Happy Birthday, Evelyn Hooker

Gregory Herek

September 2nd, 2008

Today is the 101st anniversary of Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s birth.

Dr. Hooker, the psychologist widely credited with helping to establish that homosexuality is not inherently linked to mental illness, was born September 2, 1907, in North Platte, Nebraska. She was the sixth of nine children.

In the course of her remarkable life, Dr. Hooker surmounted many of the barriers faced by women who sought an academic career in the 20th century. She is best known for her psychological studies of gay men in the 1950s and 1960s.

By demonstrating that well-adjusted homosexuals not only existed but in fact were numerous, Dr. Hooker’s research demonstrated that the illness model had no scientific basis. She helped to lay the foundation for the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and for the American Psychological Association’s subsequent commitment to removing the stigma that has historically been attached to homosexuality.

In my latest post at Beyond Homophobia, I summarize Dr. Hooker’s most famous study and offer some reflections on the lasting impact of her work.


September 2nd, 2011

Multiple blind evaluations found no distinguishing psychological characteristics between Heterosexual and Homosexual participants.


Ricardo Swift

January 15th, 2014

Although Dr.Hooker was somewhat ahead of her time, the findings of her Study were very limited in scope and failed the test of time. They were not “Good Science” and not objective. Later studies in the U.K. and The Netherlands call into question the validity of her findings.

Ricardo Swift

January 15th, 2014

Although Dr.Hooker was somewhat ahead of her time, the findings of her Study were very limited in scope and failed the test of time. They were not “Good Science” and not objective. Later studies in the U.K. and The Netherlands call into question the validity of her findings.



March 31st, 2014

Mr Swift,Evelyn Hooker’s research proved gays were indistinguishable from heterosexuals on common measures of mental health. Psychiatrists were tested to see if they could identify gays based on mental health measures and were unable to do so. After years of such research the APA could no longer maintain the unsupported idea that gayness was a mental illness and they had to remove it.If you actually read the studies you mentioned it stated that gays suffer from mental problems is the consequence of living in an intolerant society

Ricardo Swift

July 3rd, 2016

Brandon – WRONG. It was a tainted – poorly executed and poorly researched study designed to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. “It was the product of a deliberate campaign by Gay activists to bring forward particular, pre-arranged outcomes, an approach that ignores scientific objectivity.”

Hooker concluded her report by offering a set of “admissions” about the limitations of her study. In this section she concedes the possibility that homosexuals are indeed pathological, a point conveniently overlooked by the Gay Activists, but proven out by later and more reliable studies. So even though Dr. Hooker prostituted herself to the Mattachine Society, some element of the scientist had to shine through.

Ben in oakland

July 3rd, 2016

Of course. Just like gays people bullied the APA into removing homosexuality from the DSM.

You poor picked upon anti gays. Only you know the truth about anything.

William Fisher

July 6th, 2016

@ Ricardo Swift

Yes, the homosexuals studied by Hooker were clearly not a random sample. You say on your website:

“…individuals who showed the slightest signs of mental instability were excluded…”

There is a problem with that however. If “homosexuals are indeed pathological” then excluding any with mental instability would have meant excluding ALL homosexuals from the study. It would have been impossible to load the study with homosexuals who were NOT mentally unstable, since such ex hypothesi such individuals could not by definition exist.

Ben in oakland

July 6th, 2016

William, Another way of stating your conclusion was hinted at by the aptly named loony bird.

The psychiatrists were certain that they could pick out gay men from any population of people. By matching subjects on their mental stability, Dr. HOoker demonstrated clearly that this was nonsense.

The attempted referendum on the the decision at the APA meeting also failed, indicating that psychiatrists themselves didn’t accept the diagnosis of mental illness.

MR. not-so-swift also quoted the Netherlands study, stating that they concluded that minority’s status and stigmatization contributed to possible increased rates of mental issues among gay people. He then denied that this was the case.

There is more junk on his website than you could find on your average poor channel.

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