Gay and Alcoholic: A Lost Autobiography

Robert Hutton’s Of Those Alone (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1958) may be the earliest memoir of a gay alcoholic writer.

I came upon the book’s existence serendipitously, while browsing the papers of Marty Mann at Syracuse University. Mann was the first woman to achieve sustained sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous and the founder of the National Council on Alcoholism in 1940. In a letter, Hutton thanked Mann for her help and revealed that he had portrayed her, thinly disguised, in his autobiography — as a character named Temeraire (an anagram of Mann’s nickname, Mart).

During the 1920s, when Hutton encountered Mann in London, she “was apt, when in her cups, to become belligerent and would have taken on and probably defeated Joe Louis.” When sober, by contrast, “she was a sagacious and amusing companion with a raffish insight into other people’s foibles.” Hutton also divulges that Temeraire “prefers women to men,” as did Mann herself, though she fiercely shielded her private life from public scrutiny.

Of Those Alone was written in the wake of the Report of the Departmental Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution (1957) — familiarly known as the Wolfenden Report — which recommended that such acts, conducted in private between consulting adults, should no longer be proscribed or prosecuted. There was enormous controversy about these findings, and they did not take effect for a decade.

Published during the long interim, Of Those Alone decried the ignorance and intolerance of the British public. “The average individual,” states the dust jacket, “is baffled by something which appears to him to be both unnatural and vicious, and the tendency is for society to ostracise the offender.” The book, described as a “social document” as well as an “enthralling” human story, poses an issue for every “intelligent reader”: how much was the author a victim of “an outmoded and unimaginative legal ethical system, and how much was he himself to blame for the disasters which came upon him?” Hutton also takes up the prior question: whence homosexuality itself? Congenital or acquired? Destined by Nature or created by Nurture? Or both?

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Drinking Studies Showcase: Women and Online Alcohol Recovery Groups

This is the latest instalment to the Drinking Studies Showcase feature. Back in June, 2022, the ‘Women and Alcohol’ and ‘Sobriety, Abstinence and Moderation‘ DSN clusters hosted a joint lunchtime seminar. Dr Sally Sanger and Claire Davey provided short talks about their research on online alcohol recovery and sobriety groups. It’s a pleasure to be able to share the (edited) recording with you all.

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How can Pharmacists improve gender-affirming care? An insider’s perspective

Editor’s note: Maeleigh Tidd continues to explore the role of pharmacists in the provision of gender-affirming care for LGBTQ+ people, and return to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities series with an interview of Dolyn Salm, a transgender pharmacy student at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Pharmacy. They discuss Dolyn’s experiences of navigating the US healthcare system during his transition, and his views on how pharmacists can be better prepared to support the needs of LGBTQ+ patients. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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History of LGBTQ+ Health and Ongoing Health Disparities & Inequalities

Editor’s note: Maeleigh Tidd returns with another contribution to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities feature, this time co-authored with a graduate student colleague, Lucy Abrams. Mae and Lucy discuss the history of LGBTQ+ health in the USA, and situate existing LGBTQ+ rights within the international context. They subsequently discuss how pharmacists play a key role in providing gender-affirming care, and how this can be improved upon. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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Resisting the pathologisation of women in research of alcohol and pharmaceuticals

I was recently reading Dr Jessica Taylor’s latest book Sexy but Psycho: How the Patriarchy Uses Women’s Trauma Against Them. Taylor is a working class, radical, lesbian feminist who has a proven track-record working with traumatised women and girls. In this book she argues for a trauma-informed approach to working with women and girls and documents the long-standing tendency by the patriarchy (systems that uphold male power) to pathologise them as a result of their traumas, reframe them as mental illness, and unnecessarily medicate them for these ‘disorders’.

Pre-existing research shows that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety and somatic disorders, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, phobias, suicide ideation and attempts, postpartum depression and psychosis, eating disorders and PTSD (Riecher-Rossler, 2016). Furthermore, women are more likely to be diagnosed with multiple psychiatric disorders at one time (Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2019).

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Women’s Fight for Sexual & Reproductive Health Rights

Editor’s NoteIn light of the forthcoming US Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v Jackson, Maeleigh Tidd provides her third contribution to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities series which considers its implications for women’s access to reproductive healthcare. In doing so, she reaches back to the 19th century to explore American women’s historical access to, and use of, contraception and abortion. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.


As we approach the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court ruling a women’s liberty to have an abortion, we were struck with a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion of overturning this Constitutional right for women. But, perhaps, this is only the beginning of the regression of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health.  

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Disparities & Inequalities in Ending the HIV Epidemic: Treatment of HIV

Editor’s NoteMaeleigh Tidd delivers another thought-provoking post in our Pharmaceutical Inequalities series. She reaches back to the 1980s to consider how ACT UP protests led to greater affordability of HIV drugs, and argues that the persisting structural inequalities must be addressed by EHEI. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.


In 1987, six-years into the rampant spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and progression of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) leading to 40,000 deaths in the U.S., the FDA approved the first known antiviral drug for the treatment of AIDS. The approval of AZT (zidovudine) was the first scientific breakthrough in treating, and potentially ending, this “death sentence” of a disease. Yet, as the only treatment option available to the growing number of vulnerable and dying individuals with HIV/AIDS, it was outrageously unaffordable with a price tag of over $10,000 per year. 

This drug profiting and the overall poor response to the epidemic at hand, led to the formation of the non-partisan group Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), a group of LGBTQ+ activists ‘united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis’.

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Sex, Vaccines, and Drug Prescriptions

Editor’s Note: This post by Ejura Salihu is the third in our Pharmaceutical Inequalities series. Ejura’s experience of a disrupted menstrual cycle post-COVID19 vaccination prompted her to write a much-needed commentary on why medical trials repeatedly overlook women’s needs and health. The Pharmaceutical Inequalities series is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

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