December 10th, 2009

gay vigilante

OK, maybe you’re not all that sick after all - Life Magazine's "Homosexuality in America," part 10

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(pink highlighting notes biased words, suppositions, outrageous details, crackpot theorizing, and other statements of note in this article)

Life magazine, June 26, 1964


The causes – Heredity? Society? A too-loving mother? A cold, hostile father?

by Ernest Havemann


Most of the speculation about the mental state of homosexuals, however, comes from therapists who have treated homosexual patients -- and thus involves the possibility of a built-in bias which worries some of the experts. One skeptic, Analyst Ernest van den Haag, was once told by a colleague, "All my homosexual patients, you know, are quite sick." "Ah, yes," said Dr. van den Haag, "but so are all my heterosexual patients."

Seeking information about the great majority of homosexuals who have never visited a therapist, a Los Angeles psychologist named Dr. Evelyn Hooker once managed to find 30 such men, then matched them as nearly as she could, by age, intelligence and education, with 30 other men. She gave both groups a series of personality tests and submitted the results to a panel of trained scorers -- who could find no significant differences between the two groups. This may only prove that personality tests are unreliable, as many scientists suspect, or it may indicate that homosexuals can be just as healthy as anybody else.

Freud did not believe that homosexuals were necessarily sick; in a famous letter to a mother of a homosexual who had asked him for help, he wrote, "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation, it cannot be classified as an illness." Nor did that noted anti-Freudian, Dr. Kinsey, regard all homosexuals as psychologically sick. From his interviews with many hundreds of confirmed and part-time homosexuals, Dr. Kinsey concluded that homosexual conduct was simply too widespread, in our own society and others, to be considered neurotic. A new report by his Institute for Sex Research, to be published this fall, will state that many homosexuals “are able to lead useful, well-adjusted lives.”

How many homosexuals are there in America? Nobody can say for sure. The closest thing to a census was the 1948 Kinsey report, which was based on interviews with 5,000 men. Kinsey estimated that four men in 100 are exclusively homosexual all their adult lives. This would mean that there are currently about 2.3 million confirmed homosexuals over the age of 18 in the U.S. Kinsey also believed that an equal number of men are exclusively homosexual for a period of three years or more at some time in their lives. Dr. Kinsey’s is the highest of all the responsible estimates and is possibly exaggerated, as has been noted, by the eagerness of homosexual men to volunteer for the study. Dr. Bieber believes that the number of confirmed homosexuals is closer to 2% -- or about 1.2 million Americans over the age of 18.

There are also women homosexuals, of course, but the number is much smaller -- by the estimate of the Institute of Sex Research, perhaps only a third or a quarter as high as the figure for men. One reason, some analysts have suggested, is that it is far easier for a woman who is afraid of men to perform adequately in marriage than it is for a man who is afraid of women. At any rate women homosexuals are not nearly so numerous, promiscuous or conspicuous as their male counterparts, and the various studies have largely ignored them.

Has there been an increase in homosexuality? To any observant person walking around cities like New York and Los Angeles, it would certainly seem so. Many psychiatrists and social scientists agree. Dr. Abram Kardiner, who teaches psychiatry at Emory University, says that the increase in the last quarter century has been “enormous.” But there are no figures to prove a rise in homosexuality, and it may be more apparent than real, reflecting simply a more open discussion and practice of homosexuality in keeping with the general sexual frankness of our times. The Institute of Sex Research, whose studies now cover a period of nearly 25 years, doubts that the proportion in the U.S. has increased at all.

[caption 1]: Alexander the Great (left), though married many times and a father, is cited by some historians as a homosexual. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo (right) were known to their contemporaries as homosexuals.


To read the entire series:
The Way We Were (Reported) - Part 1
When gay was in quotation marks - Part 2
The bitterness of individual homosexuals - Part 3
The Homosexual Faces Arrest, Disgrace - Part 4
The homosexual: Hungry for youth – Part 5
Emotionally unstable, immoral, and repugnant - Part 6
Science Explains Why and How You Got That Way - Part 7
A bad case of acne made me gay - Part 8
Freudian Analysts Gone Wild: You’re disturbed! - Part 9