Barbara's Story: A brave, headstrong woman battles the entire psychiatric industry to prove that homosexuality is not, in fact, an illness that has a "cure".
"Barbara's mission is a human rights mission...the audience is on board with her from the get-go. She has some particularly great moments during her debates, specifically when she goes head-to-head with Dr. Socarides. Dr. Fryer's scheme to get his point across using the Dr. Anonymous moniker is also an intriguing subplot. Similar to films like MILK and DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, this script could certainly have a place in this subject matter's historical canon." The Blacklist Evaluator
Dr. Anonymous' Story: It’s almost shocking to believe that in 1972 there were no gay psychiatrists. Because being gay meant you couldn’t be a psychiatrist, and being a psychiatrist meant you couldn’t be gay. Barbara Gittings had to use all her rhetorical powers of persuasion to convince Dr. John Fryer, who had been fired from two university positions on suspicion that he was gay, to talk to the American Psychiatric Association about what it was like to be gay AND a psychiatrist. But it was too risky to do it as himself. So, he donned a distorted Nixon mask, an oversized tuxedo and used a voice scrambling microphone to tell his truth and the truth of so many others.
The Doctor's Story: "A homosexual is a person whose heterosexual function is crippled, like the legs of a polio victim," Dr. Irving Bieber. Dr. Bieber was one of the most influential American psychoanalysts who attempted to convert gay men to heterosexuality. He really thought he was helping his "patients." In SICK! he presents a demonstration on electroshock therapy in his effort to "cure" his patient, Steve. The 1970 presentation at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in San Francisco, is disrupted by gay activists, including one who calls Bieber a "motherf*cker"!
The Photographer's Story: Kay Lahusen was the partner of Barbara Gittings in life, love and the movement for over forty years. Kay doesn't appear in a lot of the photographs of the movement from the 60s and 70s, but that's because she was always behind the camera, documenting every step of the way. Here, she has a moment in front of the camera as she attends a Gay Liberation Front fundraiser at the home of William Haines, actor and interior designer at his fabulous mansion in California.
The Captain's Story: Captain Jed Barrowman, a handsome young Air Force psychiatrist, whose job it is to help airmen who are "caught" thinking homosexual thoughts, to avoid being discharged from the service. But what is Captain Barrowman thinking? How does somebody who may be SICK, treat others who are SICK, and still keep his sickness secret?
The Singer's Story: Linda Rivera, a young Dominican singer, who, just being herself, and without really trying to, helps Barbara Gittings and her life partner Kay Lahusen, learn more about themselves and what they mean to one another.
The Journalist's Story: Ronald Gold, the young journalist activist who clashes with Barbara Gittings over their different approaches to making progress for gay rights. Younger, more aggressive, and male, Ron has to learn from Barbara, as she also must learn from Ron.