This film is part of Rentals


Title of error

See Help


What is lesbianism? What causes it? ITV's This Week attempts to demystify lesbian sexuality.

Current affairs 1965 26 mins

Director: John Phillips


What is lesbianism? What causes it... and can it be cured? This episode of ITV's long-running current affairs strand This Week attempts to answer these questions for a curious 1960s audience. Although homosexuality is defined at the outset as a 'problem', and referenced in alarmist terms, the female interviewees are wonderfully frank about their lives, identities and desires. They refute presenter Bryan Magee's stereotypical assumptions about lesbian women, impressing on him - and viewers - that they're normal human beings like everyone else.

The previous year, This Week had broadcast an episode about male homosexuality (Homosexuals, also available on BFI Player). This was a potentially much thornier subject, as Magee says, because unlike lesbianism it remained illegal in the UK at the time - but this episode stills makes clear the myriad difficulties faced by gay women in the homophobic world of 1960s Britain. One interviewee, Esme Langley, founded the sombrely-named Minorities Research Group to help women deal with this stigma and find access to resources.