Last updated on: 8/15/2013 | Author: ProCon.org

Historical Timeline

History of the Born Gay Debate & Theories of Sexual Orientation

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2900 BC - 1810

2900-146 BC - Same-Sex Relations Practiced in Ancient Greece

Bust of Plato.
Source: www.ancientgreece.com (accessed Dec. 19, 2011)

"As has been frequently noted, the ancient Greeks [roughly 2900-146 BC] did not have terms or concepts that correspond to the contemporary dichotomy of ‘heterosexual’ and ‘homosexual’… Probably the most frequent assumption of sexual orientation is that persons can respond erotically to beauty in either sex.”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy "Homosexuality," plato.stanford.edu, Aug. 6, 2002, updated Feb. 11, 2011


Greek philosopher Plato said that the army should be composed of male lovers: "If there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their loves, they would be the very best governors of their own city, abstaining from all dishonor, and emulating one another in honour; and when fighting at each other’s side, although a mere handful, they would overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his army? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this.”

Plato   Symposium, roughly 360 BC, translated by Benjamin Jowett

529 - Roman Law Orders Execution for Homosexual Acts

"Ancient Rome had many parallels in its understanding of same-sex attraction, and sexual issues more generally, to ancient Greece. This is especially true under the Republic. Yet under the Empire, Roman society slowly became more negative in its views towards sexuality, probably due to social and economic turmoil, even before Christianity became influential..."

In 529, the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I issued Justinian's Code, which ordered that "persons who engaged in homosexual sex were to be executed, although those who were repentant could be spared."

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy    "Homosexuality," plato.stanford.edu, Aug. 6, 2002, updated Feb. 11, 2011

1225-1274 - Aquinas Says Homosexuality Is against Natural Law

"The most famous professor at the University of Paris in the thirteenth century was of course St Thomas Aquinas, who in his Summa Theologica established a rational basis for antihomosexual prejudice by defining the peccata contra naturam [sins against nature] as the greatest sin of lust, specifically founded upon pleasure rather than procreation. He declared that 'right reason' would always see procreation as the purpose of intercourse, and his philosophical condemnation of homosexuality became the precedent for all theological and intellectual discourse upon the subject. His views are the foundation for most modern declarations against homosexual acts by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.”

Rictor Norton, PhD     "The Medieval Basis of Modern Law," A History of Homophobia, https://rictornorton.co.uk, Apr. 15, 2002, updated June 15, 2008

1533 - First Anti-Homosexual Law Passed in England

"The Act (25 Henry 8, chapter 6) adjudges buggery [sodomy] a felony punishable by hanging until dead. The Buggery Act was piloted through Parliament by Thomas Cromwell in an effort to support Henry VIII's plan for reducing the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts, as the first step towards depriving them of the right to try certain offences, which supported his policy of seizing Church property.”

Rictor Norton, PhD     "The Medieval Basis of Modern Law," A History of Homophobia, https://rictornorton.co.uk, Apr. 15, 2002, updated June 15, 2008

1610 - First Sodomy Law Passed in Colonial America

"Virginia's 1610 code made rape, adultery, and sodomy capital offenses... In 1624-25 Captain Richard Cornish was tried and executed for assaulting and sodomizing William Cowse (or Couse), an indentured servant and steward on the ship Ambrose. This is the only recorded sentence of death for sodomy or buggery in Virginia…Other Southern and middle colonies (Georgia, the Carolinas, Maryland, Delaware, New York) followed the Virginia model, where sodomy –which again was not clearly defined—was a capital offense, but almost never enforced.”

William N. Eskridge, Jr., PhD     Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003, 2008

1655 - New Haven Mandates Death Sentence for Sexual Relations between Women

"The New Haven Colony becomes the only American colony to enact a sodomy law that explicitly criminalizes sexual acts between women, an offense which is made punishable by death."

Ed. Marc Stein Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America, 2003

July 1772 - Sodomy Trial in England Stirs Public Debate about Homosexuality

In July, Captain Robert Jones is convicted in England for sodomizing a 13-year-old boy. The age of consent at the time is 14. Sentenced to death, he is pardoned by the King on condition that he leaves the country. The case, and whether nature or nurture determines homosexuality is debated in England:

"[N]ot only the entire literate class, but even labourers who had newspapers read to them at taverns—would have been made fully aware of homosexuality: from explicit detailed descriptions of anal intercourse and masturbation; to legal, religious, and social attitudes to homosexuality; to supposed characteristics of homosexual men; to its prevalence across society. The attitudes to homosexuality reflected in the newspapers ranged from simple stereotypical homophobia... to more complex attitudes which included a defence of homosexuality on the grounds that it was a natural trait."

Rictor Norton, PhD     "The First Public Debate about Homosexuality in England: The Case of Captain Jones, 1772," The Gay Subculture in Georgian England, https://rictornorton.co.uk, Apr. 3, 2007

1791-1810 - France Decriminalizes Sodomy

Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès.
Source: www.napoleon-empire.com (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

"The European decriminalization of sodomy began in post-Revolutionary France. The Constituent Assembly abrogated laws criminalizing ‘crimes against nature' in 1791 when it abolished ecclesiastical courts. This followed from the broader spirit of Enlightenment legal reform that protected the private sphere from state intrusion. The public and minors were still deemed to require state protection; therefore, the Law of 19-22 July 1791 and the Napoleonic Penal Code of 1810 criminalized ‘debauchery or corruption' of minors of either sex and ‘offenses against public decency' including sex in public places such as parks or bathrooms. However, the Code Napoléon never criminalized homosexuality itself thanks to the influence of Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, the Second Consul who was a homosexual man.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1811 - 1919

1857 - Sodomy Linked to Mental Insanity

In France, "men arrested under suspicion of public sex were subjected to medical exams to help determine if anal sex had taken place. Therefore, medico-legal experts were the first to become interested in the scientific study of sexuality in the 19th century. Ambroise Auguste Tardieu (1818-1879) published his Medico-Legal Study of Offenses Against Public Decency (1857). Tardieu argued that penile and anal physical stigmata invariably betrayed inveterate sodomites. Furthermore, he suggested there were psychological and behavioral traits (such as effeminacy and cross-dressing), that betrayed a subset of exclusive sodomites who he believed suffered from a form of insanity.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1859 - Darwin Introduces Natural Selection Theory

First edition print of On the Origin of Species (1859).
Source: University of South Carolina Library's Rare Books & Special Collections, https://library.sc.edu

Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. "Darwin's long-lived innovation was to posit natural selection as the key to evolution. Natural selection is said to occur when environmental conditions favor one variant trait over another. If that variation is genetic and it is reproductively advantageous—that is, if it somehow enables the possessor ultimately to leave behind more offspring than peers who lack that variation—then, according to natural selection theory, over time the species will come to exhibit that trait consistently…

Darwin could not account for all he saw simply with his natural selection theory, so he developed a corollary theory called ‘sexual selection,' which states that a trait may be ‘selected' directly by a mate…

Homosexuality would seem hard to explain via natural selection or sexual selection because it would appear to be reproductively disadvantageous. Nevertheless, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century theorists did use evolutionary theory to explain how homosexuality could arise by ‘mistake.'”

George E. Haggerty, PhD     "Evolution,” Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, 2000

1864-1879 - Third-Sex Theory of Homosexuality Developed

Portrait of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs.
Source: Wikimedia Commons (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

"Karl Ulrichs, theorist of homosexual law and advocate of social rights for homosexuals, developed the third-sex theory of homosexuality, the concept that a homosexual was a female soul trapped in the male body. Ulrichs expounded the theory and argued for the decriminalization of homosexuality in a series of booklets written between 1864 and 1879 under the pseudonym Numa Numantius. He collected them into a single volume where he coined the word Urning—in English Uranian—to denote homosexuals and in an attempt to cancel the negative imputations associated with sodomite. His third-sex theory had considerable influence on European and English writers."

Byrne Fone, PhD     The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature: Readings from Western Antiquity to the Present Day, 2001

May 6, 1868 - Term "Homosexual” First Used

"The word Homosexualität was coined by the German-Hungarian Károly Mária Kertbeny (born Karl Maria Benkert; 1824–82). It is a compound of Greek homo, same, and Medieval Latin sexualis, sexual, and was coined along the lines of the late eighteenth-century French botanical terms unisexuel and bisexuel... It occurs first in a letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs dated 6 May 1868, and then in two pamphlets published in 1869 in Leipzig arguing for reform of Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code penalizing sexual relations between men...

Kertbeny invented the term ‘homosexuality’ as part of an argument that it was natural, and a matter of private behaviour which should be beyond the interference of the law. He intended it to be used as a neutral, non-prejudicial term within legal arguments, which centred on the concept of equal rights and protection of minorities. ‘Homosexuality’ thus originated not as a medical term, but rather as a neutral, legal, scientific term...

The word ‘homosexual’ did not appear in English until 1891, in John Addington Symonds’ A Problem in Modern Ethics where he used the phrase ‘homosexual instincts.’ No one seems to have remarked on the irony that the first English person to write the word ‘homosexual’ already was a homosexual long before he put pen to paper."

Rictor Norton, PhD     "'The Term 'Homosexual,'" https://rictornorton.co.uk, June 1, 2002, updated June 19, 2008

1871 - Anti-Gay Law Established under Germany's Second Reich

"...[W]hen King Wilhelm established the Second Reich in 1871 he reversed the general tendency towards legalization, and adopted the harsh Prussian code for the entire nation. The anti-gay law in question is Paragraph 175, which outlawed ‘lewd and unnatural behavior' prescribing prison sentences ranging from one day to five years.

The adoption of this code was a major setback to the work of the world's first gay rights activist, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-95). He had been arguing the case in humerous pamphlets that homosexuality was as natural as left-handedness, and that gays were entitled to full civil rights including marriage. In 1871 he was forced to stop publishing his pamphlets; eventually he went into exile to Aquilla in the Southern Appenines, where he died in 1895.”

Rictor Norton, PhD     "'One Day They Were Simply Gone': The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals," https://rictornorton.co.uk, Aug. 10, 2010

1886 - Krafft-Ebing Defines Homosexuality as a Hereditary Degeneration

Richard von Krafft-Ebing with his wife Maria Luise.
Source: Wikimedia Commons (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis with Especial Reference to the Antipathic Sexual Instinct: A Medico-Forensic Study (1886) was first published as a small booklet and then vastly expanded over the years into an encyclopedia of sexuality. Krafft-Ebing introduced many terms into the medical nosology such as ‘sadism' and ‘masochism'… Krafft-Ebing initially presented homosexuality as a severe manifestation of hereditary degeneration, but as he met more homosexuals over the years, towards the end of his life he argued that homosexuals could be perfectly respectable and functional individuals.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007


"Krafft-Ebing's works were the starting point for the treatment of ‘abnormal' sexuality by Freud and Jung, to cite only two of the major figures who came after him.”

Wayne R. Dynes, PhD     "GLBT Life in the Great Cities of the World,” Dyneslines, https://homolexis.blogspot.com, July 2, 2011

1887 - Pueblo Indians Attempt to Make Men Impotent for Homosexual Acts

American neurologist William A. Hammond describes in a book about impotence the practice of a "mujerado” among Pueblo Indians:

"A mujerado is an essential person in the saturnalia or orgies, in which these Indians, like the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and other nations indulge. He is the chief passive agent in the pederastic ceremonies, which form so important a part in the performances…For the making of a mujerado, one of the most virile men is selected, and the act of masturbation is performed upon him many times every day. At the same time he is made to ride almost continuously on horseback…It eventually happens that though an orgasm may be caused, emissions can no longer be effected; even upon the most intense degree of excitation. Finally the accomplishment of an orgasm becomes impossible. In the meantime the penis and testicles begin to shrink, and in time reach their lowest plane of degradation. Erections then altogether cease.

But the most decided change are at the same time going on little by little in the instincts and proclivities of the subject….Indeed, his endeavor seems to be to assimilate himself as much as possible to the female sex, and to get rid as far as may be of all attributes, mental and physical, of manhood."


1892 - Early Use of the Term "Homosexual" in the United States

In the Chicago Medical Journal, "Dr. Kiernan's article of 1892 also included one of the earliest-known uses of the word 'homosexual' in American English. Kiernan defined 'Pure homosexuals' as persons whose 'general mental state is that of the opposite sex.' Kiernan thus defined homosexuals by their deviance from a gender norm.”

Jonathan Ned Katz   "The Invention of Heterosexuality,” Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, 1998

1896 - Hirschfeld Links Bisexuality to Embryonic Development

Magnus Hirschfeld, MD, a 19th century German physician, wrote the following information in the pamphlet Sappho and Socrates:

"In the embryonic state, people are bisexual, but in the course of their natural development, most lose their desire for members of the same sex. These people are the heterosexuals, who love members of the opposite sex. Another category consists of those individuals whose sexual organs develop normally but in whom the desire for same-sex individuals in the feeling center fails to recede. The results are men who love men and women who love women."

Magnus Hirschfeld, MD      Sappho and Socrates, 1896

1897 - Sexual Inversion Argues That Homosexuality May Be an Inborn Abnormality

In 1897, Havelock Ellis [British physician] and John Addington Symonds [English poet] publish the influential book Sexual Inversion in London, which argues that homosexuality is an inborn abnormality.

"[In England and the United States] all our traditions and all our moral ideals, as well as the law, are energetically opposed to every manifestation of homosexual passion. It requires a very strong impetus to go against this compact social force which on every side constrains the individual into the paths of heterosexual love. That impetus, in a well-bred individual who leads the normal life of his fellow-men and who feels the ordinary degree of respect for the social feeling surrounding him, can only be supplied by a fundamental—usually, it is probably, inborn,—perversion of the sexual instinct, rendering the individual organically abnormal."

Havelock Ellis, MD and John Addington Symonds Sexual Inversion, 1897


"The notion of sexual inversion continued to dominate medical thinking about homosexuality into the twentieth century as biomedical researchers employed the latest techniques to uncover it's [sic] biological basis.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1897 - First Gay Rights Organization Formed in Berlin

"[Adolf] Brand, [Magnus] Hirschfeld and Max Spohr got together in 1897 to establish the first gay rights organization, the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäaut;res Komittee (Scientific Humanitarian Committee). Though it had only 70 members by 1900, it nevertheless had managed to publish 23 books on homosexuality in its education efforts, and eventually it managed to collect several thousand signatures of prominent people on a petition to repeal Paragraph 175 [Germany's 1871 law outlawing homosexual acts].”
Rictor Norton, PhD "The Term 'Homosexual,' ” A Critique of Social Constructionism and Postmodern Queer Theory, https://www.rictornorton.co.uk, June 1, 2002, updated June 19, 2008
A 1907 political cartoon depicting Magnus Hirschfeld, ‘Hero of the Day,' drumming up support for the abolition of Paragraph 175. The banner reads, ‘Away with Paragraph 175!' The caption reads, ‘The foremost champion of the third sex!' Source: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)
 

1900-1923 - Karsch-Haack Argues Homosexuality Is Socially Constructed

German entomologist and ethnologist Ferdinand Karsch-Haack wrote on homosexuality from 1900-1923.

"The most important feature of Karsch-Haack's writing was his strong cultural approach to homosexuality. For him, the development of sexual norms and behavior was socially constructed and he maintained that for the independent observer as well as for the person engaging in homosexual acts it was hardly possible to perceive a difference between ‘real' or ‘pseudo' or homosexuality, a differentiation which was very important for the typical medical ideas of that time. He ridiculed the typical medical approach where doctors and psychologists usually only came into contact with the mentally disturbed ‘Urnings' (homosexuals) and then considered these ‘sick people' as typical examples of all homosexuals…

Karsch-Haack described many other possible reasons besides an innate drive for same-sex behavior: ‘lack of opportunity, greed for profit, indigence, misery, the attraction of beauty, temptation, goodwill, curiosity, the drive for adventure, the imitative instinct, moral laxity or indifference.'”

Jens Damm, PhD     "Karsch-Haack, Ferdinand,” Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II, 2001

1904 - Hirschfeld Finds 2.2% of Population Is Homosexual

Hirschfeld collected material from various sources on the fre­quency of homosexual behavior in the population and the psychological profile of the homosexual personality. In 1904 Hirschfeld concluded that 2.2 percent of the population was exclusively homosexual, and that the figure was surprising only because so many of his subjects successfully hid their inclinations from a hostile world. The private lives of his subjects he examined from numerous aspects, in every one of which he found evidence that supported his theory of an innate third sex.”

Wayne R. Dynes, PhD     "Homostudies Three: The Comprehensive Paradigm in Gay Studies,” Dyneslines, https://homolexis.blogspot.com, Mar. 2, 2011

1905 - Freud Says That Bisexual Tendencies Are Universal

Sigmund Freud.
Source: www.clark.edu (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

In 1905's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, he [Sigmund Freud] put forward sexual theories, including his thoughts on the origins and meanings of homosexuality…Freud believed that homosexuality could be the natural outcome of normal development in some people. He noted that homosexuality could occur in individuals who had no other signs of deviation and no impairment in their functioning. However, he did not view homosexuality, or inversion as he called it, as a sign of illness, by which he meant a symptom arising from psychic conflict. Instead, he saw homosexuality as the unconflicted expression of an innate instinct. Freud believed in a constitutional bisexuality; that in every individual there was a certain component of masculine (active) as well as feminine (passive) tendencies. Although bisexual tendencies were universal, Freud believed some people were constitutionally endowed with more of one tendency than the other. He believed life experiences, particularly traumatic ones (environmental factors), could have an impact on the development and expression of one's innate instincts (biological factors)…

Freud saw adult homosexuality as a developmental arrest of childhood instincts which prevent the development of a more mature heterosexuality…"

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1914 - Rockefeller Family Begins to Support Sex Research in United States

"In the USA, the Rockefeller family takes an interest in sex research and begins to look for ways to support it. Over the next forty years, it makes substantial amounts of money available, first through the Bureau of Social Hygiene and later through the National Research Council (Division of Medical Sciences - Committee for Research in Problems of Sex). However, the scientists in charge are uncomfortable with the subject matter, refuse to investigate it, and instead use the funds for ‘uncontroversial' basic biological research. They also fail to set up a sexological library and collection or to publish a sexological journal or even a bibliography. Moreover, they refuse to invite Havelock Ellis or to support or even meet the exiled Magnus Hirschfeld and his fellow sexologists Wilhelm Reich, Ernst Gräfenberg, Bernhard Schapiro, and Hans Lehfeldt when they come to the US. Eventually, the Rockefeller Foundation provides at least some funds for the work of Alfred C. Kinsey. However, this support is all too soon withdrawn under pressure from conservative political and religious forces.”

Archive for Sexology (formerly known as Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology)   "Archive for Sexology: II. Pioneers (1896-1936)," www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/index.htm (accessed Nov. 22, 2011)

1917 - Rat Experiment Links Cause of Homosexuality to Glands

During the first decade of the twentieth century, [Eugen] Steinach [Viennese endocrinologist] performed transplantation of testes and ovaries in rats and guinea pigs. His research showed that these glands secrete hormones into the bloodstream that influence not only the animals' physical development but also their sexual behavior. These secretions, he argued were responsible for the ‘sexualization' of the brain as male or female. He suggested that sexualization occurs early in life, because the most dramatic effects were seen when the transplantations were performed shortly after birth…

In 1917 he published a sensational report in the Jahrbuch that described the results of transplanting a testicle from a heterosexual man into an ‘effeminate, passive homosexual man.' According to the report, the man was totally 'cured'—he was said to have lost all attraction to men and to have developed normal heterosexual feelings.”

Simon LeVay, PhD      Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, 1996

1920 - 1959

June 4, 1920 - US Military Criminalizes Sodomy

On June 4, 1920, a House of Representatives Subcommittee of the Committee on Military Affairs approved Revision to The Articles of War, which criminalized sodomy. Article 93 states: "Various Crimes.--Any person subject to military law who commits manslaughter, mayhem, arson, burglary, housebreaking, robbery, larceny, embezzlement, perjury, forgery, sodomy...shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."


1933-1944 - Nazis Persecute Homosexuals

"On June 23, 1935…the Nazis began a legal campaign against homosexuals by adding to paragraph 175 another law, 175a, which created ten new criminal offenses including kisses between men, embraces, even homosexual fantasies. The Gestapo and the SS, under the notoriously antihomosexual leadership of Heinrich Himmler, became involved in a steppedup [sic] campaign to work gays to death in the camps. Himmler is quoted as follows: ‘Just as we today have gone back to the ancient Germanic view of the question of marriage mixing different races, so too in our judgment of homosexuality a symptom of degeneracy that could destroy our race we must return to the guiding Nordic principle: extermination.'…

Overall, we can estimate the number of males convicted of homosexuality from 1933 [to] 1944 at between 50,000 to 63,000. The number of homosexuals incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camps is not known, much less the number who died there. Rudiger Lautmann in his Gesellschaft und Homosexualitat: Seminar … whose figures are used by Plant and other writers, estimates that somewhere between 5,000 to 15,000 homosexuals perished behind the barbedwire fences. These were victims who were labeled and processed as homosexuals. A figure of about 10,000 homosexuals is the one accepted by most scholars (although figures are thrown about wildly and estimates run as high as Jean Boisson's one million dead.)”

Jack Nusan Porter, PhD     "Genocide of Homosexuals,” Center for Holocaust & Gender Studies, www.chgs.umn.edu, Oct. 10, 1998

1935 - Freud Doubts That Sexual Conversion Is Possible

"In his 1935 ‘Letter to an American Mother,' he [Freud] reassures a woman asking him to ‘cure' her son, that:

‘Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) ... By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way, we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies which are present in every homosexual, in the majority of cases it is no more possible.' ”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1935 - High Concentration of Estrogen Found in Homosexuals' Urine

"In 1935, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, Clifford Wright, reported that the hormone levels in the urine of gay men differed from those seen in heterosexual men: the urine contained a lower concentration of androgens and a higher concentration of estrogens. In a word, the gay men's urine was feminized, suggesting that the hormones in their blood were feminized too.”

Simon LeVay, PhD      Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, 1996

1936 - Moll Develops Therapy to Convert Homosexuals to Heterosexuals

"Albert Moll was the preeminent neurologist and sexologist at the turn of the century before being eclipsed by Freud…in his autobiography of 1936, Ein Leben als Arzt der Seele, he roundly attacked those (such as Magnus Hirschfeld) who believed that homosexuality was inborn rather than acquired. Moll developed an ‘association therapy' for homosexuality that attempted to covert homosexuals into het-eroseuxals by changing the environmental influences that combined with the inborn disposition to cause homosexuality.”

Adam Hedgecoe, PhD     "Moll, Albert (1862-1939),” Gay Histories and Cultures: An Encyclopedia, 2000

1940 - Rado Defines Homosexuality as a Phobia of the Opposite Sex

"...Sandor Rado's theory of homosexuality would eventually supplant Freud's. In a 1940 article, ‘A Critical Examination of the Concept of Bisexuality,' Rado argued that Freud's theory of bisexuality was based on a faulty 19th century belief in embryonic hermaphroditism, a disproved hypothesis that every embryo had the potential to become an anatomical man or a woman. Since the original theory upon which Freud had based his belief in bisexuality had been disproven, Rado claimed heterosexuality as the only nonpathological outcome of human sexual development.

Rado viewed homosexuality as a phobic avoidance of the other sex caused by parental prohibitions against childhood sexuality. Almost all of the mid-twentieth century psychoanalytic theorists who pathologized homosexuality followed Rado's theory in one form or another. The psychoanalytic shift from Freud's theory of immaturity (homosexuality as a normal developmental step toward adult heterosexuality) to Rado's theory of pathology (homosexuality as a sign of development gone awry) led some analysts to optimistically claim that they could ‘cure' homosexuality."

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1942 - US Military Creates Policy for Rejecting Homosexuals

"As the United States prepared for World War II, psychiatric screening became a part of the induction process and psychiatry's view of homosexuality as an indicator of psychopathology was introduced into the military. Instead of retaining its previous focus on homosexual behavior, which was classified as a criminal offense, the military shifted to eliminating homosexual persons, based on a medical rationale. In 1942, revised army mobilization regulations included for the first time a paragraph defining both the homosexual and ‘normal' person and clarifying procedures for rejecting gay draftees."

Gregory M. Herek, PhD      "Facts about Homosexuality and Mental Health,” Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1944 - Homosexual Conversions Attempted at Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Endocrinologist Carl Vaernet.
Source: ukinet.com (accessed Feb. 17, 2012)

"Among the darkest episodes in the history of research on homosexuality was the set of experiments carried out by the Danish endocrinologist Carl Vaernet at Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944. Vaernet had developed an ‘artificial male sex gland,' a slow release capsule that, once implanted under the skin, was supposed to deliver testosterone into the circulation for a prolonged period. He suggested to the Nazi medical authorities that the artificial gland could be used to convert gay men to heterosexuality…Vaernet implanted the capsules in at least ten male homosexual prisoners. At least one of the prisoners died during the experiment but Vaernet reported success with some of the others…

The apparent changes in sexual orientation were presumably feigned in an attempt to receive a discharge from the camp.”

Simon LeVay, PhD      Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, 1996

1945 - Homosexual Holocaust Survivors Excluded from Restitution Payments

"Gay men (and women) were thus stigmatized for many years after the war. Unlike Jews and other victims, they could not receive wiedergutmachung (restitution) payments, since West German courts decreed that gays had been criminals under the Nazis and thus not eligible for such payments. Furthermore, under the Nuremberg Laws in which genocide was defined after the war, the killing of homosexuals was not considered a crime against humanity or a war crime. In addition, gay men and women who wished to emigrate from Europe af[t]er World War II had to keep their sexual identity secret because many nations, including the United States, enforced laws that forbade homosexuals from immigrating or even visiting those countries.”

Jack Nusan Porter, PhD     Genocide of Homosexuals,” Center for Holocaust & Gender Studies, www.chgs.umn.edu, Oct. 10, 1998

Mar. 1, 1945 - Study Defines Homosexuality as a "Biological Anomaly"

Two psychiatrists working with the US Navy publish a study about homosexuality in The American Journal of Psychiatry:

"[I]t is erroneous to assume that homosexuality can be environmental or acquired. True homosexuality cannot be induced merely through environmental exposure...

it has been our experience that the majority of inverts display evidence of physical as well as psychic traits of effeminacy—an effeminate manner, appearance, temperament and interest. Delicacy of speech and movement, high-pitched voices, esthetic interests, feminine body configuration and ‘white-collar' occupations were particularly noticeable…

We, therefore, conclude that homosexualism is not an acquired vice but a biological anomaly. The homosexual personality, like the boy with Froelich's syndrome, who is the victim of endocrine imbalance, is neither the result of bad environment nor an undue mother attachment…

We are gradually coming to the realization that the homosexual suffers from a regrettable sexual anomaly, but otherwise is a normal, productive individual, who is neither a burden nor a detriment to society."

Herbert Greenspan, MC and John D. Campbell, MC "The Homosexual as a Personality Type,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, Mar. 1, 1945

1948 - "Kinsey Scale" Introduced

The Kinsey Scale.
Source: Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

"The Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, sometimes referred to as the ‘Kinsey Scale,' was developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues Wardell Pomeroy and Clyde Martin in 1948, in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit into neat and exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories...

As Kinsey writes in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948):

'Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats…The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.'"

Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction "Kinsey's Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale," www.kinseyinstitute.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2011)


Kinsey found that "8% of males were ex[c]lusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55."

Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction "Data from Alfred Kinsey's Studies,” kinseyinstitute.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2011)

Late 1940s-1950 - Lavender Scare in the United States

"In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Republican demagogues charged that homosexuals had infiltrated the federal government under the Roosevelt and Truman administrations and that they posed a threat to national security. They considered communists and homosexuals both to be morally weak and psychologically disturbed. They also argued that homosexuals could be used by the communists—blackmailed by them—into revealing state secrets. This set off a Lavender Scare that affected the lives of thousands of Americans.

Much of the vast apparatus of the Cold War loyalty/security system, initiated under the Truman administration and expanded under the Eisenhower administration, was focused on ferreting out and removing both communists and homosexuals from government positions. Civil servants describe horrendous interrogations by government security officials about their sex lives. Merely associating with ‘known homosexuals' or visiting a gay bar was considered strong enough evidence for dismissal.

Though a congressional committee spent several months in 1950 studying the threat homosexuals allegedly posed to national security, they could not find a single example of a gay or lesbian civil servant who was blackmailed into revealing state secrets-not one. Subsequent studies have confirmed this. But the myth of the homosexual as vulnerable to blackmail and therefore a security risk endured for decades.”

David K. Johnson, PhD     Interview on www.gaytoday.com (accessed Nov. 23, 2011)

1951 - Widespread Homosexuality Found in Nonhuman Species and Human Societies

"In a review of published scientific studies and archival data, Ford and Beach (1951) found that homosexual behavior was widespread among various nonhuman species and in a large number of human societies. They reported that homosexual behavior of some sort was considered normal and socially acceptable for at least some individuals in 64% of the 76 societies in their sample; in the remaining societies, adult homosexual activity was reported to be totally absent, rare, or carried on only in secrecy."

Gregory M. Herek, PhD      "Facts about Homosexuality and Mental Health,” Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1952 - American Psychiatric Association Classifies Homosexuality as a Mental Illness

"Homosexuality had been officially classified as a mental disorder in the APA's [American Psychiatric Association] first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-1) in 1952. There it was designated as a ‘sociopathic personality disturbance.' Viewing homosexuality as a mental illness was not controversial at the time as it coincided with prevailing societal attitudes.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

Sep. 14, 1953 - Kinsey Publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Female

Alfred Kinsey conducts an interview.
Source: Photographer William Dellenback, The Kinsey Institute (accessed on Jan. 6, 2011)

"The Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, sometimes referred to as the ‘Kinsey Scale,' was developed by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues Wardell Pomeroy and Clyde Martin in 1948, in order to account for research findings that showed people did not fit into neat and exclusive heterosexual or homosexual categories...

As Kinsey writes in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948):

'Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats…The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.'"

Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction "Kinsey's Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale," www.kinseyinstitute.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2011)


Kinsey found that "8% of males were ex[c]lusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55."

Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction "Data from Alfred Kinsey's Studies,” kinseyinstitute.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2011)

1955 - "Gender" Defined as Distinct from Biological Sex

Psychologist John Money introduces the idea of gender, which is separate from biological sex. In a later book he writes, "By 1955 I had formulated the concept of sex as being not univariate, male and female, but multivariate, with seven different variables…namely chromosomal sex; gonadal sex; endogenous hormonal sex; assigned sex and rearing; and gender role…The term, gender, itself was rapidly assimilated into not only academic usage but also vernacular usage where it has influenced social science and history for the last half century."

John Money, PhD      A First Person History of Pediatric Psychoendocrinology, 2002

1957 - Major Study Argues That Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology

In 1957, Psychologist Evelyn Hooker published a study on homosexuals and mental health. The American Psychological Association recognized her contribution in 1991 with an Award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest. The citation read:

"When homosexuals were considered to be mentally ill, were forced out of government jobs, and were arrested in police raids, Evelyn Hooker courageously sought and obtained research support from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to compare a matched sample of homosexual and heterosexual men. Her pioneering study, published in 1957, challenged the widespread belief that homosexuality is a pathology by demonstrating that experienced clinicians using psychological tests widely believed at the time to be appropriate could not identify the nonclinical homosexual group. This revolutionary study provided empirical evidence that normal homosexuals existed, and supported the radical idea then emerging that homosexuality is within the normal range of human behavior..."

American Psychological Association   1991 award citation, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow (accessed Feb. 17, 2012)

Sep. 1, 1959 - Female Guinea Pigs Hormonally Manipulated to Act Like Males

Scientists treated female guinea pigs with testosterone while they were fetuses. They found that these guinea pigs did not display normal female sexual behavior as adults. However, if given testosterone in adulthood, they would mount other females. This led the authors to conclude that prenatal androgens could influence mating behavior: "The results are believed to justify the conclusion that the prenatal period is a time when fetal morphogenic substances have an organizing or ‘differentiating' action on the neural tissues mediating mating behavior. During adulthood, the hormones are activational.”

William C. Young, PhD      et al, "Organizing Action of Prenatally Administered Testosterone Propionate on the Tissues Mediating Mating Behavior in the Female Guinea Pig,” Endocrinology, Sep. 1, 1959

1960 - 1989

1961 - Illinois Becomes First State to Repeal Law Banning Sodomy

"Illinois became the first state in the U.S. to get rid of its sodomy law. It did so in 1961, when it adopted an overall revision of its criminal laws."

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)   "History of Sodomy Laws and the Strategy that Led Up to Today's Decision," aclu.org, June 16, 2003

1962 - Study Attributes Homosexuality to Detached Father and Domineering Mother

"In 1962, [Irving] Bieber and his colleagues published Homosexuality: A Psychoanalytic Study. Their work was particularly influential in its portrayal of a pathogenic family type—a detached and rejecting father and a close-binding and domineering mother—that presumably led to homosexuality in the 106 adult homosexual men they studied. Bieber and his colleagues claimed a 27% cure rate of the patients in their study.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1967 - CBS Airs Documentary on Homosexuality

Mike Wallace hosts The Homosexuals in 1967.
Source: www.youtube.com (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

In a CBS documentary called The Homosexuals, Mike Wallace states in the introduction: "In preparing this broadcast, CBS News commissioned a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation into public attitudes toward homosexuality. We discovered that Americans consider homosexuality more harmful to society than adultery, abortion, or prostitution.”

Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)    The Homosexuals, 1967, available on www.youtube.com (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1968 - Homosexuality Characterized as a Sexual Deviation

In 1968, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, "listed homosexuality as a sexual deviation, but sexual deviations were no longer categorized as a sociopathic personality disturbance.”

Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP)   "The History of Psychiatry & Homosexuality,” www.aglp.org, 2007

1968 - McIntosh Says Homosexuality Is a Socially Constructed Role

"The British scholar Mary McIntosh investigates ‘The Homosexual Role,' coming to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a definite biological or psychological condition of certain individuals, which distinguishes them from everyone else, but rather a label attached to them by others and/or by themselves. It is a socially constructed role which is played voluntarily or involuntarily by some men and women, but not by others whose actual sexual behavior may not be much different. Ideas such as this eventually lead to a dispute between "essentialists" (mostly natural scientists), who continue to believe in some essential homosexuality, and "constructionists" (mostly social scientists), who no longer share this belief."

Archive for Sexology (formerly known as Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology)   "Archive for Sexology: III. Modern Sex Research (1938- ),” www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/index.htm (accessed Nov. 22, 2011)

June 27, 1969 - Stonewall Rebellion Marks New Era of Gay Rights

"It was on the night of June 27, 1969, that a routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Christopher Street hangout for gays, run by the Mafia, prompted not cowed obedience from the customers but uncharacteristic fury and outrage. It was not unusual for the police to raid gay bars, and they did so regularly, to arrest transvestites and harass the customers. What made the raid of the Stonewall Inn unusual is that the gay and lesbian patrons spontaneously fought back, tossing beer cans, bricks and anything else in reach at the police officers, who responded by beating many of the protesters and arresting dozens of others…

More protests followed in the days after the raid, marking a cultural shift at a time when few people were willing to be publicly identified as homosexual. In the aftermath of the melee, gays and lesbians left closets, never to return. At the end of the decade that had witnessed marches on Washington on behalf of civil rights for blacks and protests against the war in Vietnam, gay pride was born."

New York Times    "Stonewall Rebellion," www.nytimes.com, Apr. 10, 2009

May 1970 - Manifesto Argues That Lesbianism Is a Social Construction

"The Woman Identified Woman," Radicalesbians, 1970.
Source: Special Collections Library, Duke University

In 1970, a group of lesbians--some who were members of the feminist organization NOW, but unhappy with the group's direction--formed their own group called the Lavender Menace, which later became known as the Radicalesbians. The group presented a manifesto, "The Woman-Identified Woman,” at The Second Congress to Unite Woman in May 1970.

Karla Jay, PhD, a member of the organization, wrote that the manifesto "...[S]tarted by defining a lesbian as the ‘rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion.’ The true lesbian, we wrote, acted ‘in accordance with her inner compulsion to be a more complete and freer human being.’…In addition to desexualizing lesbianism, the document declared that lesbianism is a socially constructed ‘category of behavior possible only in a sexist society characterized by rigid sex roles and dominated by male supremacy…In a society in which men do no oppress women, and sexual expression is allowed to follow feelings, the categories of homosexuality would disappear.”’

Karla Jay, PhD     Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation, 2000

1972-1978 - Gay Rights Leader, Harvey Milk, Elected to Office in San Francisco and Assassinated

Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone at the signing of San Francisco's gay rights bill in April 1977.
Source: www.msnbc.msn.com

In 1972 Harvey Milk "moved to San Francisco, where he opened a camera store and soon gained a following as a leader in the gay community. His popularity grew when he challenged the city's gay leadership, which he thought was too conservative in its attempts to gain greater political rights for homosexuals.

In 1973 Milk ran for a seat on the city's Board of Supervisors but was defeated. After another unsuccessful bid in 1976, he was elected in 1977, becoming one of the first openly gay elected officials in U.S. history. The following year Milk and the city's mayor, George Moscone, were shot and killed in City Hall by Dan White, a conservative former city supervisor. At White's murder trial, his attorneys successfully argued that his judgment had been impaired by a prolonged period of clinical depression, one symptom of which was the former health enthusiast's consumption of junk food...White's [May 21, 1979] conviction on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter sparked an uproar in the city that was subsequently termed the 'White Night Riot.'"

Biography.com    "Harvey Milk (2011)" (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1973 - Book Links Sexual Behavior to Social Influences

"The American sociological sex researchers John Gagnon and William Simon publish their book Sexual Conduct: The Social Sources of Human Sexuality. They describe sexual behavior as 'scripted' behavior i.e. as a pattern of conduct following a certain 'script' or rather an interactively acquired individual combination of several, sometimes contradictory scripts provided by social institutions, family, friends, peer groups etc.”

Archive for Sexology (formerly known as Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology)   "Archive for Sexology: III. Modern Sex Research (1938- ),” www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/index.htm (accessed Nov. 22, 2011)

1973 - American Psychiatric Association Declassifies Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder

"In 1973, the weight of empirical data, coupled with changing social norms and the development of a politically active gay community in the United States, led the Board of Directors of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some psychiatrists who fiercely opposed their action subsequently circulated a petition calling for a vote on the issue by the Association's membership. That vote was held in 1974, and the Board's decision was ratified.

Subsequently, a new diagnosis, ego-dystonic homosexuality, was created for the DSM's third edition in 1980. Ego dystonic homosexuality was indicated by: (1) a persistent lack of heterosexual arousal, which the patient experienced as interfering with initiation or maintenance of wanted heterosexual relationships, and (2) persistent distress from a sustained pattern of unwanted homosexual arousal."

Gregory M. Herek, PhD      "Facts about Homosexuality and Mental Health,” Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1976 - Public Health Campaign to Prevent Homosexuality Proposed

German endocrinologist, Gunter Dorner, "promoted the idea of a public-health program for the elimination of homosexuality, that was to involve the measurement of sex hormone levels in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women and the correction of these levels in those cases where homosexuality seemed a likely outcome."

Simon LeVay, PhD      Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, 1996

1977 - Anita Bryant Popularizes Homosexual Recruitment Theory

A gay rights activist throws a pie into Anita Bryant's face at a news conference on Oct. 14, 1977.
Source: "Bob Green: Anita's Ex Paid Dearly in the Fight," www.miamiherald.com (accessed Jan. 25, 2012)

"In January of 1977, the Dade County Commission passed a gay-rights ordinance, making Miami the fortieth US city with such a law. The vote alarmed Anita Bryant, a singer, former beauty queen, and born-again Christian, who began a campaign to repeal the ordinance. Within six weeks, Bryant had gathered the signatures necessary to put the issue to Dade County voters. Bryant formed an organization called Save Our Children, Inc., and based the campaign on the idea that 'Homosexuals cannot reproduce, so they must recruit.' In June, the gay rights ordinance was repealed by a vote of more than 2-to-1. The repeal in Miami led to a wave of repeals and gay-rights defeats in other states, including the passage of an Oklahoma law banning gay men and lesbians from teaching in the public schools.

By focusing on the idea that gays and lesbians were somehow threatening to children, Bryant had created an incredibly powerful rhetorical focus for social conservatives. In 1981, Jerry Falwell echoed her language in a fundraising letter that reminded his followers, 'Please remember, homosexuals don't reproduce! They recruit! And they are out after my children and your children.'"

Neil Miller, MA   Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present, 1995

1978 - Edward Wilson Says Homosexuality May Be a Beneficial Evolutionary Trait

In 1978, biologist Edward Wilson publishes On Human Nature and states:

"Homosexuality is normal in a biological sense, that it is a distinctive beneficial behavior that evolved as an important element in human social organization. Homosexuals may be the genetic carriers of some of mankind's rare altruistic impulses."

Edward O. Wilson, PhD On Human Nature, 1978

Wilson's ideas are drawn on by future researchers who explore the idea of kin selection theory. "The argument is that homosexual individuals may somehow have increased the chances of successful reproduction in their relatives within ancestral environments. For example, they may have helped their siblings with resource provision and childcare, thus increasing the chances of survival of their nephews and nieces."

Glenn D. Wilson, PhD and Qazi Rahman, PhD Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation, 2005

June 1978 - Study Finds Parental Style Has a Limited Effect on Child's Sexual Orientation

In his study of 37 children raised by female homosexuals or transsexuals, Richard Green, MD, finds: "psychosexual development appears to be typical in at least 36 of the 37 children …Children who are teenagers or young adults and have had a longer experience with transsexual or homosexual parents give more evidence that sexual identity has not been dramatically affected: all have developed a typical sexual identity, including heterosexual orientation...

We do not how much parental style contributes to a child's style or psychosexual development, but clearly it is not the only contributing factor."


1979 - Masters and Johnson Support Conversion Treatment for Homosexuals

William Masters and Virginia Johnson appear on Meet the Press in 1979.
Source: Thomas Maier, "Can Psychiatrists Really ‘Cure' Homosexuality?” Scientific American, Apr. 22, 2009. Courtesy: Basic Books

"Back in 1979, on Meet The Press and countless other TV appearances, [William] Masters and [Virginia] Johnson touted their book, Homosexuality in Perspective—a 14-year study of more than 300 homosexual men and women… The results seemed impressive: Of the 67 male and female patients with 'homosexual dissatisfaction,' only 14 failed in the initial two-week 'conversion' or 'reversion' treatment…

[When Masters and Johnson's top associate, Robert Kolodny, asked to see the files regarding conversions] Masters refused to show them to him. Kolodny—who had never seen any conversion cases himself—began to suspect some, if not all, of the conversion cases were not entirely true. When he pressed Masters, it became ever clearer to him that these were at best composite case studies made into single ideal narratives, and at worst they were fabricated.

Eventually Kolodny approached Virginia Johnson privately to express his alarm. She, too, held similar suspicions about Masters' conversion theory, though publicly she supported him...

Until he died in 2001 Masters felt confident their book would be embraced eventually by the medical community, not just by purveyors of religious or political agendas. He believed the prospect of "conversion" therapy offered more hope, more freedom to patients than psychoanalysis ever could."

Thomas Maier, MA   "Can Psychiatrists Really ‘Cure' Homosexuality?” Scientific American, Apr. 22, 2009

1981 - Kinsey Study Suggests Homosexuality Is Biological in Origin

"A major new study of homosexual men and women by the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research has found little or no support for most of the traditional theories about the origins of homosexuality.

In particular, the study of nearly 1500 people indicates that the parents' role in a child's sexual orientation has been ‘grossly exaggerated,' as have theories that homosexuality results from a lack of heterosexual opportunities or from traumatic heterosexual experiences.

Rather, the researchers conclude that a homosexual orientation usually seems to emerge from a fundamental predisposition, possibly biological in origin, that first appears as a failure to conform to society's stereotype of what it means to be a boy or a girl."

New York Times "Kinsey Study Finds Homosexuals Show Early Predisposition,” article by Jane E. Brody, Aug. 23, 1981

Jan. 28, 1982 - DOD Bans Homosexuals from Military; Navy Disproportionately Affected

On Jan. 28, 1982, the Department of Defense (DOD) created a new policy to ban homosexuals from the military:

"Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage In homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the Military Services to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members, to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work under close conditions affording minimal privacy: to recruit and retain members of the Military Services; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security."


"According to a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office (GAO), nearly 17,000 men and women were discharged under the category of homosexuality in the 1980s. The Navy was disproportionately represented, accounting for 51% of the discharges even though it comprised only 27% of the active force during this time period."

Gregory M. Herek, PhD      "Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S. Military: Historical Background,” Sexual Orientation: Science, Education, and Policy, https://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow (accessed Nov. 21, 2011)

1983 - Study Says that Homosexual Populations Are Similar Around the World

"Based on several years of field work in homosexual communities in the United States, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Philippines, six tentative conclusions about cultural invariability are offered: (1) homosexual persons appear in all societies; (2) the percentage of homosexuals in all societies seems to be about the same and remains stable over time; (3) social norms do not impede or facilitate the emergence of homosexual orientation; (4) homosexual subcultures appear in all societies, given sufficient aggregates of people; (5) homosexuals in different societies tend to resemble each other with respect to certain behavioral interests and occupational choices; and (6) all societies produce similar continua from overtly masculine to overtly feminine homosexuals. Implications for this interpretation of homosexuality include the notion that homosexuality is not created by social structural arrangements but is rather a fundamental form of human sexuality acted out in different cultural settings."

Frederick L. Whitam, PhD      "Culturally Invariable Properties of Male Homosexuality: Tentative Conclusions from Cross-Cultural Research" Archive of Sexual Behavior, 1983

Oct. 1, 1986 - Roman Catholic Church Calls Homosexuality an "Objective Disorder"

The following excerpt from a letter was delivered by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect [the future Pope Benedictus XVI] and approved and ordered published by Pope John Paul II:

"Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not."


Aug. 1987 - American Psychological Association Removes Ego Dystonic Homosexuality from DSM-III

In Aug. 1987, the American Psychological Association removed the diagnosis of Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality--a persistent lack of heterosexual arousal and distress from a pattern of unwanted homosexual arousal--from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III (DSM-III).

"Whereas the American Psychological Association has been on record since 1975 that 'homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities'...be it resolved that the American Psychological Association urge its members not to use... the '302.00 Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality' diagnosis in the current DSM-III or future editions of either document."


1989 - Isay Questions Idea That Dominant Mother Causes Homosexuality

Richard A. Isay, a gay psychoanalyst, publishes Being Homosexual: Gay Men and Their Development and questions the Freudian view of homosexuality:

"All psychoanalytic theories of homosexuality suggest that homosexual men suffer from a deficiency in their masculinity. Either a distant father fails to help his son separate from his mother, or the mother pathologically binds the boy to her, sometimes because of her own ungratified needs to be mothered…

On the basis of my clinical work, I have come to believe that although most of their gender atypical behavior is inborn, some homosexual children may emphasize their opposite gender characteristics in order to attract and sustain the attention of the father…

A boy who grows up with a dominant mother who uses him to fulfill ungratified needs of her own will have the same chance of becoming gay as he would if he were raised by a mother who ideally nurtures his growth and development…"

Richard A. Isay, MD      Being Homosexual: Gay Men and Their Development, 1989

1990 - 1999

1990 - American Rabbis Say Homosexuality May Be a Choice, But Heterosexuality Is the Only Appropriate Jewish Choice

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which is part of the Jewish Reform movement [the largest Jewish branch in the United States], released the following statement in 1990:

"It is clear, however, that for many people sexual orientation is not a matter of conscious choice but is constitutional and therefore not subject to change. It is also true that for some, sexual orientation may be a matter of conscious choice…

In Jewish tradition heterosexual, monogamous, procreative marriage is the ideal human relationship for the perpetuation of species, covenantal fulfillment, and the preservation of the Jewish people. While acknowledging that there are other human relationships which possess ethical and spiritual value and that there are some people for whom heterosexual, monogamous, procreative marriage is not a viable option or possibility, the majority of the committee reaffirms unequivocally the centrality of this ideal and its special status as kiddushin [Jewish marriage]. To the extent that sexual orientation is a matter of choice, the majority of the committee affirms that heterosexuality is the only appropriate Jewish choice for fulfilling one's covenantal obligations."


[Editor’s Note: In Mar. 1996, the CCAR resolved to “support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage and be it further resolved, that the CCAR oppose any governmental efforts to ban gay and lesbian marriage.”]

1990 - David M. Halperin Advocates Social Constructionist Theory of Homosexuality

David M. Halperin, PhD, becomes one of the leading academic advocates for the social constructionist view of homosexuality. He writes in his book, One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love:

"...[C]onstructionists have demonstrated, I believe, that the distinction between homosexuality and heterosexuality, far from being a fixed and immutable feature of some universal syntax of sexual desire, can be understood as a particular conceptual turn in thinking about sex and deviance that occurred in certain sectors of northern and northwestern European society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The new conceptualization, moreover, seems to coincide with the emergence, in the same period (or in the centuries immediately preceding it), of some new sexual types—namely the homosexual and the heterosexual, defined not as persons who perform certain acts, or who adhere to one sex role or another, or who are characterized by strong or weak desires, or who violate or observe gender-boundaries, but as persons who possess two distinct kinds of subjectivity, who are inwardly oriented in a specific direction, and who therefore belong to a separate and determinate human species. From what I have been able to tell, these new sexual types, the homosexual and the heterosexual, do not represent merely new ways of classifying persons—that is, innovations in moral or judicial language—but new types of desire, new kinds of desiring human beings."

David M. Halperin, PhD     One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love, 1990

1991 - LeVay Study Finds a Difference in the Brains of Homosexuals

An illustration of the INAH3 region of the brain.
Source: www.simonlevay.com (accessed Dec. 5, 2011)

Working at the Salk Institute in San Diego, Simon LeVay studies the brains of gay men who had died of AIDS-related complications. He writes: "INAH3 [intestinal nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus] was between two and three times larger, on average, in the heterosexual men than in the gay men whose brains I examined…

The findings on INAH3 fit very well with the model put forward by Hirschfeld nearly a century ago, and in my view they greatly strengthen the notion that the development of sexual orientation, at least in men, is closely tied with the prenatal sexual differentiation of the brain."

Simon LeVay, PhD      Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, 1996

1991 - Bailey and Pillard Twin Study Suggests Genetic Component to Homosexuality

A study of male twins suggests homosexuality is an inherited trait because identical twins, who share 100% of their genes, are more likely to share homosexuality than fraternal twins, who share about 50% of their genes."Homosexual male probands [individuals] with monozygotic [identical] cotwins, dizygotic [fraternal] cotwins, or adoptive brothers were recruited using homophile publications. Sexual orientation of relatives was assessed either by asking relatives directly, or when this was impossible, asking the probands. Of the relatives whose sexual orientation could be rated, 52% (29/56) of monozygotic cotwins, 22% (12/54) of dizygotic cotwins, and 11% (6/57) of adoptive brothers were homosexual."

J. Michael Bailey, PhD and Richard Pillard, MD "A Genetic Study of Male Sexual Orientation,” Archives of General Psychiatry, 1991

May 1992 - CAH Women Found More Likely to Be Homosexual

Studies of women with congenital adrenal hyperplasis (CAH), a condition that causes an excessive level of androgen secretion during the fetal stage, have been conducted to test the theory that prenatal hormones influence sexual orientation.

In 1992, researchers interviewed 34 CAH patients and 14 control sisters about their sexual orientation. They found: "Fewer patients than sisters had ever experienced love relationships and sexual activities with male partners (p<0.05 to 0.001). Twenty percent of the patients and none of the sisters wished for and/or had had homosexual relationships; in the patients >21 yr 44% expressed this interest (p<0.07)."

Ralf W. Dittmann, MD, PhD     , et al. "Sexual Behavior in Adolescent and Adult Females with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia," Psychoneuroendocrinology, May-July 1992

Aug. 1992 - Part of the Brain Found to Be Larger in Homosexual Men

UCLA researchers find: "The anterior commissure [AC], a fiber tract that is larger in its midsagittal area in women than in men, was examined in 90 postmortem brains from homosexual men, heterosexual men, and heterosexual women. The midsagittal plane of the anterior commissure in homosexual men was 18% larger than in heterosexual women and 34% larger than in heterosexual men. This anatomical difference, which correlates with gender and sexual orientation, may, in part, underlie differences in cognitive function and cerebral lateralization among homosexual men, heterosexual men, and heterosexual women."

Laura S. Allen, PhD and Roger Gorski, PhD "Sexual Orientation and the Size of the Anterior Commissure in the Human Brain,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Aug. 1992

Mar. 1993 - Biological Studies of Homosexuality Questioned

William Byne, MD, et al, publish a paper questioning several biological studies of homosexuality, such as Bailey and Pillard's study of twins. He argues that the twin study is flawed because the rate of homosexuality was similar for biological brothers and nonrelated adoptive brothers. This finding, he writes, "is at odds with a simple genetic hypothesis, which would predict a higher concordance [the presence of a trait in both members of pair of twins] rate for the biological siblings."

Byne also propose that LeVay's study of INAH3 was flawed because his sample included men who had died of AIDS, which could have caused the differences that LeVay observed instead of sexual orientation. "To account for the fact that the heterosexual men with AIDS had larger nuclei than then homosexual men with AIDS, one could propose that the heterosexual men had a different disease course or died at an earlier stage of infection than the homosexual men. This does not seem unlikely, because the major AIDS risk factor for heterosexual men is intravenous drug abuse and compared with such men, homosexuals tend to have superior health care."


July 16, 1993 - Hamer Study Finds That a Region of the X Chromosome Is Shared by Many Homosexuals

Dean Hamer.
Source: Center for Cancer Research (accessed Dec. 5, 2011)

Dean Hamer, PhD, a molecular geneticist at the National Institute of Health, publishes his study on homosexuality.

"We looked directly at gay men's genetic information—their DNA, the long threadlike molecules that contains both the blueprints of life and the instructions for carrying them out. Using an approach called DNA linkage analysis, we found that a small region of the X chromosome, Xq28, appeared to be the same in an unexpectedly high proportion of gay brothers. This finding provided the first concrete evidence that ‘gay genes' really do exist and narrowed the location of one of them to a few million out of the several billion bits of information that make us human."

Dean H. Hamer, PhD      The Science of Desire: The Search for the Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior, 1994

1993 - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy Created for Military

A 1993 cartoon by Rob Rogers.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (accessed Dec. 2, 2011)

"The policy known as 'don't ask, don't tell' was made law in 1993 amid a debate over the role of gays in the military. It limits the military's ability to ask service members about their sexual orientation (don't ask) and allows homosexuals to serve provided they keep quiet about their sexual orientation (don't tell) and refrain from homosexual acts.

The policy was adopted as a compromise after President Bill Clinton failed in an attempt to overturn an existing ban on gay service members, which was opposed by top figures in the military. The rationale for the continued restrictions was that the known presence of gay men and lesbians would undermine morale and unit cohesion."

New York Times    "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," www.topics.nytimes.com, Sep. 20, 2011

June 1, 1994 - Pentagon Considers "Gay Bomb"

The Wright Laboratory (now called the Air Force Research Laboratory) of the United States Air Force submitted a proposal on June 1, 1994 titled "Harassing, Annoying, 'Bad Guy' Identifying Chemicals," which describes several concepts for non-lethal chemical weapons, including one composed of aphrodisiacs intended to cause homosexual behavior:

"Capability Sought and Uses to Which It Could Be Put: Chemicals that can be sprayed onto enemy positions or onto infiltration routes used by enemy forces. Three classes of chemical weapons are proposed: ...

Category #3: Chemicals that effect [sic] human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected [sic]. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior...

Chemicals that effected [sic] human behavior in ways that would be disruptive to unit morale and effectiveness would need to be created."


Jan. 1995 - Study Suggests Link Between Sexual Orientation and Prenatal Hormones

Starting in the 1940s, Diethylstilbestrol (DES) was often given to women with high-risk pregnancies, until it was banned in 1971 because of its cancerous side effects. DES acts as a masculinizing agent in women. Meyer-Bahlburg, et al, studied the sexual orientation of a group of women exposed to the drug as fetuses and found:

"Consistently across samples, more DES-exposed women than controls were rated as bisexual or homosexual (scores 2–6 on Kinsey-format scales ranging from 0 to 6). The data are compatible with the hypothesis that prenatal estrogens may play a role in the development of human sexual orientation."

Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, Dr. rer. nat      et al. "Prenatal Estrogens and the Development of Homosexual Orientation,” Development Psychology, Jan. 1995

Jan. 1996 - Fraternal Birth Order Effect Observed

A 1996 peer-reviewed study by Ray Blanchard and Anthony Bogaert posits the "fraternal birth order effect”—the theory that homosexual men are born later than heterosexual men. They write: "homosexuality was positively correlated with the proband's [a member of a family's] number of older brothers but not with older sisters, younger brothers, younger sisters, or parental age at the time of the proband's birth. Each additional older brother increased the odds of homosexuality by 33%."

The authors propose that this effect could be due to a maternal immune reaction. The mother's immune system remembers how many boys were in the womb previously, thus a new boy triggers an antibody response. The antibodies could affect the fetus's brain development.

Ray Blanchard, PhD and Anthony Bogaert, PhD "Homosexuality in Men and Number of Older Brothers,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Jan. 1996

Apr. 1996 - "Exotic Becomes Erotic" Theory Proposed as Cause of Homosexuality

Daryl J. Bem, PhD, proposes that a child's biologically determined temperament plays a role in the development of homosexuality.

"A developmental theory of erotic/romantic attraction is presented that provides the same basic account for opposite-sex and same-sex desire in both men and women. It proposes that biological variables, such as genes, prenatal hormones, and brain neuroanatomy, do not code for sexual orientation per se but for childhood temperaments that influence a child's preference for sex-typical or sex-atypical activities and peers. These preferences lead children to feel different from opposite- or same-sex peers—to perceive them as dissimilar, unfamiliar, and exotic. This, in turn, produces heightened nonspecific autonomic arousal that subsequently gets eroticized to that same class of dissimilar peers: Exotic becomes erotic."

Daryl J. Bem, PhD      "Exotic Becomes Erotic: A Developmental Theory of Sexual Orientation,” Psychological Review, Apr. 1996

Sep. 21, 1996 - Defense of Marriage Act Introduced

President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act on Sep. 21, 1996.
Source: "Breaking Bad: A Brief History on Gay Divorce," www.details.com, Oct. 11, 2011, Credit: Corbis Images

President Clinton signs the Defense of Marriage Act, which "amends the Federal judicial code to provide that no State, territory, or possession of the United States or Indian tribe shall be required to give effect to any marriage between persons of the same sex under the laws of any other such jurisdiction or to any right or claim arising from such relationship.

Establishes a Federal definition of: (1) ‘marriage' as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife; and (2) ‘spouse' as only a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”

Congressional Research Service (CRS)   https://thomas.loc.gov (accessed Nov. 23, 2011)

Mar. 3, 1998 - Auditory System of Homosexual Women Is Found to Resemble Men's

A peer-reviewed study finds that the auditory system of homosexual and bisexual females is similar to men's. The authors propose this difference could have been caused by prenatal androgens:

"Click-evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAEs) are echo-like waveforms emitted by normal-hearing cochleas in response to a brief transient. CEOAEs are known to be stronger in females than in males. In this experiment, the CEOAEs of homosexual and bisexual females were found to be intermediate to those of heterosexual females and heterosexual males. A parsimonious explanation is that the auditory systems of homosexual and bisexual females, and the brain structures responsible for their sexual orientation, have been partially masculinized by exposure to high levels of androgens prenatally. No difference in CEOAEs was observed between homosexual and heterosexual males."

Dennis McFadden, PhD "Comparison of the Auditory Systems of Heterosexuals and Homosexuals: Click-Evoked Otoacoustic Emissions, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Mar. 3, 1998

Dec. 1998 - American Psychiatric Association Opposes Conversion Therapy

In 1998, the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved a position statement on "conversion therapy": "...[T]he American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation."

American Psychiatric Association   "Psychiatric Treatment and Sexual Orientation” position statement, www.psych.org, approved on Dec. 1998

1999 - Biologist Reports Homosexuality in 450+ Animal Species

"Homosexual behavior occurs in more than 450 different kinds of animals worldwide, and is found in every major geographic region and every major animal group."

Bruce Bagemihl, PhD     Biological Exuberance, 1999

June 1999 - Study Finds That Homosexuals Have Larger Penises

"The relation between sexual orientation and penile dimensions in a large sample of men was studied...On all five measures, homosexual men reported larger penises than did heterosexual men...Alterations of typical levels of prenatal hormones in homosexual men may account for these findings."

Anthony Bogaert, PhD      "The Relation between Sexual Orientation and Penile Size," Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 1999

2000 - present

2000 - Michigan Legislature Debates Sexual Lifestyle Classes Offered at University of Michigan

In 2000, Professor David M. Halperin's "How to Be Gay" class triggered debate at the University of Michigan. The Michigan state legislature fell four votes short of passing a measure that would reduce state funding to the university if it offered a class that promoted a lifestyle other than heterosexual monogamy.

Gary Glenn, president of the Michigan affiliate of the American Family Association led the attack on Halperin's class. In an interview with the Washington Times, he said "It is outrageous that Michigan taxpayers are forced to pay for a class whose stated purpose is to ‘experiment’ with the ‘initiation’ of young men into a self-destructive homosexual lifestyle.”

Also interviewed by the Washington Times, Professor Halperin stated: "It does not teach students to be homosexual. Rather, it examines critically the odd notion that there are right and wrong ways to be gay, that homosexuality is not just a sexual practice or desire but a set of specific tastes in music, movies, and other cultural forms — a notion which is shared by straight and gay people alike."

Washington Times    "'How to Be Gay' Course Draws Fire at Michigan," Aug. 18, 2003

Mar. 2000 - Bailey Questions His Previous Homosexual Twin Studies

Using an Australian Twin Register, J. Michael Bailey, et al. find low concordances [the presence of a trait in both members of a pair of twins] for non-heterosexual orientation (20% for men and 24% for women). This leads him to question his past twin studies, which found higher concordances. "This suggests that concordances from prior studies were inflated because of concordance-dependent ascertainment bias...In those studies, twins deciding whether to participate in a study clearly related to homosexuality probably considered the sexual orientation of their co-twins before agreeing to participate. In contrast, both the more general focus of our study (i.e., on sexuality in general) and its anonymous response format made such considerations less likely."

J. Michael Bailey, PhD      et al. "Genetic and Environment Influences on Sexual Orientation and Its Correlates in an Australian Twin Sample," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Mar. 2000

Mar. 30, 2000 - Study Finds Link Between Finger Length and Homosexuality

Finger-length patterns vary with gender, sexual orientation and birth order.
Source: "Finger-length Ratios and Sexual Orientation,” Nature, Mar. 30, 2000

A woman's index finger is typically about the same length as her fourth finger, but men typically have a shorter index finger than fourth finger. Researchers examined whether this held true for homosexuals and found that homosexual women, like men, tended to have a shorter index finger than fourth finger. They also found that homosexual men had a similar ratio between their second and fourth finger to heterosexual men; however, men with older brothers tended to have a more feminine finger ratio.

They concluded: "Animal models have indicated that androgenic steroids acting before birth might influence the sexual orientation of adult humans. Here we examine the androgen-sensitive pattern of finger lengths, and find evidence that homosexual women are exposed to more prenatal androgen than heterosexual women are; also, men with more than one older brother, who are more likely than first-born males to be homosexual in adulthood, are exposed to more prenatal androgen than eldest sons. Prenatal androgens may therefore influence adult human sexual orientation in both sexes, and a mother's body appears to 'remember' previously carried sons, altering the fetal development of subsequent sons and increasing the likelihood of homosexuality in adulthood."

Terrance Williams, PhD     et al. "Finger-length Ratios and Sexual Orientation,” Nature, Mar. 30, 2000

Spring 2000 - Cochran and Ewald Propose Infection as Cause of Homosexuality

"Human homosexuality can be traced back at least several thousand years. A substantially genetic cause could not be maintained over this time because of the great fitness costs that homosexuality imposes, unless there is some compensating benefit. But no evidence for a compensating benefit exists. Inclusive fitness benefits, for example, seem insufficient to overcome the reduction in reproduction, because male homosexuals do not channel their resources into the well-being of kin at an increased level..."Human homosexuality can be traced back at least several thousand years. A substantially genetic cause could not be maintained over this time because of the great fitness costs that homosexuality imposes, unless there is some compensating benefit. But no evidence for a compensating benefit exists. Inclusive fitness benefits, for example, seem insufficient to overcome the reduction in reproduction, because male homosexuals do not channel their resources into the well-being of kin at an increased level...

In contrast with difficulties of noninfectious explanations of homosexuality, the hypothesis of infectious causation does not incorporate critical logical flaws or contradictions of fundamental biological principles. Indeed, anecdotal reports indicate that changes in human sexual orientation have occurred following changes in the limbic area due to trauma or infection... One possible route [of transmission] would be sexual, whereby homosexual behavior could facilitate spread because of the larger numbers of partners homosexual males may have on average, relative to heterosexual males. Alternatively, transmission could be partly or entirely by one or more nonsexual routes, and homosexual orientation be a side effect of the infection that is unrelated to transmission."

Gregory Cochran, PhD and Paul W. Ewald, PhD "Infectious Causation of Disease: An Evolutionary Perspective," Perspective in Biology and Medicine, Spring 2000

July 2000 - Homosexuals Found to Have 39% Greater Odds of Being Non-Right Handed

"Recent findings suggest that sexual orientation has an early neurodevelopmental basis. Handedness, a behavioral marker of early neurodevelopment, has been associated with sexual orientation in some studies but not in others. The authors conducted a meta-analysis of 20 studies that compared the rates of non-right-handedness [right hand is not dominant] in 6,987 homosexual (6,182 men and 805 women) and 16,423 heterosexual (14,808 men and 1,615 women) participants. Homosexual participants had 39% greater odds of being non-right-handed. The corresponding values for homosexual men (20 contrasts) and women (9 contrasts) were 34% and 91%, respectively. The results support the notion that sexual orientation in some men and women has an early neurodevelopmental basis, but the factors responsible for the handedness-sexual orientation association require elucidation."

Martin Lalumiere, PhD      et al. "Sexual Orientation and Handedness in Men and Women: a Meta-Analysis,” Psychological Bulletin, July 2000

Sep. 2001 - Study Confirms LeVay's Brain Size Findings

Critics of Simon LeVay's brain research, such as William Byne, had suggested that the difference LeVay found in the size of homosexuals' INAH3 might be due to HIV and not sexual orientation. However, in 2001, Byne published a study that concluded: "…we found no evidence for an influence of HIV on INAH3, lending credence to LeVay's (1991) contention that HIV infection did not account for the disparity in INAH3 volume he observed between homosexual and heterosexual men."

William M. Byne, MD, PhD      et al. "The Interstitial Nuclei of the Human Anterior Hypothalamus: An Investigation of Variation with Sex, Sexual Orientation, and HIV Status," Hormones and Behavior, Sep. 2001

Mar. 2002 - Sociologists Find a Higher Rate of Same-Sex Attraction among Opposite-Sex Twins

In a study of adolescent same-sex twins, opposite-sex [OS] twins, and the siblings of twins, sociologists found the highest rate of reported same-sex attraction [16.8%] among male adolescents with a female twin. They argue that these findings support their hypothesis that:

"parents (and other socialization agents') interactions with OS twins are less scripted with respect to gender socialization. Specifically, because OS twins are similar, except for gender, parents are hypothesized to treat them similarly. Less gendered upbringing, should, if the social influence is correct, be associated with increased rates of same-sex erotic preference, especially for males."

In contrast to many other studies of identical twins and sexual orientation, this study finds a 6.7% concordance rate among identical twins, a 7.2% concordance rate among fraternal twins, and a 5.5% concordance rate for siblings of the twins. The authors write, "Clearly, the observed concordance rates do not correspond to degrees of genetic similarity."

The researchers also reject studies that cite a birth order effect [males with older brothers are more likely to be homosexual]. "We find no association between same-sex attraction and number of older siblings, older brothers, or older sisters."

Peter Bearman, PhD and Hannah Brückner, PhD "Opposite-Sex Twins and Adolescent Same-Sex Attraction," The American Journal of Sociology, Mar. 2002

Oct. 1, 2002 - Researcher Programs Homosexual Behavior in Fruit Flies

Researcher Toshihiro Kitamoto introduced a mutant gene into fruit flies that affected neurons sensitive to taste. This mutant gene resulted in instant male-male courtship behavior among the fruit flies. The study was published in the Oct. 2002 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Explaining his study to the BBC, Kitamoto said, "My interpretation is that male-male courtship is somehow inhibited by certain systems in the fly nervous system and using my method I think I inactivated those inhibitory systems so male courtship is induced."

Toshihiro Kitamoto, PhD      Interview in "When Flies Get Fruity,” BBC News, https://news.bbc.co.uk, Sep. 18, 2002

June 26, 2003 - Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Sodomy Law

Petitioners Tyron Garner, right, and John Lawrence, left, with their lawyer, Suzanne Goldberg, center.
Source: www.affirmation.org (accessed Dec. 5, 2011)

In the case Lawrence et al. v. Texas, the US Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2003 that a Texas law that forbade sexual conduct between two persons of the same sex was unconstitutional.

The opinion of the court, delivered by Justice Kennedy, stated: "The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

Lawrence et al v. Texas , June 23, 2003

Oct. 2003 - Spitzer Study Finds Therapy Can Help People Change Sexual Orientation

A peer-reviewed study of 200 individuals by Robert Spitzer, MD, lends support to reparative therapy, which is opposed by the American Psychiatric Association. He writes: "In this self-selected sample, almost all of the participants reported substantial changes in the core aspects sexual orientation, not merely overt behavior. Even individuals who made a less substantial change in sexual orientation reported that the therapy was extremely beneficial in a variety of way… This study provides evidence that some gay men and lesbians are able to also change the core features of sexual orientation."

Robert L. Spitzer, MD      "Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? 200 Participants Reporting a Change from Homosexual to Heterosexual Orientation," Archives of Sexual Behavior, Oct. 2003

[Editor’s Note: On April 25, 2012, Spitzer issued an apology to the gay community for his study saying that he “offered several (unconvincing) reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the subject’s reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying. But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid.”]

Oct. 2003 - Homosexual Women Found to Have Masculine Eyeblink Startle Responses

"Prepulse inhibition (PPI) refers to a reduction in the startle response to a strong sensory stimulus when this stimulus is preceded by a weaker stimulus—the prepulse....The present study examined the eyeblink startle responses to acoustic stimuli of 59 healthy heterosexual and homosexual men and women. Homosexual women showed significantly masculinized PPI compared with heterosexual women, whereas no difference was observed in PPI between homosexual and heterosexual men."

Qazi Rahman, PhD Veena Kumari, PhD and Glenn D. Wilson, PhD "Sexual Orientation Related Differences in Pre-Pulse Inhibition of the Human Startle Response,” Behavioral Neuroscience, Oct. 2003

[Editor’s Note: In their 2005 book, The Biology of Sex Orientation, Wilson and Rahman state about the above study: “As PPI is non-learned and shows parallels across many species, these differences implicate “hard-wiring” in limbic brain circuitry in the determination of female sexual orientation.”]

Feb. 2004 - Difference Found in the Brains of Homosexual Rams

Researchers examined the volume of homosexual and heterosexual rams' ovine sexually dimorphic nucleus (oSDN), a region of the brain that is larger in rams (male sheep) than ewes (female sheep). They found that the volume of homosexual rams' oSDN was two times smaller than the heterosexual rams'.

The researchers write: "Our study is the first to demonstrate that there is an association between natural variations in sexual partner preferences and brain structure and function in nonhuman male animals…

To the degree that cross-species comparisons are valid, our data support the study of LeVay, who found that INAH3, the human analog of the rat SDN-POA, is more than twice as large in heterosexual men as in homosexual men and women."

Charles E. Roselli, PhD     et al "The Volume of a Sexually Dimorphic Nucleus in the Ovine Medial Preoptic Area/Anterior Hypothalamus Varies with Sexual Partner Preference,” Neuroendocrinology, Feb. 2004

Nov. 2004 - Lesbians Shown to Be More Prone to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

A peer-reviewed study finds that polycystic ovaries (PCO) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), conditions associated with an excess of male hormones, are more common among lesbians, which supports the idea that hormones may play a role in sexual orientation.

"Eighty percent of lesbian women, compared with 32% of the heterosexual women, had PCO on pelvic ultrasound examination. Thirty-eight percent of lesbian women, compared with 14% of heterosexual women, had PCOS. There were no significant differences in the androgen concentrations between lesbian and heterosexual women with normal ovaries. However, lesbian women with PCO and PCOS had significantly higher androgen concentrations compared with heterosexual women with PCO and PCOS."

Rina Agrawal, MD, PhD      et al "Prevalence of Polycystic Ovaries and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Lesbian Women Compared with Heterosexual Women," Fertility and Sterility, Nov. 2004

May 2005 - Homosexual Men Found to Respond to Pheromones in a Similar Manner to Women

Dr. Ivanka Savic et. al, published a study that shows that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to the human sex pheromones EST, which is found in female urine, and AND, a component from male armpit secretions.

Homosexual males showed hypothalamic activity when exposed to AND and no activity when exposed to EST. This resembled the way that heterosexual women responded to the pheromones.

Ivanka Savic-Berglund, MD, PhD et al. "Brain Response to Putative Pheromones in Homosexual Men,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, May 2005

Aug. 2005 - Study Questions Validity of Kin Selection Theory

To study kin selection theory, the notion that homosexual individuals may have increased the chances of successful reproduction in their relatives within ancestral environments, Qazi Rahman asked 60 heterosexual men and 60 homosexual men about their relationships with family and their interest in children.

He concluded: "A key prediction from kin selection theory is that heterosexual and homosexual men should differentially invest in their siblings and the children of their siblings…with homosexuals showing more theoretical (and actual) willingness to invest than heterosexuals. The current study found no evidence of this..."

Qazi Rahman, PhD      "An Empirical Test of the Kin Selection Hypothesis for Male Homosexuality,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, Aug. 2005

Aug. 14, 2005 - Sexual Differentiation Disorder Suggests Role of Prenatal Hormones in Attraction

William Reiner, MD, has published numerous studies about children who were born with disorders of sexual differentiation. In a 2005 interview, he says that of the boys he has studied who were born with inadequate penises and raised to be girls (some were surgically modified to have female genitalia), none are sexually attracted to males.

"During fetal development, sexual identity is set before the sexual organs are formed, Reiner says. Perhaps it's the same for sexual orientation…

‘Exposure to male hormones in utero dramatically raises the chances of being sexually attracted to females,' Reiner says. ‘We can infer that the absence of male hormone exposure may have something to do with attraction to males.' "

William G. Reiner, MD      Interview in "What Makes People Gay," www.boston.com, Aug. 14, 2005

Mar. 2, 2007 - Rev. Mohler Supports Prenatal Treatment to Prevent Homosexuality

R. Albert Mohler, Jr, PhD.
Source: www.albertmohler.com (accessed Jan. 4, 2012)

Prominent evangelical R. Albert Mohler, Jr., PhD, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posts the following on his blog:

"If a biological basis [for homosexuality] is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin...

Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This does not alter God’s moral verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who struggle with this particular pattern of temptation."

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., PhD     "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?", available at www.albertmohler.com, Mar. 2, 2007

June 2008 - Study Shows Brain Organization Differs Between Heterosexuals and Homosexuals

A 2008 peer-reviewed study finds that heterosexual men and lesbians have a larger right cerebral hemisphere than left hemisphere; whereas homosexual men and heterosexual women have hemispheres of the same size. They also found that the amygdala connections (brain regions that deal with processing emotions) were more widespread from the right amygdala for heterosexual men and lesbians. For homosexual men and heterosexual women, the connections were more widespread from the left amygdala.

The findings lead the author to conclude: "The present study shows sex-atypical cerebral asymmetry and functional connections in homosexual subjects. The results cannot be primarily ascribed to learned effects, and they suggest a linkage to neurobiological entities."


Feb. 2010 - Study Suggests Link Between Childhood Abuse and Same-Sex Relations among Men

A peer-reviewed study of sexually abused children finds: "Individuals with documented histories of childhood sexual abuse were significantly more likely than controls to report ever having had same-sex sexual partners…however, only men with histories of childhood sexual abuse were significantly more likely than controls to report same-sex sexual partners…These prospective findings provide tentative evidence of a link between childhood sexual abuse and same-sex sexual partnerships among men."

Helen W. Wilson, PhD and Cathy Spatz Widom, PhD "Does Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, or Neglect in Childhood Increase the Likelihood of Same-Sex Sexual Relationships and Cohabitation? A Prospective 30-year Follow-up,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, Feb. 2010

Dec. 18, 2010 - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Ban Repealed

"On Dec. 18, 2010, the Senate voted 65-21, to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' law, sending to President Obama a bill ending the 17-year ban on gays serving openly in the military."

Washington Post    "A History of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'" (accessed Jan. 25, 2012)

Sep. 30, 2011 - Study Finds Conversion to Heterosexuality Possible with Religious Mediation

Two psychologists working at religious universities published a study that followed 65 individuals for 6-7 years who were attempting "religiously mediated sexual orientation change from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation.” They conclude "evidence from the study suggested that change of homosexual orientation appears possible for some and that psychological distress did not increase on average as a result of the involvement in the change process."

Stanton Jones, PhD and Mark Yarhouse, PsyD "A Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change,” The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Sep. 30, 2011

[Editor’s Note: The Oct. 4, 2011 CNN article “Study Supporting Gay Conversion Challenged” reports that 23% of the individuals followed in the Jones and Yarhouse study became heterosexual, 30% turned toward chastity, and 20% embraced a homosexual orientation.]

Apr. 2012 - Mayor of London Pulls Ads That Claim to Cure Homosexuality

In Apr. 2012, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, pulled advertisements from buses that promoted the idea that homosexuals could be converted to heterosexuality. The ads were booked by the Anglican group CORE.

Johnson told the Guardian: "London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses."

Guardian    Robert Booth, Helene Mullholland, and Patrick Strudwick, "Anti-Gay Adverts Pulled from Bus Campaign by Boris Johnson," www.guardian.co.uk, Apr. 12, 2012

Apr. 25, 2012 - Spitzer Apologizes for Study Suggesting People Could Change Sexual Orientation

Robert Spitzer, MD, apologized to the gay community in Apr. 2012 for a study published in Oct. 2003 that said some people were able to change their sexual orientation. In a letter to Ken Zucker, the editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior (which published the study), Spitzer wrote: "I offered several (unconvincing) reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the subject’s reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying. But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid. I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy."

Truth Wins Out   "Exclusive: Dr. Robert Spitzer Apologizes to Gay Community for Infamous 'Ex-Gay' Study," www.truthwinsout.org, Apr. 25, 2012

Sep. 30, 2012 - California Bans Conversion Therapy for Minors

"California became the first state to ban therapy aimed at changing a minor's sexual orientation from gay to straight after Gov. Jerry Brown [D] signed legislation Sunday prohibiting the so-called 'conversion' therapy. 'This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide,' Brown said in a statement Sunday. 'These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.'... Republican lawmakers called the bill an intrusion by the state into the decision of parents about how to raise their children. The conservative Pacific Justice Institute has said it will file a lawsuit alleging the measure violates constitutional protections, including the free speech rights of therapists and the right of patients to get access to information."

Los Angeles Times    "California Bans Gay-to-Straight 'Conversion' Therapy for Minors," www.latimes.com, Oct. 1, 2013

[Editor’s Note: On Dec. 21, 2012, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law before it was due to go into effect in response to a lawsuit filed by Liberty Counsel, a religious liberties organization. The law is on hold pending the court’s final decision.]

June 20, 2013 - "Ex-Gay" Ministry Exodus International Ceases Operations, Apologizes to Gay Community

Exodus International logo.
Source: Wikipedia.org (accessed June 20, 2013)

"The president of a leading Christian ministry dedicated to helping gays repress their sexual urges through prayer has apologized to the gay community and says the group is shutting down.

Alan Chambers, in a statement posted Thursday on Exodus International’s website,said the group wants to apologize to the gay community 'for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the church as a whole.'...

Exodus International, which is based in Orlando, Fla., was founded 37 years ago and claimed 260 member ministries around the U.S. and internationally. For decades, it offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process...

The announcement that Exodus would close was not a total surprise. Last year, Chambers — who is married to a woman but has spoken openly about his own sexual attraction to men — said he was trying to distance his ministry from the idea that gays' sexual orientation can be permanently changed or 'cured.'"

Washington Post    "Christian Group that Sought to Help Gays Repress Same-Sex Attraction Apologizes, Closes Down," www.washingtonpost.com, June 20, 2013

Aug. 19, 2013 - New Jersey Bans Conversion Therapy for Minors

"New Jersey on Monday became the second state after California to ban so-called conversion therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay minors after Gov. Chris Christie [R] signed into law a bill to prohibit the controversial practice... In a signing letter released after Christie took action, he said that he took into account concerns about the government 'limiting parental choice' in the treatment of their children. 'However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards' the governor added. 'The American Psychological Assn. has found that efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. 'I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate. Based upon this analysis, I sign this bill into law.'... The anti-conversion therapy bill, A-3371, declares that being 'lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming,' and it bans licensed therapists from providing gay-to-straight conversion therapy to children under age 18."

Los Angeles Times    "Chris Christie Signs N.J. Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy," www.latimes.com, Aug. 19, 2013

Apr. 8, 2015 - White House Calls for Ban on Conversion Therapy for Gay and Transgender Minors

"The Obama administration late Wednesday called for a ban on so-called 'conversion' therapies that promise to cure gay and transgender people. The statement was issued in response to a White House petition signed by more than 120,000 people after the suicide of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen from Ohio whose suicide note condemning the society's treatment of transgender people went viral after her death. In the note, she indicated she had been subjected to such therapies... The White House statement, issued by President Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, condemned 'conversion' therapy, also known as 'reparative' therapy, which she defined as any treatment aimed at changing a person's sexual identity. 'The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,' she wrote. 'As part of our dedication to protecting America's youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.'"

Washington Post    "White House Condemns Therapy to 'Cure' Gay Youth," www.washingtonpost.com, Apr. 8, 2015

Oct. 8, 2015 - New Study Finds Sexual Orientation Is Linked to Epigenetic Marks between DNA

"For men, new research suggests that clues to sexual orientation may lie not just in the genes, but in the spaces between the DNA, where molecular marks instruct genes when to turn on and off and how strongly to express themselves. On Thursday, UCLA molecular biologist Tuck C. Ngun reported [at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting] that in studying the genetic material of 47 pairs of identical male twins, he has identified 'epigenetic marks' in nine areas of the human genome that are strongly linked to male homosexuality. In individuals, said Ngun, the presence of these distinct molecular marks can predict homosexuality with an accuracy of close to 70%... But experts said the results -- as yet unpublished in a peer-reviewed journal -- offer preliminary new evidence that a man's genetic inheritance is only one influence on his sexual orientation. Through the epigenome, the results suggest, some facet of life experience likely also primes a man for same-sex attraction… By imprinting themselves on the epigenome, though, environmental influences may powerfully affect how an individual's genes express themselves over the course of his life. Ngun's findings suggest they may interact with genes to nudge sexual orientation in one direction or the other.”

Los Angeles Times    "Scientists Find DNA Differences between Gay Men and Their Straight Twin Brothers," www.latimes.com, Oct. 8, 2015

July 19, 2017 - Rhode Island Becomes Tenth State to Ban Conversion Therapy

"[Governor Gina] Raimando's signature not only makes Rhode Island the 10th state in the country in addition to D.C. with a ban on conversion therapy, but also makes the state the fourth this year to ban the practice for youth.

The ten states with bans on conversion therapy are: Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico and now Rhode Island. (New York's ban is the result of an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, not a legislative ban.) The four states that banned 'ex-gay' therapy this year are Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico and Rhode Island."

Washington Blade    "Rhode Island Becomes 10th State to Ban 'Ex-Gay' Therapy," washingtonblade.com, July 19, 2017

Oct. 23, 2017 - New Study Says Having Older Brothers Increases Likelihood of Men's Homosexuality

"If you're a guy with an older brother, there's an increased chance you're gay.

Scientists have noticed this pattern in previous research, but now they think they have a biological explanation as to why, and it starts long before birth. The results were published in the journal PNAS on Monday.

Many factors may determine someone's sexual orientation, but in this case, researchers noticed a pattern that may be linked to something that happens in the womb. The phenomenon is related to a protein linked to the Y chromosome (which women do not have) that is important to male brain development.

Researchers think it's possible that when a woman gets pregnant with her first boy, this Y-linked protein gets into her bloodstream. The mother's body recognizes the protein as a foreign substance, and her immune system responds, creating antibodies. If enough of these antibodies build up in the woman's body and she gets pregnant with another a boy, they can cross the placental barrier and enter the brain of the second male fetus... [and that] 'may alter the functions in the brain, changing the direction of how the male fetus may later develop their sense of attraction.'"

Cable News Network (CNN)    "Having Older Brothers Increases Men's Likelihood of Being Gay," cnn.com, Dec. 12, 2017

Feb. 26, 2018 - Gay Workers Protected by Civil Rights Act, Rules Federal Appeals Court

"A federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Monday [Feb. 26, 2018] that federal civil rights law bars employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

The case, which stemmed from the 2010 dismissal of a Long Island sky-diving instructor [Donald Zarda], was a setback for the Trump Justice Department, whose lawyers found themselves in the unusual position of arguing against government lawyers from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission...

It its decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said, 'We see no principled basis for recognizing a violation of Title VII for associational discrimination based on race but not on sex.'

'Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one's sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted,' the appellate court added, 'making it impossible for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without taking sex into account.'"

New York Times    "Civil Rights Act Protects Gay Workers, Appeals Court Rules," nytimes.com, Feb. 26, 2018

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