Throughout the history of the psychological field, homosexuality has been viewed in a variety of different, and often contradictory ways. In the very beginning of the profession homosexuality was not viewed as within its realm of interest. Homosexual acts were considered, first as sins, and second as crimes. But as the field of psychology became more prominent and influential the "problem" of homosexuality was passed on to them, which had profound implications for the GLBT community and society as a whole. With prestige came the ability to decide what is normal in all of human behavior, as well as what is healthy, what is a perversion, a disease, or a pathological condition. Thus, the GLBT community had to go through them if they wanted to achieve any measure of social acceptance. After deciding that homosexuality was not normal, a tremendous amount of energy was spent trying to discover the cause of homosexual behavior, particularly whether it was biologically based, or if it was learned through the individual's life experiences. Each view had a corresponding cure.
[...] Due to extreme measures the psychological field was willing to undertake to rid society of homosexuality, it is no wonder that the American Psychiatric Association was synonymous with throughout much of the last century, and the names of Bieber and Socarides evoked pure hatred among gays and lesbians. However, during the late 1950's and 1960's the homophile movement was slowly coming together, and a challenge to APA's reign of degradation was imminent. By the early 1960's activists could no longer remain silent against the insults from Bieber and Socarides, whom they took to represent all that was evil within the profession (Herman, 1995). [...]
[...] Homosexuality can also result from a person identifying too much with the parent (though, less commonly with another person who is important to the individual) of the opposite sex, and thus has adopted their erotic focus (Weinber p. 26). It is important to note that Freud had a very progressive view of homosexuality, and did not feel that it in and of itself called for psychoanalysis. In fact, in a letter to one women who wrote to him regarding her sons homosexuality, he wrote that homosexuality was “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" (Murphy, 1984). [...]
[...] Most psychological endeavors into homosexuality are focused instead on the different challenges that gays and lesbians face, and how they can best be overcome or worked through. But there is no denying the harm they caused the GLBT community, particularly around the mid 1900's. By maintaining that homosexuality was an illness, or a disease they gave the general public all the weapons they needed to discriminate and dehumanize gays and lesbians. They also contributed to the feelings of shame, isolation and sickness that homosexuals had for themselves. [...]
[...] The ability to isolate sex hormones lead to a major movement to try to explain homosexuality in terms of hormonal imbalances, or malfunction. The mid 1930's saw an improvement in the production techniques of these hormones, and research into their role in sexual orientation began in earnest. Clifford Wright, a psychiatrist from Los Angeles discovered that the level of androgens in homosexual's urine was lower than that in heterosexual's urine, and that estrogen levels were higher in the former. This lead him to conclude that the homosexuals were pharmacologically feminized, and this could be rectified with administrations of these hormones. [...]
[...] These results caused quite a frenzy even beyond the psychological field when they were published in 1991. However, there were numerous and significant problems with his study. First of all, the sample size was fairly small. Secondly, it did not establish the cause-and-effect relationship that the general press promulgated it to. All of the brains came from people who had been sexually active for years, thus, the size of the INAH-3 could have been the result of, rather than the cause of, the sexual orientation of these people. [...]
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