January 14th, 2013
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
Addressing “A Horror of Everything Related to the Homosexual Tendency”: 1899. In 1897, British sexologist Havelock Ellis published the first installment of his six-volume Studies in the Psychology of Sex. Volume 1 was subtitled Sexual Inversion, as homosexuality was more often called in the English language at that time. Two years later, his book was still making waves. In the January 1899 edition of the International Journal of Ethics, reviewer H. Sturt reviewed Ellis’s book, calling it “a solid and valuable contribution to psychology” and commending Ellis as “give(ing) the impression that he is a genuine scientific man doing his best to illustrate an obscure… province of human nature.” Sexual Inversion was revolutionary, being the first publicly-available scientific book in the English language to discuss homosexuality in a humane and nonjudgmental way. Ellis argued against the contemprary attitudes about homosexuality being abnormal, criminal, or immoral, and presented it instead as a variation in a broad spectrum of sexual expressions. Ellis concluded that it was useless to try to change sexual orientation, and he advocated for the abolishment of Britain’s anti-gay laws like the “gross indecency” law under which Oscar Wilde was prosecuted in 1895.
Most books about homosexuality at the turn of the century were severely restricted in their distribution in England. Sexual Inversion was first published in German in 1896 because Ellis feared it would be censored in England. Since several other books on sexuality had already been published there, German had become the lingua franca, so to speak, of sexuality research, so Ellis’s had a certain logic to it. Besides, when many of those German books were later translated into English, their carefully restricted distribution to solely the professional trade in England typically went unchallenged by the authorities. And so Ellis followed that route as the first English edition was published in London in 1897, with its distribution similarly restricted.
The ploy didn’t work. George Bedborough, a London bookseller, arrested in 1898 and charged with selling obscene material. In court the book was described as being a “certain lewd, wicked, bawdy, scandalous libel.” The judge warned Bedborough, “So long as you do not touch this filthy work again with your hands and so long as you lead a respectable life, you will hear no more of this. But if you choose to go back to your evil ways, you will be brought up before me, and it will be my duty to send you to prison for a very long time.” Ellis withdrew Sexual Inversion from sale in England, and thereafter published his works only in the U.S. and Germany. Sturt, in his review of Sexual Inversion a year later, argued that this established a very bad precedent:
There are some who would raise the general question whether a subject like the present can fitly be made the matter of a published treatise. Many excellent persons have a horror of everything related to the homosexual tendency. Their feelings commands our respect, and yet it seems better to have the subject brought out publicly. That all sorts of immature and half-educated people should read Mr. Ellis’s book is, of course, most undesirable. But in view of the prevalence of sexual inversion it is necessary that every schoolmaster, every criminal lawyer, we had almost said every head of a family, should be acquainted with its phenomena. Were the subject better understood, mistakes would be avoided that have ruined thousands of lives.
[Source: Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (New York: Harper & Row, 1983): pp 296-297.]
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.