(Home-My Story)....... True, Tragic and Unnecessary Gay Youth Suicide Stories...................... (Espańol)
PART 2 (page 25 of 34)
Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? (Part 4 of 5)
Before 1973 - Where Did the Mental Health Community Stand?
The Stonewall Riots - 1969
Widespread Discrimination Against Gays Developed Only In The 20th Century
The Difficult History of
How Society and
The Medical Community Has Viewed Homosexuality Up To 1973
As a distinct concept, homosexuality is relatively recent. [See below paragraphs entitled - Widespread Discrimination Against Gays Developed Only In The 20th Century and Peaked From The 1930s to the 1960s] David Halperin points out in "One Hundred Years of Homosexuality" (and that I go into more detail about on page 15 of this website) that the term itself first appeared in German (Homosexualität) in a pamphlet published in Leipzig, Germany in 1869; it entered the English language two decades later. That some human beings engage in sexual activity with others of the same sex has, of course, been noted since antiquity. Historically, however, the focus was on the acts themselves rather than on the actors. The historian John Boswell, of Yale, has noted that during the Middle Ages "same-sex sex" was regarded as a sin, but those who committed that sin were not defined as constituting a type of people different from others. Between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century same-sex sex became a crime as well as a sin, but again, those who committed such crimes were not categorized as a class of human being. This changed in the nineteenth century, when modern medicine and particularly the science of psychiatry came to view homosexuality as a form of mental illness. By the 1940s and even up to 1973 homosexuality was discussed as an aspect of psychopathic, paranoid, and schizoid personality disorders. (1) As Homosexuality: A Report by the Committee on Public Health of the New York Academy of Medicine asserts in the early 1960s:
Homosexuality is indeed an illness . . . [it] fulfills all the requirements to place it in the category of illness. In a strict sense it is a symptom of illness.
The problem with the homosexual, American psychologists and psychiatrists argued way back in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and up to 1973, (ironically, the years of my growing up, coming of age and young adulthood) was that he or she had become fixated at an immature, incomplete level of psychosexual development, never completing the psychic journey to mature heterosexuality. This failure to mature was a form of neurosis, of emotional or psychic sickness. The homosexual's erotic and emotional drives toward his or her own sex were a matter of "arrested development." The source of this arrested development was to be found in unresolved conflicts with psychologically unhealthy parents in dysfunctional family units. Click here for more details regarding "unhealthy mothers and fathers". Certain common themes consistently emerged in the psychiatric literature and rapidly moved from there into the popular culture by way of novels, plays, films and non-academic magazine articles: homosexuals were immature, emotionally arrested and neurotic; unstable, unhappy and potentially dangerous to society. They were doomed to live tragic lives because their affliction was global - that is, it affected every part of their personality. As psychiatrist Edmund Bergler wrote:
In objective reality, [the homosexual] is a diseased person. He just won't admit to that . . . He is diseased in his personality. . . . Homosexuality is a neurotic distortion of the whole personality . . .there are no healthy homosexuals . . . . . the homosexual is an emotionally sick person. . . . Every homosexual is . . .a psychic masochist. (2)
[Note from Gary Lynn: It almost makes me physically sick to write this garbage]
The Elephant in the Room
But the major problem with all of the above conclusions of psychologists and psychiatrists during the 1940s and up to 1973 was that every study of homosexual men published, used as subjects only individuals who had either sought out treatment because they were unhappy about being homosexual or who had been referred from the courts following conviction for sex crimes. While the majority of therapists and theorists of the time accepted the validity of such a research model without question, a few began to challenge the methodological integrity of studies purporting to describe all members of a class only by those whose inner conflicts drove them to seek psychological intervention or to commit antisocial acts that landed them in court. What sort of picture would one get of heterosexuals, these therapeutic mavericks asked, if the descriptive sampling were limited to those whose sexual problems required professional counseling and criminal sex offenders? (2)
"Treating" Homosexuals during the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s and up to 1973
Having defined homosexuality as a pathology, psychiatrists and other doctors made bold attempts to "treat" it. James Harrison, a psychologist who produced the 1992 documentary film "Changing Our Minds", notes that the medical profession viewed homosexuality with such abhorrence that virtually any proposed treatment seemed defensible. Lesbians were forced to submit to hysterectomies and estrogen injections, although it became clear that neither of these had any effect on their sexual orientation. Gay men were subjected to similar abuses. "Changing Our Minds" incorporates a film clip from the late 1940s, now slightly muddy, of a young gay man undergoing a transorbital lobotomy. We see a small device like an ice pick inserted through the eye socket, above the eyeball and into the brain. The pick is moved back and forth, reducing the prefrontal lobe to a hemorrhaging pulp. Harrison's documentary also includes a grainy black-and-white clip from a 1950s educational film produced by the U.S. Navy. A gay man lies in a hospital bed. Doctors strap him down and attach electrodes to his head. "We're going to help you get better," says a male voice in the background. When the power is turned on, the body of the gay man jerks violently, and he begins to scream. Doctors also tried castration and various kinds of aversion therapy. None of these could be shown to change the sexual orientation of the people involved. (1)
The Laws Back In The 60s
As David Carter writes in his book “Stonewall-The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution,” at the end of the 1960s homosexual sex was still illegal in every state but Illinois. It was a crime punishable by castration in seven states. No laws — federal, state or local — protected gay people from being denied jobs or housing. If a homosexual character appeared in a movie, his life ended with either murder or suicide.
Thrown Out Of Their Homes They Often Had To Live In The Streets
The younger gay men — and scattered women — who acted up at the Stonewall on those early summer nights in 1969 had little in common with their contemporaries in the front-page political movements of the time [Black Civil Rights and the Anti-War Movement]. They often lived on the streets, having been thrown out of their blue-collar homes by their families before they finished high school. They migrated to the [Greenwich] Village [New York City] because they’d heard it was one American neighborhood where it was safe to be who they were.(3)
Stonewall Inn-September 1969
The Stonewall Riots - For The First Time, The Gay Community Fights Back
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the homosexual community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
. . . . After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, class, and generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots. Click Here to continue reading all this entry about the Stonewall Riots from Wikipedia from where this information and photo were taken.
Sit down and watch this only 7 minute You Tube Video about the
History of the Gay Rights Movement - You Won't Regret it
Institutional Discrimination Against Gays Developed Only
In The 20th Century and Peaked From The 1930s to the 1960s
. . . . Institutional discrimination against same-sex sexual behavior is relatively new. [Religious and cultural discrimination against homosexual sexual behavior has been rampant ironically only since the advent of Christianity-See Box Below] Discrimination against GLBT people seems so ubiquitous it is hard to imagine it was any other way; however, while there have been occasional examples of persecution, it had never really been enfranchised into the culture until relatively recently. In the now-famous 2003 Supreme Court sodomy case John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v. the State of Texas ten professors of history filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners. (4) In it they assert:
The government policy of classifying and discriminating against certain citizens on the basis of their homosexual status is an unprecedented project of the twentieth century . . . . Sodomy laws that exclusively targeted same sex couples, such as the statute enacted in 1973 in Texas . . . were a development of the last third of the twentieth century and reflect this historically unprecedented concern to classify and penalize homosexuals as a subordinate class of citizens . . . . and peaked from the 1930s to the 1960s. Gay men and women were labeled "deviants," "degenerates," and "sex criminals" by the medical profession, government officials, and the mass media.
The Medicalization of Sexuality
One clue is that the term homosexuality was first coined in 1869 [as explained above]. The timing was no accident; the end of the nineteenth century was the Victorian Era, a time of sexual repression for people of all orientations. At the same time, science was on the rise. Not only were traditional sciences leading the way into a brave new future of cameras and telegraphs, but the new sciences of sociology and psychology were also created. People now believed everything could be explained through science, including human behavior. Indeed, psychology sought to explain human sexuality as a medical issue, with homosexuality as an illness. (5) For example, perhaps the most influential psychiatrist to date was Sigmund Freud. Freud believed homosexuality resulted from problems in a person's development, (6) with homosexuality as the result of an "Oedipal complex," "penis envy," or "anal fixation." (7) Homosexuality began to be seen as pathological, with the client needing to be cure, or stopped, at all costs. Same-gender sexual behavior became an illness for the first time.
This medical model became the dominant view of sexuality in America. Indeed, one could argue the terms homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual were developed by Europeans to be used like phyla to divide and classify humans. Far from benign, this model has been used to divide and discriminate against certain people ever since. (8)
What It Was Like in The Middle Ages and The Renaissance to be Gay
to Louis Crompton's narrative tour de force,
Homosexuality and Civilization, in the Middle Ages [600-1500] fierce
laws were passed, at clerical prompting, that led to the burning,
beheading, drowning, hanging and castration of male "sodomites" who, through
the broadest possible interpretation of the Sodom story and other biblical
texts, were blamed for such disasters as plagues, earthquakes, floods,
famines, and even defeat in battle. Lesbian acts, too, were condemned, and
women were executed. It is a relief to turn from these atrocities and the
intense fear and hatred that bred them to the contemporaneous civilizations
of China and Japan, which demonstrate that, beyond the domain of the three
Abrahamic religions [Christianity, Judaism and Islamism], some-sex relations
could be recognized and on occasion honored in the post-classical world.
In Europe, the unity of the Middle Ages gave way to the national variety of the Renaissance [1350-1600], but prejudice remained strong. In Catholic states, executions now reached their peak. In Italy, cities like Venice and Florence inaugurated "sodomy police" to hunt down victims; in Spain, the Inquisitions of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia energetically aided the civic authorities; and in France, men and women who did not enjoy aristocratic privileges were routinely burned or hanged. (9)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(1) Burr, Chandler "Homosexuality and Biology" that appeared in the June 1997 issue of the The Atlantic magazine. The URL is
(2) Holben, L. R.
What Christians Think about Homosexuality - Six Representative Viewpoints,
North Richland Hills, Texas, BIBAL Press, 1999, pages 17 and 18.
(3) From an Op-Ed Column entitled 40 Years Later, Still Second-Class Americans , By Frank Rich, that appeared in the New York Times, on June 27, 2009.
(4) On writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District, brief of professors of history, George Chauncey, Nancy F. Cott, John D'Emilio, Estelle B. Freedman, Thomas C. Holt, John Howard, Lynn Hunt, Mark D. Jordan, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy, and Linda P. Kerber, as Amici Curiae in support of petitioners, Roy T. Englert, Jr., counsel of record Alan Untereiner, Sherri Lynn Wolson Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck and Untereiner Llp, Washington, DC, Supreme Court of the United States, John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, Petitioners, v. State of Texas, Respondent. [Footnote number 13 on page 34 of book cited number (8) below]
(5) Herdt, Gilbert,
Sex, Different Cultures: Exploring Gay And Lesbian Lives", Boulder,
Colorado, Westview Press, 1997, Pages 66-67. [Footnote number 14 on page
35 of book cited number (8) below]
(6) Freud's views on homosexuality were complex and evolved over time. For example, late in his life, in a 1935 letter, he displays a positive attitude to homosexuality, "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of sexual development." Some would say his inconsistency and evolution relates to his own same-sex attraction,. According to Colin Spencer in Homosexuality in History in the 1890s Freud had a relationship with a Wilhelm Fleiss and again later with a psychoanalyst named Sandor Ferenezi. [Footnote noted as * on page 35 of book cited number (8) below]
(7) Spencer, Colin, "Homosexuality
in History", Orlando, Florida, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1995, pages
320-321. [Footnote number 15 on page 35 of book cited number(eight-8) below]
(8) Burleson, William E. "Bi America-Myths, Truths, and Struggles of an Invisible Community", New York, London, Oxford; Harrington Park Press, 2005, pages 34 and 35.
(9) Crompton, Louis, "Homosexuality and Civilization", Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003, page xii.
(10)McNeill, John J., "Taking a Chance On God", Boston, Beacon Press, 1988, pages 8-11
A Gay Teen Short Story ♂♂
Church is so confusing for Zack. His new pastor preaches nothing but hate and condemnation of gays and lesbians, but no matter how carefully he reads his Bible, he can’t find where it says God hates him. Will things change when Zach's boyfriend Billy suggests that they all go to his church instead? Click Here or on the icon to read the story.
Click for Page 26 of 34 - Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture? (Part 5 of 5)
What Do We Mean By Nurture?
below to go to:
The Anti-Gay Religious Right's Really Cruel and Idiotic Argument
Their Message to a Gay Person is: Be alone. Live alone. Die alone.
Click for Homosexuality is neither a Choice nor a Sin - Table of contents
Click for Gary Lynn's Home Page
2,123,729 visitors and counting as of December 1, 2015