|Alfred Kinsey, 1955. Public Domain|
Reformer, Alfred Kinsey, stated that homosexuality was not a medical condition, yet gay men were still thrown into prison or labelled schizophrenic.
Alfred Kinsey, (1894-1956) was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1920, he was awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and went on to teach zoology at Indiana University. In 1942, he founded The Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University.
Kinsey's Book - A Challenge to Freudian Beliefs
His enquiries into human sexuality led him to publish Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948). According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, "These reports, based on 18,500 personal interviews, received extraordinary publicity for their conclusions about contemporary sexual mores and behaviour." They certainly challenged Freudian beliefs that homosexuality was due to psychiatric disturbance.
For Kinsey, all individuals fitted on a continuum of sexual preferences - and might, during their lifetime, shift from one part of the scale to another. Men in category 1 had no interested in homosexual outlets, while category 6 men preferred nothing else. Men often moved between the categories during their lives. According to author, Andrew Wykholm, the book became a bestseller, while provoking controversy and dissent.
I Have a Right to my Life
Meantime, in spite of the Kinsey Report, homosexuality was still regarded as a medical condition or a disease that could, perhaps, be medically treated. A young man brought up on two indecency charges, reported in The Argus on 3 January 1952, was offered choices between becoming a voluntary patient at a mental hospital or being jailed. He had already been in custody for three weeks pending medical reports. It was claimed he needed treatment for schizophrenia. He told the magistrate that he had a right to a decent life and was sent to prison for two months. "I've got my life to live," he said.
"He never hid his sexuality. He was honest to himself in every respect," said the report.
Kinsey - Accused of Weakening American Morals
Some time later, in 1953, Kinsey's Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female appeared, and caused outrage when he said that lesbians were better at giving partners a climax than males. He also claimed that women who had premarital sex experienced more orgasms after marriage.
Andrew Wikholm adds that some congressmen suspected Alfred Kinsey of being a "fifth columnist" working to erode America's morals and weaken her against the communists.
Alfred Kinsey's research grant was withdrawn after his unpopular claims were published in Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female.
· Kinsey, A. Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948)
· Kinsey, A. Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female (1953)
· Wikholm, A. Social Constructionist History Link, Last Accessed 14 February 2012.
· Staff Reporter, "Man Held on Indecency Charges," The Argus 3 January, 1952.
· Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (1994-2011) For more information visitBritannica.com