic manual of mental disorders.

      While archival material from the days of shock therapy and lobotomies provides outdated perspectives that are simultaneously alarming and ludicrous from today's vantage point, interviews from frontline figures illuminate how they orchestrated their efforts and refused to give up despite the daunting challenges they faced.

      It wasn’t just a matter of finding a voice but also an ear that would listen in an era of mainstream homophobia.

      Both illuminating and engaging, it’s a timely opportunity to reflect upon a historical context for present-day struggles to ban conversion therapy and to address ongoing transphobia—a measure of how far social change can progress and yet how longlasting impacts can also stubbornly and inexplicably resist them.

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