Jan Gay and the Sex Variants Committee, 1935–41

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:
Jan Gay and the Sex Variants Committee, 1935–41

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The sex variants study reflected a strong commitment on the part of both homosexuals and scientific investigators to carry out an investigation of homosexuality. This chapter examines the objectives sought by each group in this study and explores the nature of the relationship between them. It begins with an overview of the background and results of the sex variants study and then considers the broader context of this investigation by discussing how it is situated within the emergence of a grassroots community concern for homosexual rights and the medicalization of homosexuality. For advocates of homosexual rights, the objective was for gay men and lesbians to be able to live their lives in a sexually pluralist society; that is, without having to conform to the social conventions of the heterosexual majority. The objective of effecting social change, reflected in the work of the research activists and expressed by some of the research participants, was also manifested in a case of political activism.

Keywords: sex variants; homosexual rights; gay men; lesbians; political activism

Chapter.  10952 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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