Homosexuality as a Disease

Tuesday 14 March 2017.
 

Homosexuality as a Disease

The transition from a religious model to a medical model began in the eighteen-century, continued through the nineteen-century, and finally took firm hold during in the first half of the twentieth century. Abnormal sexuality or sexual deviance was no longer understood primarily in terms of sinful and moral behavior, but increasingly categorized as either natural or unnatural: healthy and sick, normal and pathological, were the new measurements in the latter half of the nineteen-century. It was the doctors, replacing the ministers of religion who stimulated this new awareness. Whereas before questions relating to sexual behavior were previously negotiated in the domains of theology, law and philosophy, and assessed with recourse to notions of sin, crime and moral failure, sexual deviance gradually became a concern of physicians and psychiatrists.

The term homosexual derived from medicine and only slowly replaced the traditional sodomite. This new medical analysis of homosexuality helped demarcate a clear boundary between normal and abnormal sexuality. The category of the homosexual derived from medicine was defined as a product of disease, degeneracy and moral inversion. The homosexuals were seen not as sinners or criminals, but as abnormal individuals who were in need of a cure. Now the emphasis was placed on his psychological makeup, his looks, and bodily structure rather than a simple practice of individual unnatural sex acts.

While homosexual behavior can be found in all societies, though with very different cultural meanings, the emergence of ‘the homosexual’ as a cultural construct can be traced to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century in urban centers of north-west Europe (Trumnach 1989a, 1989b) and also linked with the rise of capitalism (D’Emilio 1983) medical and psychiatric discourses provided the concept and labels of homosexuality and inversion from the 1860s, . . . (Ballard, Sexuality and the State in Time of Epidemic,; p.108 in Rethinking Sex: Social Theory and Sexuality Research by Connell and Dowsett)

Several years ago my colleagues and I reported the overwhelming definitional and sampling confusion that pervaded research on homosexuality (Shively et al, 1984). That confusion only deepens the farther research on homosexuality moves away from homosexual acts and continues to engage in the futile task of searching for the causes of a defective condition or a status or a personal identity or an enduring, ineffable emotional inclination revealed in fantasy, none of which is accessible to observation. Once we understand that the biomedical and psychological research is looking for the cause of acts, which are largely circumstantial, then its futility is clear. If we return to the focus on homosexual acts, as in the original Kinsey reports, then we can arrive at some agreements as to what it is that we are attempting to describe or explain - an ancient axiom of historical and scientific research. (De Cecco, Confusing the Actor With the Act: Muddled Notions About Homosexuality, p. 412)

For not until he sees homosexuals as a social category, rather than a medical or psychiatric one, the sociologists can begin to ask the right questions about the specific content of the homosexual role and about the organization and functions of homosexual groups. All that has been done here is to indicate that the role does not exist in many societies, that it only emerged in England towards the end of the seventeenth century, and that, although the existence of the role in modern America appears to have some effect on the distribution of homosexual behavior, such behavior is far from being monopolized by persons who play the homosexual role. (McIntosh, The Homosexual Role&, p.192)

Historians underscore an important distinction between homosexual behavior and homosexual identity. The former is said to be universal, whereas the latter is viewed historically unique. Indeed, some historians hold that a homosexual identity is a product of the social developments of late nineteen-century Europe and the United States. Any event, it seems fair to say that a unique construction of identity crystallized around same-sex desire between 1880 and 1920 in America.
The modern western concept of the homosexual is, according to some historians, primarily a creation of late nineteenth-century medical-science discourses. In the context of elaborating systems of classification and descriptions of different sexualities, as part of a quest to uncover the truth about human nature, the homosexual is said to have stepped forward as a distinct human type with his/her own mental and physical nature.
(Seidman. Embattled Eros: Sexual Politics and Ethnics in Contemporary America, p.146)

Homosexual identity emerged reactively to the new claims of late nineteenth century science, and the state, in relation to the classification and management of human sexuality as a whole. (Watney, Emergent Sexual Idenitties and HIV/AIDS in Aggleton, Davies, and Hart, AIDS: Facing the Second Decade, p. 14)

The biological model of sexuality saw homosexuals not as sinners or criminals, but as abnormal individuals who were in need of a cure. Although some sexologists, including Ellis, saw homosexuality as inborn but not a disease, much of sexual science has been preoccupied with problematizing and investigating these "marginal’ sexualities, and with thinking about how to ’correct’ the perceived pathologies through therapy, and chemical and surgical interventions, including castration. (Mottier, Sexuality A Very Short Introduction, p. 39-40)

In modern western history the category of the homosexual originates primarily from late-nineteenth-century notions, derived from medicine, that defined same-sex desire as the product of disease, degeneracy, and moral inversion. These notions created an imagine of a woman trapped in a man’s body or of a male body with female brain – a third sex apart from the rest of humanity. (Herdt, Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures. p.18)

In the late nineteen-century avatar homosexuality was a psychological and medical phenomenon with pathological mental and physical underpinnings. From the turn of the century, Freudian psychology and American psychoanalysis portrayed it as a mental state caused by early childhood trauma, one that led to the individual’s failure to achieve adult genital heterosexuality. With the advent of gay, lesbian and bisexual studies, particularly in the last two decades, homosexuality has been investigated as a historical, political, social, and cultural phenomenon. More recently, as seen in the articles in this collection, it has been revisited as biological state. (De Cecco, and Parker, editors. Sex, Cells, and Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference, p. 19)

The sexological discovery’ of the homosexual in the late nineteen-century is therefore obviously a crucial moment. It gave a name, an aetiology, and potentially the embryos of an identity. It marked off a special homosexual type of person, with distinctive physiognomy, tastes and potentialities. Did, therefore, the sexologists create the homosexual? This certainly seems to be the position of some historians. Michel Foucault and Lillian Faderman appear at times to argue, in an unusual alliance, that it was the categorisation of the sexologists that made the homosexual’ and the lesbian’ possible. Building on Ulrichs belief that homosexuals were a third sex, a woman’s soul in a man’s body, Westphal was able to invent the contrary sexual feeling’ Ellis the invert’ defined by a congenital anomaly, and Hirschfeld the intermediate sex’; the sexologists definitions, embodied in medical interventions, created’ the homosexual. Until sexology gave them a label, there was only the half-life of an amorphous sense of self. The homosexual identity as we know it is therefore a production of social categorisation, whose fundamental aim and effect was regulation and control. To name was to imprison. (Weeks, Jeffery. Sexuality and Its Discontents Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities. p. 92-93)

Sexology’s legacy for homosexual rights was a mixed bag. On the one hand, it offered promise in terms of naturalizing homosexuality as a biologically based or developmentally determined variation of human sexuality. It therefore followed that homosexuals should be accorded equal rights. Indeed, medical specialists generally supported homosexual rights activists in campaigning for repeal of penal laws against homosexuality. On the other hand, biologizing and pathologizing homosexuality established a distinct medical classification, akin to categorization of physical and mental diseases. And medical nosologies were created to identify disease entities that, once differentiated, would lead to appropriate treatment. . . . Moreover, biological and psychological reductionism masked the cultural, social, and historical contexts of homosexuality. . . . The sexological discovery of homosexuality was both a response to and a source of constructing gay and lesbian identities. Self-defined homosexual men and woman existed before the sexologist labeled them. In fact, physicians appropriated the label homosexuality put forth by Kertbeny in 1869. The sexologists learned about homosexuality from what they observed in their patients and read about in police reports, judicial proceedings, and newspaper accounts. The medical classification, in turn, produced effects on the people who were objects of inquiry. The very act of classification reinforced the grassroots sense of group identity among those who were part of the growing gay and lesbian communities of the late nineteen and early twentieth centuries. Not only did the work of the sexologists reify existing identities and cultural patterns, but it also served as sources for redefinition and resistance. Sexual subjects used the scientific discourse for their own purposes. (Minton, Departing From Deviance p.13)

The terms homosexual and homosexuality did not exist until the second half of the 1860s when they first appeared in Central Europe. They were invented by a German-Hungarian publicist and translator who opposed German sodomy laws, K. M. Benkert.

Writing under the noble name of his family, Karoly Maria Kertbeny, he first used the term homosexual in private correspondence in 1868 and in two anonymous German pamphlets in 1869 (Herzer, 1985). He invented this term to distinguish those who participated in same-gender sexual behavior from those who engaged in male-female sexual behavior. He associated "homosexuality" with sickness and deviance but not with sin or criminal behavior (Bullough, 1994; Donovan, 1992). Kertbeny also invented the term heterosexuality in 1869 (Herzer, 1985). The contrasting pair of words, heterosexual and homosexual, were not popularized, however, until the 18805. Krafft-Ebing (1892) adopted and popularized the term homosexual. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, both terms moved from German to other European languages (Dynes, 1990c). They were introduced into the English language in 1897 (Bardis, 1980). In the early years of the twentieth century, the popularity of the term homosexual escalated through its use by Havelock Ellis (1942) and Magnus Hirschfeld (1948). (Hunter, Shannon, Knox, and Martin, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youths and Adults, p. 7)

Until roughly 1900 the dominant explanation of male homosexuality, proposed by the homosexual lawyer and classicist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in the 1860’s, was that homosexual men had a women’s soul enclosed in a male body [anima muliebris in corpore virili inclusa] (Hekma, 178). Ulrichs defined male homosexuality as an inborn trait located in the brain (and in later works, in the testicles). The Berlin psychiatrist Karl Westphal dubbed this phenomenon sexual inversion and defined it as a psychopathological condition. This view of male homosexuality was widely influential. (Dean, Sexuality and Modern Western Culture, p. 22)

Through their contradictory logic, the early theories of male homosexuality struggled to ascertain the relationship between sex and gender. Sexologists and homosexual rights advocates both insisted and denied that homosexuals were different: if they were morally, emotionally, and (at least in appearance) physically like heterosexuals, how could doctors account for their congenital difference? And if they were not congenitally different, than how were they different (in the case of Brand and Friedlander, the most manly men)? (Dean, Sexuality and Modern Western Culture p.25)

In this paper I have hoped to demonstrate that the analytic model of male homosexuality is a scientific paradigm with cultural origins and a historical place in the world of sex research that is not absolute. (Friedman, The Psychoanalytic Model of Male Homosexuality: A Historical and Theoretical Critique, p.515)

The category of the homosexual also emerged in nineteenth-century sexology. Previously, argued Foucault, authorities regarded men who had sex with men as committing a sin or seriously criminal act, but they thought the devil might ensare any man into such behavior authorities did not see these men, claimed Foucault, as having a specific personality type. But in the late nineteenth-century¸ sexologists began to diagnose the homosexual; as a type of personality. (Clark, The History of Sexuality in Europe A Sourcebook and Reader, p.4)

Although the foundations for change were laid in the eighteenth century, the transition from the religious model to the medical model of homosexuality occurred mainly during the nineteenth and took firm hold during the first half of the twentieth century. It has been argued that one of the casual factors for the change was the attempt of certain elements in the medical to bolster traditional attitudes toward sex-attitudes that were being challenged by new rationalism of the period. (Hubert, The Third Sex; Theory of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs p. 103 in Historical Perspectives on Homosexuality edited by Salvatore J. Licata, PhD and Robert P. Petersen.)

The attitudinal shift described by Proust neatly illustrates the nineteenth-century replacement of predominantly Christian taxonomies of sexual sin with biological and psychological based primarily on congenital, psychiatric and legal conceptions of the modern subject. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 2)

To summarise this study, the history of homosexuality in western society over the previous century is crudely classified here, using my terminology, into five interrelated phases or developments: damnation, criminalisation, medicalisation, regulation, and reform. Moreover, there is perhaps a sixth developing at present following the medico-political impact of the AIDS epidemic (see Chapter 7). Importantly, all of these phases or developments not only interact and connect, they, to an extent at least, coexist and are all in evidence, alive and kicking, in today’s contemporary society. The question centres then, more on the rise and fall of these developments and of their dominance or decline. Consequently, artificial as they are, they remain valid heuristic devices. (Edwards, Erotics & Politics Gay male sexuality, masculinity and feminism, p. 16-17)

Each term corresponds to a particular moment in the history of Western sexuality and to a social perspective on sex between women and sex between men. Sodomy alludes to a religious conception, especially the interdiction of same-sex behavior by monotheistic religions. Homosexuality was a product of 19th-century scietism, of the medicalization of sexuality, and of a new emphasis on psychological make-up rather than a simple practice of unnatural acts. Homophile which semantically shifted the focus from sex to love, found favor with campaigners promoting tolerance and acceptance, and with those who sought the seamless integration of individuals with same-sex urges into wider society. Gay and lesbian were preferred by activists who, along with feminists, ethnic groups and other minorities, galvanized the new social movements from the 1960s onwards. (Aldrich, Gay and Lesbian History, p. 11-12 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.)

Homosexuality, and by implication homosexuals, have been placed outside prevailing social structures as defined by most theological, legal, and medical models. In Western culture, homosexual activity was first categorized as a sin. With the rise of materialism and the decline of religion, it became a transgression against the social, not the moral order: a crime. After Freud, homosexual behavior-under the auspices of medicine and psychology-was understood as a sickness, which was physical, psychological, or both depending on the theory. Although new categories were invented for homosexual behavior, they did not totally replace the old. For many today it remains a sin, a crime, and a disease.

Homosexual behavior has existed throughout history. Because of moral and social taboos there is very little written material explicitly discussing the feelings or attitudes of persons engaged in such activity. It is therefore difficult to know if gay people historically experienced their sexual activity as a series of isolated acts or if they formed a sense of identity of which their sexuality was an integral part.

The evolution of a homosexual identity is necessary to the development of a homosexual culture. Although this sense of identity may have existed earlier, it was only after the formulation of the medical model, in the later part of the nineteenth century, that a distinct homosexual identity emerged. Before the nineteenth century, some have argued there were homosexual acts, but no homosexuals. The new medical perception of sexuality in relation to the individual and not in relation to the moral or social order was the social change that allowed homosexual identity to come out. Sexuality was viewed as an intrinsic part of the personality structure. New trends in social thinking promoted the idea of the individual as a social entity as equally or more important than the larger social structures and conditions which shaped society and culture.

Because the religious, social, and legal prohibitions against homosexuals did not disappear, homosexual identity retained its stigma. However, although identified and defined as outcast, the homosexual counterculture developed a positive gay identity. (Bronski, Culture Clash The Making of Gay Sensibility, p. 8-9).

Whereas earlier historians have understood the medicalization of sexuality as a change of attitudes and labels only-for them, unchanging deviant sexual behaviors and feelings were no longer regarded as unnatural, sinful, or criminal but simply became diseases, relabeled and or medicalized by physicians- Foucault and other social constructivist historians have challenged this interpretation. They are not only critical of the view espousing that the medical model was a scientific step forward, but they also argue that the conception of nonreproductive sexuality as a sign of sickness was not merely a substitution for earlier denouncements of such activities as immoral. They emphasize that medical theories entailed a fundamental metamorphosis of the social and psychological reality of sexual deviants from a form of behavior to a way of being: irregular sexual acts were not just viewed as immoral, but as the manifestation of an underlying morbid condition. Inspired by Foucault, a number of sociologists and historians have geared their research toward the making of the modern homosexual, stressing that in the last decades of the nineteenth century, sexual deviance became a matter of personal identity (Plummer 1981; Hekma 1987; Greenberg 1988; Muller 1991; Rosario 1997). (Oosterhuis, Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity, p. 2 and 7)

In this book I will argue that Kraft-Ebing’s sexual pathology played a key role in the historic construction of the modern concept of sexuality. As far as the scientific discussion about sexuality is concerned, Sigmund Freud was not the radical pioneer is often thought to be. Freud built on medical theories of sexuality that had been formulate between 1870 and 1900, Kraft-Ebing’s being one of the most influential. Whereas other scholars have defined sexual modernism mainly as a reaction against Victorian prohibitions, in my view it is not only an ideology of sexual liberation, but even more an epistemological transformation, an individualization and psychologization of sexuality (cf. Robinson 1976; Davidson 1987 & 1990; Showalter 1991). The emergence of sexual identity is central to the modernization of sexuality. However, to believe that a transformation of such magnitude was caused merely by medical theories and practices would be overrating the power of the medical paradigm. (Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity, p. 9)

The radical implication of Foucault’s reasoning is that before, say, 1870 deviants like homosexuals, masochists, fetishists, and transsexuals did not exist, nor did their counterparts, normal heterosexuals. If this contention can be defended at all, it is still problematic that new sexual categories and identities are too easily seen as mere constructions of physicians. In other words, the disciplining effects of medical interference with sexuality are overemphasized. Individuals, labeled as patients and perverts, are mainly presented as passive victims of a medical juggernaut, with no other choice than to conform to medical stereotypes. Yet, the exclusive focus on the disciplinary constructions of medical discourse has resulted in a neglect of individual voices and the sociopsychological formation of sexual subjectivity. (Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity, p. 11)

In theories of medicalization, the relationship between doctors and patients is often conceptualized in a one-sided way. The medical profession is generally depicted as a coherent, overpowering social force that imposes its definitions, methods, and techniques on society, making people completely dependent on the whims of physicians. Of course, medically defined categories and symptoms may help individuals to order and make sense of their vague sensations and confusing experiences, but that does not mean that individual meanings automatically and only follow medical thinking. (Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity, p. 12)

Quasi-scientific concerns about what was regarded as sexually abnormal, such as "perversion" and masturbation, long predated the late-nineteenth century. Julie Peakman argues that perversion existed as a moral category associated with sex as early as the late-seventeenth century. But in the quest to develop greater critical insights into sexual phenomena, the investigation of sexuality underwent a distinct semantic shift in the nineteenth century. Sexual perversion was defined from the 1830s most often as a form of "moral insanity," a disorder of the emotions, instincts, and will caused by neurological or other organic problems. Ivan Crozier suggests that this association of perversions with moral insanity made sexuality an obvious concern for the newly emergent profession of psychiatry in the nineteenth century. The new science of sexology posed questions of sexual deviance in novel ways. As Arnold Davidson demonstrates, sexology grappled with sexual deviance as a psychic identity rather than with the assessment of sexual practices or physical signs. This shift away from the description of sexual behaviors was consistent with a broader transfer of interest in the nineteenth century from the consequence of acts to their causes, and a general preoccupation with impulses that drive behaviors. (Brady, Homosexuality: European and Colonial Encounters, p. 45-46 in A Cultural History of Sexuality Volume 5 In The Age of the Empire, Chiara Beccalossi and Ivan Crozier editors.)

In fact, it was medical and psychiatric theories more than any other factor that contributed to the specification of homosexuality to use Michel Foucault’s terminology. For a long time, medical literature on the subject was marked by a clash of contradictory definitions and by a multiplicity of competing terms, all claiming to come closest to what actually constituted homosexuality (inversion, uranism, unisexuality, bisexuality, psychic hermaphrodism, contrary sexual feeling and so on). (Tamagne, The Homosexual Age, 1870-1940, p. 167 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.)

At the end of the 19th century it was theorists of degeneracy who held sway: figures such as Richard von Kraft-Ebing (Psychopathia Sexualis, 1885) and Albert Moll (Contrary Sexual Feeling, 1891), followed by thinkers who included Otto Weininger (Sex and Character, 1903) and Max Nordau, a disciple of Cesare Lombross (Degeneration, 1895). (Tamagne, The Homosexual Age, 1870-1940, p. 167-168 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.)

Around this time, homosexuality was defined as a perversion which might be innate (the born invert) and therefore could not be viewed as a criminal activity, but which also might be acquired (through seduction, prostitution and vice) and therefore should be given appropriate treatment. Although some psychiatrists, such as Jean-Martin Charcot and Victor Magnan (whose article in the Archives de neurology in 1882), stressed the virle qualities of their patients, the majority f doctors agreed that there were incontrovertible signs of femininity in homosexuals. (Tamagne, The Homosexual Age, 1870-1940, p. 168 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.)

At the end of the eighteenth century the medical world adopted the Church’s view of homosexuality, and it became an illness, or at least a disability, which could be diagnosed by clinical examination. (Aries, Philippe. Thoughts on the History of Homosexuality, p.66 in Western Sexuality Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times editors Philippe Aries and Andre Bejin.)

Although the foundations for change were laid in the eighteenth century, the transition from the religious model to the medical model of homosexuality occurred mainly during the nineteenth and took firm hold during the first half of the twentieth century. It has been argued that one of the casual factors for the change was the attempt of certain elements in the medical to bolster traditional attitudes toward sex-attitudes that were being challenged by new rationalism of the period. (Hubert, The Third Sex Theory of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs p. 103 in Historical Perspectives on Homosexuality edited by Salvatore J. Licata, PhD and Robert P. Petersen.)

The argument of a biological instead of divine nature directed thinking about sex from the late eighteen-century, as the examples of gender and onanism also indicate. (Hekma, Same-sex relations among men in Europe, 1700-1990, p.82 in Sexual Cultures in Europe Themes in sexuality. Eder, Franz X., Lesley A. Hall, and Gert Hekma editors.)

Since the eighteenth century, the norm has been a powerful force in the regulation of sex, restricting the normal sexuality to heterosexuality and the family. Sexuality outside of this norm became deviant sexuality and the object of severe public regulation. The authority of the norm was reinforced by the medical and psychiatric professions and by the enforcement of laws dealing with perversions, these replaced the authority of the church in the regulation of sexual behavior. (Pronger, The Arena of Masculinity Sports, Homosexuality, and the Meaning of Sex, p.86)

The words ’homosexuality’ and ’lesbian love’ do not predate the second half of the nineteenth-century. Moreover, it was only in this period that the medical professions began to consider homosexuality a perversion the study of which belonged in the field of sexual psychopathology. Such developments strongly suggest that homosexuality as we know it is a recent phenomenon. (Bremmer, Greek pederasty and modern homosexuality, p. in From Sappho to De Sade, editor.)

The attitudinal shift described by Proust neatly illustrates the nineteenth-century replacement of predominantly Christian taxonomies of sexual sin with biological and psychological based primarily on congenital, psychiatric and legal conceptions of the modern subject. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 2)

Whilst the majority of nineteenth-century sexologists were interested in establishing firm parameters for what is healthy and normal ex negativo, it was precisely the activity of challenging conceptions of such seemingly natural standards which made the arena of the perverse so appealing to modernist writers, many of whom began to revalorize conceptions of the perversions at the beginning pf the twentieth century, paving the way for a shift from the notion of sexual deviance to that of sexual difference. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 4)

A scientia sexualis emerged at that time as a new scientific field of investigation which combined insights from medicine and forensic science, psychiatry and psychology, anthropology, biology and genetics. Sexology constituted a systematic attempt to identify, classify and contain the proliferation of the sexual perversions. Whilst questions relating to sexual behaviour were previously negotiated in the domains of theology, law and philosophy, and assessed with recourse to notions of sin, crime and moral failure, sexual deviance gradually became a concern of physicians and psychiatrists. Pre-modern sexual deviance was essentially seen as a crime against nature. The Church delineated the parameters of what was natural, and the state and the community policed the boundaries. In the second half of the nineteenth century, however, sexual deviance was no longer understood primarily in terms of sinful and moral behaivour, but increasingly categorized as either natural or unnatural: healthy and sick, normal and pathological, emerged as the new yardsticks in the field. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 4-5)

The preoccupation with perversion is a specifically modern phenomenon, the product of various political, sociological, cultural and technological processes which can be subsumed under the term modernity commonly seen to be a period commencing with the French Revolution in 1789. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 5)

Most of these perversions are directly linked to specifically modern socio-political transformations, such as shifts in conception of gender roles, the emergence of the notions of individualism and romantic love, the widening division between public and private life, the rapid rise of consumer culture and growing urbanization. Urbanization and industrialization facilitated the emergence of subcultures, weakened the influence of the family and the rural community, and loosened the distinctions between classes and the sexes. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 11)

In terms of aetiology, the psychiatrists were firm advocates of hereditary over environment. They wrote of an innate predisposition, some physiological impulse in the brain, which would sooner or later be triggered off by some external phenomenon. (Copley, Sexual Moralities in France 1780-1980, p.139)

The medical stereotype of homosexuality had fixed the homosexual in place during the nineteen-century: his so-called abnormality was no longer confined to individual sexual acts, but was part of his psychological makeup, his looks, and bodily structure.; (Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, p 37.)

The term homosexual derived from medicine and only slowly replaced the traditional sodomite during the second half of the nineteen-century. (Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, p. 25)

Homosexuals provide a particularly useful example of how the line between the normal and abnormal was to be ever more closely drawn through the rise of respectability and its emphasis on manliness. They were thought to symbolize not only the confusion of sexes but also sexual excess-the violation of a delicate balance of passions. (Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, p. 25)

Indeed as the nineteen century progressed, it was the doctors who did the most to stimulate awareness of homosexuality as a social concern; to some extent they replaced the ministers of religion as guardians of normality. (Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, p. 27)

The medical analysis of homosexuality during the nineteenth century helped demarcate a clear boundary between normal and abnormal sexuality. Forensic medicine came to the aid of judges and juries trying to enforce the laws against sodomy by developing a stereotype for use in identifying homosexuals. (Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, p 27.)

The modern sexual perversions, which include homosexuality, sadism, masochism, fetishism, voyeurism and exhibitionism, preoccupied the cultural imagination, and were first systemically defined by Kraft-Ebbing and later canonized by Freud in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, first published in 1905. As distinctly modern medico-psychological constructions, these so-called perversions are bound up with central concerns of secular modernity, for they emerge from and are responses to, specific cultural, historical, political and scientific dynamics. (Schaffner, Modernism and Perversion Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature 1850-1930, p. 2-3)

Today it is common place to identify inversion as a radically new sexual identity and the invert as the intermediate ancestor to the modern homosexual. The birth of the invert is more historically complex, however, for he did not spring fully formed from the mind of German physicians in 1869. This chapter will show how Charcot and Magnan molded inverts out of prior neurological and medicolegal theories concerning pederasts, hysterics, and neurodegenerates-figures who were culturally and socially recognized in the late nineteenth century. The emerging medical investigation of perverted sexual instincts was not simply an isolated, objective research program but also a manifestation of larger cultural concerns beyond the hospital. Therefore, my genealogy from the pederast to the homosexual interweaves biomedical theories and extra scientific strands of influence professional concerns, class and gender anxieties, natalist preoccupations, national rivalries, and literary controversies. (Rosario, The Erotic Imagination French Histories of Perversity, p. 70-71)

Whereas earlier historians have understood the medicalization of sexuality as a change of attitudes and labels only-for them, unchanging deviant sexual behaviors and feelings were no longer regarded as unnatural, sinful, or criminal but simply became diseases, relabeled and or medicalized by physicians- Foucault and other social constructivist historians have challenged this interpretation. They are not only critical of the view espousing that the medical model was a scientific step forward, but they also argue that the conception of nonreproductive sexuality as a sign of sickness was not merely a substitution for earlier denouncements of such activities as immoral. They emphasize that medical theories entailed a fundamental metamorphosis of the social and psychological reality of sexual deviants from a form of behavior to a way of being: irregular sexual acts were not just viewed as immoral, but as the manifestation of an underlying morbid condition. Inspired by Foucault, a number of sociologists and historians have geared their research toward the making of the modern homosexual, stressing that in the last decades of the nineteenth century, sexual deviance became a matter of personal identity (Plummer 1981; Hekma 1987; Greenberg 1988; Muller 1991; Rosario 1997). (Oosterhuis, Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity, p. 2)

Bibliography

Aldrich, Robert editor. Gay Life and Culture: A World History. Thames and Hudson. London, 2006.

Aldrich, Robert. Gay and Lesbian History, p. 1- 27 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.

Aries, Philippe. Thoughts on the History of Homosexuality, p.62-75 in Western Sexuality Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times editors Philippe Aries and Andre Bejin.

Aries, Philippe and Andre Bejin, editors. Western Sexuality Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times. Basil Blackwell Ltd. Oxford,UK, 1985.

Beccalossi, Chiara and Ivan Crozier editors. A Cultural History of Sexuality Volume 5 In The Age of the Empire. Berg. Oxford and New York, 2011.

Betteridge, Tom. Editor. Sodomy in Early Modern Europe. Manchester UniversityPress. Manchestor and New York, 2002.

Brady, Sean, Homosexuality: European and Colonial Encounters, p. 43-62 in A Cultural History of Sexuality Volume 5 In The Age of the Empire, Chiara Beccalossi and Ivan Crozier editors.)

Bronski, Michael. Culture Clash The Making of Gay Sensibility. South End Press. Boston, 1984.

Connell, R. W. and G. W. Dowsett. Rethinking Sex: Social Theory and Sexuality Research. Melbourne University Press. Melbourne, 1992.

Copley, Antony. Sexual Moralities in France 1780-1980. Routledge. London and New York, 1989.

Dean, Carolyn J. Sexuality and Modern Western Culture. Twayne Publishers. New York, 1996.

De Cecco, John P. “Confusing the Actor With the Act: Muddled Notions About Homosexuality.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1990. Vol.19, No.4, 409-412.

De Cecco, PhD., John P. and David Allen Parker, MA editors. Sex, Cells, and Same-Sex Desire: The Biology of Sexual Preference. Harrington Park Press, New York, 1995.

Eder, Franz X., Lesley A. Hall, & Gert Hekma editors. Sexual Cultures in Europe Themes in Sexuality. Manchester University Press. Manchester & New York, 1999.

Edwards, Tim. Erotics and Politics Gay male sexuality, masculinity and feminism. Routledge. London and New York, 1994.

Friedman, Robert M. “The Psychoanalytic Model of Male Homosexuality: A Historical and Theoretical Critique.” The Psychoanalytic Review. Winter 1986, Vol.73, No.4, 483-519.

Herdt, Gilbert. Same Sex, Different Cultures: Gays and Lesbians Across Cultures.

Hunter, Ski, Coleen Shannon, Jo Knox and James I. Martin. Lesbian, Gay, and BisexualYouths and Adults: Knowledge for Humans Services Practice. Sage Publications. Thousand Oaks, CA, 1998.

Licata, Salvatore J. PhD and Robert P Petersen. Historical Perspectives on Homosexuality. The Haworth Press, Inc. and Stein and Day/Publishers. New York, 1981.

McIntosh, Mary. “The Homosexual Role.” Social Problems. 1968, 16, 182-192.

Minton, Henry L. Departing From Deviance. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago and London, 2002.

Moose, George L. Nationalism and Sexuality Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI and London, 1985.

Mottier, Veronique. Sexuality A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. Oxford and New York, 2008.

Oosterhuis, Harry. Stepchildren of Nature Kraft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity. The university of Chicago Press. Chicago and London, 2000.

Pronger, Brian. The Arena of Masculinity Sports, Homosexuality, and the Meaning of Sex.St. Martin’s Press. New York, 1990.

Salih, Sarah. Sexual identities: a medieval perspective. p. 112-130 in Sodomy in Early Modern Europe edited by Tom Betteridge.

Schaffner, Anna Katharina. Modernism and Perversion. Sexual Deviance in Sexology Literature, 1850-1930. Palgrave MacMillan. Hanpshire, England and New York, 2012.

Seidman, Steven. Embattled Eros: Sexual Politics and Ethnics in Contemporary America. Routledge. New York, 1992.

Tamagne, Florence. The Homosexual Age, 1870-1940, p. 166- 195 in Gay Life and Culture: A World History editor Robert Aldrich.

Watney, Simon. “Emergent Sexual Idenitties and HIV/AIDS” p. 13-27 in AIDS Facing The Second Decade. Peter Aggelton, Peter Davies and Graham Hart, editors The Falmer Press. London, New York and Philadelphia, 1993.

Weeks, Jeffery. Sexuality and Its Discontents Meanings, Myths and Modern Sexualities. Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1988.


Signatures: 0

forum

Date Name Message