Chapter

The Relationship between Homosexuals and Sex Researchers, 1870–1940

in Departing from Deviance

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780226530437
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226304458 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226304458.003.0002
The Relationship between Homosexuals and Sex Researchers, 1870–1940

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By the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, gay men and lesbians started to look towards medical and scientific experts for explanations of human sexuality. They sought clarification and explanation about their same-sex feelings through reading about homosexuality. In parallel fashion, as homosexuals became more visible in society, the medical and scientific community became increasingly interested in studying gay men and lesbians. This chapter deals with the motivations and goals of homosexual men and women in their relationship with physicians and sexual scientists. It briefly begins with a consideration of homosexual communities in Europe and North America and the development of sexual science. Gay male communities comprised complex social networks. Women's experiences in forming same-sex relationships were quite different from those of men. The sexological discovery of homosexuality was both a response to and a source of constructing gay and lesbian identities. Self-defined homosexual men and women existed before the sexologists labeled them. A more concerted and ambitious emancipatory research effort by lesbians and gay men began in 1935 that required collaboration with medical and scientific experts.

Keywords: gay men; lesbians; human sexuality; homosexual; scientific experts

Chapter.  11387 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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