December 14th, 2009

gay vigilante

What can we do with those darned homosexuals? - Life Magazine's "Homosexuality in America," part 11

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(pink highlighting notes biased words and reporting, and some of the more outrageous details and statements in this article)

Life magazine, June 26, 1964


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

by Ernest Havemann


Can society do anything about homosexuality? Not a great deal. Freud felt that most homosexuals could not be changed even through prolonged psychoanalysis. Dr. Bieber's attitude is considerably more optimistic; he found that 27% of the homosexuals in his study led normal sex lives after analysis. But even 27% is a low figure, and it would be impossible to provide analysis for all the homosexuals in the U.S. anyway.

The laws against homosexual acts have certainly not stopped the confirmed practitioners. As Dr. Gebhard and many other observers have pointed out, sexual behavior is one of the most compulsive of all human traits, and the man who is in the grip of homosexuality is likely to practice it regardless of the risks or penalties. This fall's new report by the Institute for Sex Research which is based on a study of men who were in prison for various sex crimes, will contain some absolutely remarkable figures on the irrepressible drives of the homosexual. The prisoners convicted of advances to boys under 12, the report will show, had committed homosexual acts with an average of 19 different partners before they were caught; those convicted of advances to boys between 12 and 15, an average of 45 different partners; those convicted of homosexual acts with older youths and adults, close to 200. Moreover, the worst way in the world to try to cure a homosexual is to send him to a prison where men are gathered without the companionship of women, homosexuality is a commonplace. (The Institute for Sex Research says that 70% of all long-term prisoners in the U.S. become practicing homosexuals.) Law officials and psychiatrists who have tried to make international comparisons do not believe that homosexuality is any more widespread in places like France, the Netherlands and Sweden, where it is not punishable under the law, than in other nations like ours where it is considered a crime.

Most people who have studied homosexuality believe that the laws against it are what Freud once called them, "a great injustice" and "cruelty" -- unjustly penalizing the few who are unlucky enough to be caught. Indeed some observers think that the legal penalties and social stigma which threaten the homosexual's life may cause him more emotional disturbance than homosexuality itself -- and even that some defiant and thrill-seeking men may take up homosexuality for the very reason that it is illegal, just as some people who had never drunk before began drinking during Prohibition. But certainly society's powerful disapproval, if not necessarily the law's, serves to deter at least some young men who are wavering between the two worlds.

Some well-meaning people feel that homosexuality could be reduced if our society were not so blatantly sexual in general -- that is, if we protected our growing boys from the stimulation of sexy movies, books, magazines and outright pornography. But this theory ignores the urgency of the adolescent's sexual drive. "When a boy reaches puberty," says Dr. Gebhard, "his hormones keep him far more stimulated from the inside than he could possibly be stimulated by anything he sees or hears." About the only effective way to discourage homosexuality at that crucial age, Dr. Gebhard, believes, would be "to encourage heterosexuality." But such an idea would be utterly at odds with our culture and our moral code -- and therefore it seems inevitable that a considerable number of boys in every generation will continue to experiment with homosexuality, as in the past, and that some of them who were born or grew up with a predisposition will adopt it as a permanent way of life.

Many optimistic students of our society believe that we may some day eliminate poverty, slums and even the common cold--but the problem of homosexuality seems to be more akin to death and taxes. Even if every present-day American with the slightest trace of homosexuality could be deported tomorrow and forever banished, Dr. Gebhard believes, there would probably be just as many homosexual men in the U.S. a few generations hence as there are now.


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
OK, maybe you’re not all that sick after all - Part 10