LGBTQIA+ & Autism Medicalization Timeline – A NeuroQueer Conversion Therapy History Lesson

As we discussed last week: According to one study that included 641,860 people: “people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are three to six times more likely to be autistic as cis-gender people.”

ID: Lyric, a pale skinned nonbinary person with short green hair with green and teal hair, with purple accents is sitting behind a white microphone in an RV with dark wood panel walls. Today they have thick asymmetrical eyeliner and a black top. The words History Lesson floats in front of them in yellow and green letters.

Patreon members and YouTube channel members had access to this video on April 19, 2022. The video’s public release will be June 29, 2022.


Hi, welcome back, if you’re a returning viewer… and if you’re new, welcome.

My name is Lyric. My pronouns are they/them. I am also known online as the NeuroDivergent Rebel. I am Autistic, ADHD, non-binary, pansexual, polyamorous, and an openly queer, openly NeuroDivergent human.

This week I’m going to be sharing about one of my topics of interest, the LGBTQIA plus human rights history, and important events along that timeline, as well as the NeuroDiversity history and timeline, and where some of these things intersect and overlap with one another.

If you’re at all curious about this, please do stay tuned.

If we go back to the very beginning of LGBTQIA plus rights in America, 1899 is when the psychiatrist Albert von Schrenck-Notzing…. and I’ve probably destroyed his name, but he was not a very nice fellow, so I’m not going to feel too guilty about it… Claim that, through 45 hypnosis sessions and a few trips to a brothel, he had manipulated a gay man, and managed to turn him straight.

Back then, in 1899, same-sex relationships were considered a criminal offense. It was illegal to be in a same-sex relationship in America in 1899. That’s the beginning, we start to see this medicalization of being LGBTQIA plus.

In the early 1900’s, psychiatrist and doctors began to address homosexuality labeling same sex desire in medical terms, looking for ways to reverse, or prevent, people from being Queer.

Queer people were then subjected to tortures, like electroshock therapy, lobotomies, and even testicular transplants.

Almost 25 years later, the first gay rights organization was formed in Chicago, The Society for Human Rights, founded by Henry Gerber.

On the autism timeline: in 1943, Leo Kanner’s paper on autism, and 1944 Hans Asperger, describing autistic children with “high nonverbal intelligence quotients, and using large vocabulary appropriately.”

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association added homosexuality to its diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or D S M, and shortly after in 1953, president Dwight D Eisenhower banned homosexuals from working in the federal government.

Medical professionals got us into this mess, and we needed some help from them to get us out of it. In 1956, another pivotal moment, when Evelyn hooker shared her paper, The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual, at the American Psychological Association Convention.

What Evelyn shared was that, after administering various psychological tests, to groups of gay and straight males, that according to the research, gays and straights did not differ from one another significantly.

Hookers experiment would become very influential, and eventually help to work in changing clinical perceptions of Queer People.

Throughout the 1960s and 70’s, Ivar Lovaas conducted experiments using Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), fueling what is now a multi-billion dollar industry.

Lovaas used rewards and punishments to shape “desirable” or “normative behaviors” in gender nonconforming and Autistic children.

June 28th, 1969 was Stonewall, and the Stonewall riots.

June 28th, 1970, one year after the Stonewall riots, thousands of members of the LGBTQIA plus communities, marched through New York to Central Park, in America’s first ever gay pride parade.

Up until 1973, psychologists and psychiatrists will still consider homosexuality to be a form of illness. It will be 1987, the year I’m born, before homosexuality will be completely removed from the DSM.

In the 1960s and seventies increase in gay rights organizations and movements in the United States put pressure on psychiatrists to distance themselves from conversion therapy, and in 1976, the US National Institute of Mental Health took away Ivaar Lovaas’s funding, due to complaints of excessive use of corporal punishment against children.

Conversion therapy programs can instill feelings of rejection within children, and can be extremely harmful to people. ABA seeks to train the Autistic Person to camouflage their Autistic traits, just as gay conversion therapy seeks to train the gay person to behave as if they are not gay.

The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQIA plus youth, states that “conversion therapy amplifies the shame and stigma that so many LGBTQIA plus young people already experience. Parents who send their children to conversion therapy, instill feelings of family rejection and disappointment, and risk seriously fracturing their relationship with their child.”

Studies by the APA have shown that attempts to change someone’s sexuality, can result in everything from poor self-esteem, to increased suicide risk, and mental health problems.

On October 14th, 1979, an estimated 75,000 Queer people, and straight allies, marched on Washington, to demand equal civil rights for LGBTQIA plus people, urging for the passage of protective civil rights legislation.

The 1980s and nineties would be a very hard time for Queer People all over the world, thanks to the AIDS crisis.

In 1981, the New York Times published an article titled “The New Homosexual Disorder Worries health Officials” – largely blaming gay men for the outbreak.

This was a setback as it, once again, stigmatized the Queer community.

On October 11th, 1987, hundreds of thousands would march on Washington to demand that president Ronald Reagan addressed the aids crisis.

In 1988, the CDC would mail a brochure, Understanding AIDS, to every household in the United States. It is estimated that 107 million brochures were mailed… and the world health organization organizes the first World AIDS Day to raise awareness of the spreading pandemic.

On the autism side, Jim Sinclair would not share their anti cure autism rights perspective until the late 1980s.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, we will see several autism organizations pop up, some even founded by Autistic People, themselves, including Autreat, annual retreats that ran from 1996 to 2003.

Autistic sociologist, Judy Singer wouldn’t coin the term NeuroDiversity until 1998, in her honors thesis.

A huge win in 1992 when the world health organization or W H O removed homosexuality from its ICD classification, with the publication of the ICD-10.

Though medical professionals had distanced themselves from conversion therapy many years earlier, throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many self-proclaimed “experts” and faith based groups, started to get involved in gay conversion therapy, launching these camps where Queer People would be isolated from family and friends, mocked, abused, hypnotized, coached on proper gender roles, and told that they must pray until their homosexuality would subside, and that they were unnatural, sinful, and disgusting.

In 1993, we had Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In 1996, Clinton signed The Defense of Marriage Act.

Then in 2004, Massachusetts would become the first state to legalize gay marriage, and it would be found that the prohibition of gay marriage was unconstitutional, because it denies dignity and equity of all individuals.

Back on the autism side, in 2005, we have the first ever, Autistic Pride Day, on June 18th… and Autism Speaks being funded by Bob and Suzanne Wright.

2008 would be a very hard year, as proposition eight would be approved in California, making same sex marriage illegal… and the first ever World Autism Awareness Day would happen on April 2nd, 2008.

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard Act was passed, which expanded the 1969 US federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by victim’s, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

This is good news for Autistic and Queer and Queer Autistic People everywhere.

Also in 2009, Autism Speaks would release it’s controversial PSA titled “I Am Autism”.

I’ll let you Google that for yourselves. Content warning: it is horrific.

A year later in 2010, Autism Speaks launched their first ever light up blue campaign, for little autistic boys in April.

2010, wasn’t all bad. A federal judge in San Francisco ruled that prop eight was unconstitutional, and the US Senate repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

On June 24th, 2011, New York state passed the marriage equity act.

In 2014 Autism Speaks released another stigmatizing documentary, titled “Sounding the Alarm, Battling the Autism Epidemic”.

Another video to Google. Content warning: it is just as bad as you would think, with a title like that.

June 26th, 2015 is one of my favorite moments in American history, when Obergefell v. Hodges made it to the US Supreme court, and it was declared that same-sex marriage be legal in all 50 states.

In 2016, the United States government removed its ban on transgender service members.

Also in 2016, due to a lot of pressure, Autism Speaks would remove cure language from its mission statement.

However, even to this day, this organization still has a lot to answer for, and leaves much to be desired, in my opinion, as one Autistic Person.

Drop your comments below: what do you think about Autism Speaks? Autistic People only, please.

Things we’re really looking up, until 2018, when Donald Trump signed a memorandum that banned trans people from some us military service. Since then there have been a wave of anti-trans bills, sweeping the United States.

From state to state: the don’t say gay bill, not allowing trans children to participate in sports, various bathroom bills, et cetera.

Though the concept of gay conversion therapy still exists today, people are starting to wake up to the harm and turn away from these practices.

Today there are many states and countries that have laws, banning gay conversion therapy practices.

Even though most people accept that these therapies, air quotes are harmful to LGBTQIA plus people, ABA is still widely recommended by doctors and medical providers as, air quotes “treatment for autism”.

Today in 2022, there is a lot of arguments around NeuroDiversity, autism, and Autistic Rights in online spaces. Sometimes people say it’s Autistics versus parents, however, many parents of Autistic Children are Autistic themselves.

The real fight comes down to people who are in favor of Autistic Conversion Therapy, and people who feel that Autistic Conversion Therapy is a major human rights violation. You know, which camp I am in.

 There are even Autistic People who are in favor of Autistic Conversion Therapy. So this isn’t even an Autistic versus non-Autistic issue.

It’s all part of a bigger issue, that this world that we live in makes it an unsafe space to be openly and authentically yourself, if you’re an Autistic Person.

Often parents are just so desperate to see their children succeed, that they will try just about anything to get what they think are desired outcomes.

There are many organizations out there, spreading these fear narratives, like the organization I mentioned earlier, that has put out all of these documentaries and infomercials about autism, talking about the autism epidemic, and how you should be aware and afraid of Autistic People.

It’s not unlike propaganda that’s been spread against Queer People over the years, either.

All right, all, thanks for hanging out with me for this history lesson.

If you found this educational, useful, helpful, entertaining, any, or all of the above… hit that thumbs up button, so that I know.

If you found it educational, hit that share button. Hopefully someone else will find it educational too.

Please remember that I do put out new videos each and every Wednesday. I invite you to follow and subscribe. That way you won’t miss when I put out new videos.

A special thanks to everyone who comments, gives your video suggestions, your feedback, your questions, you help make this blog what it is. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

Of course, thanks to the YouTube channel members, Facebook supporters, and also the Patreon members, who do that little monetary subscription, to help fund things like: website hosting, close captioning, and transcriptioning software, and all of the tools that make this blog accessible and high quality that it would not possibly be, without the help and support of viewers like you.

I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you.

I will see you all next Wednesday. Bye .


Help me get the word out!!! – If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. This blog is made possible by support from readers like YOU!  (Sharing my content is also, equally helpful!)

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With gratitude,

– Lyric

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