Lesson 3: Change

More for the Mind: Home > Defining Normal Home > Defining Normal: Lesson 3

Lesson Three: Change

Approximately two 50 minute lessons

Day One: Perceptions of Homosexuality

Opener: “Homosexuality an ‘illness’ ” (10 minutes)

  • Show “Homosexuality an ‘illness’,” a 1969 video discussing homosexuality, mental health, and legislation by the CBC
  • Ask students to identify two different points of view presented in the video

Discussion: Perceptions of Homosexuality (10 minutes)

  • Refer to the video clip and talk about public policy and private beliefs
  • Ask students which they think come first when it comes to change

Activity One: Homosexuals as a Deviant Other (20-30 minutes)

    • Have students look at Activity One located on this page related to homosexuality and the post-war period

Closing: The Deviant Other (10 minutes)

  • Discuss the implication of the medical/psychiatric profession’s in creating “homosexual” as a deviant other.

Day Two: Change

Discussion: Review (5-10 minutes)

  • Review the lesson from day one
  • Compare the post-war era perception of homosexuality to current ones
  • Tell students they will be investigating how those perceptions changed

Activity Two: How Things Changed (30-40 minutes)

  • Have students look at the Activity Two posted on this page which illustrated that homosexuality was not dangerously or psychologically abnormal
  • Ask students to record significant events and the year they occurred

Closing: Change (10-15 minutes)

  • Use student information to create a rough timeline of events on the board or overhead
  • Discuss the changes that occurred in perception

Reaching All Learners

  • Students could work in pairs in the computer lab to help each other with reading, comprehension and to talk about the significance of the material

Resources for ‘The homosexual as a psychiatric danger’ lesson:


  1. “Homosexuality an ‘illness’ ” CBC Digital Archives.  Video: 1969.

Activity One

  1. Irving Bieber, et al. Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study.  1962.
  2. “Queer sex transforms from issue to asset for psychiatric survivors”
  3. Doctors on homosexuality 1950.
  4. “A psychiatric ‘problem,’” CBC Digital Archives.  Video: 1959.
  5. “A History of Psychiatric Homophobia” (PDF)
  6. Ryan Hotckiss.  “School of Hard Knocks” (JPG)
  7. “To put it bluntly…” (JPG)
  8. “Secret Tests” (PDF)

Activity Two

  1. Fact Sheets: Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals and mental health
  2. Kinsey’s Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale
  3. Evelyn Hooker, “The adjustment of the male overt homosexual.” 1957.
  4. LGTB Mental Health Syllabus: The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality
  5. “Activists on Air: An interview with Bonnie Burstow”