Talk:Atascadero State Hospital

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"The Dachau for queers"[edit]

The documentary film "Stonewall Uprising" contains this quote by law professor William Eskridge: "The most infamous of those institutions was Atascadero in California. Atascadero was known in gay circles as the Dachau for queers, and appropriately so. The medical experimentation in Atascadero included administering to gay people a drug that simulated the experience of drowning -- in other words, a pharmacological example of waterboarding." (The statements leading up to this quote also included sterilization, castration, and lobotomy).

Beyond that source, I haven't found anything else on the subject, like what dates it happened, etc. The context generally suggests the 1960s.

(The use of succinylcholine (anectine) as a "behavior modification" technique at ASH has been attested to by staff who witnessed the activities. Patients were administered the drug, then, unable to move or breathe, were lectured about their behavior, and prevented from asphyxiating by the administration of external respiration ("bagging") until the drug wore off, generally a matter of a few minutes. This "treatment" was never shown to be of any benefit. The experience was quite similar to "waterboarding," but under somewhat more controlled conditions. There have been no claims by staff that this was used to "treat" homosexuality; rather, it was done as punishment for behavioral rule infractions. The patients treated at that time were "mentally disordered sex offenders" under WIC 6316. Homosexuality per se was not a crime in California and did not result in commitment under that statute.)R S Knapp — Preceding unsigned comment added by 169.3.131.50 (talk) 18:00, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

The quote is inflammatory, but is an expression of the terror the victims felt. Perhaps someone more resourceful could find the right way to add this to the history section, as this is certainly of significance. I don't want to mess it up. 24.57.239.43 (talk) 08:56, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

I am going to volunteer to take the plunge and put this into the article. Mark Allyn, Bellingham, Washington Allyn (talk) 16:44, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

Before I saw this Talk Page, I revised the Atascadero State Hospital page to provide sources for the "Dachau for Queers" term. LandisFrann (talk) 15:39, 26 November 2020 (UTC)


I do keep finding references to this article: John LaStala, "Atascadero: Dachau for Queers?" Advocate, April 26, 1972, 11,13 (firsthand account from former inmate)... Though, I haven't been able to find the article itself. Vamn (talk) 20:05, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

There is an article published in "The Gay liberation book" San Francisco : Ramparts Press, 1973 titled "Dachau for queers" by a Don Jackson. It mentions the use of succinylcholine and electro-shock. Pjefts (talk) 22:54, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Try the book, "Gaylaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet" by the same William Eskridge (https://books.google.com/books?lr=&id=BZTnDgeygHkC&dq=William+Eskridge+atascadero&ots=TjUdN0ZtSb&q=atascadero ). He references another source, the book "Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. : a Documentary History" by Jonathan Ned Katz (https://books.google.com/books?id=97MPAQAAMAAJ&q=jonathan+ned+katz&dq=jonathan+ned+katz&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-ztGp38vQAhVHF5QKHcEBC-oQ6AEIKTAC ). 168.88.65.6 (talk) 15:19, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

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