History Of Homosexuality. Essay

1754 words - 7 pages

heterosexualIn the 1860s, writer Karl Maria Kertbeny first invented the term heterosexual, and later coined homosexual as its opposite. The term entered the psychiatric lexicon in the 1880s and 1890s thanks to Richard von Krafft-Ebing's adoption of it in Psychopathia Sexualis. One prominent American doctor used the term for patients who would be called bisexual today, and many American laymen continued to use it that way, along with the more euphemistic "ambidextrous," well into the 1920's. In psychiatric circles, though, the term was well established by 1915 when Sigmund Freud used it in a revised edition of his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality as a synonym for "normal" sexuality, sexual desire directed toward members of the opposite sex. The heterosexual/homosexual/bisexual/transsexual distinctions as they have been used by doctors and sexologists in the 20th Century are beginning to weaken as doctors and sex professionals share a growing awareness of the fluidity of an individual's sexuality. (www.gayhistory.com)HomophobiaPrejudice against gay people fomented by individuals, institutions, or nations. Anti-gay bigotry. (www.gayhistory.com)TranssexualA person whose gender identity does not match the sex he or she was born with. Some transsexuals cross-dress while others opt for surgery to change their bodies from female to male or vise versa. (www.gayhistory.com)HomosexualIn the 1860's, Karl Maria Kertbeny coined "homosexual" in preference to "pederast," the derogatory term for men who had sex with each other that was in common use in the Germany of his time. According to Kertbeny, many homosexuals are more masculine than ordinary men and are often superior to run of the mill heterosexuals who tend, in his opinion, toward rape and mayhem because they are oversexed. Kertbeny hoped that his new word and his definition of it would help to eliminate Paragraph 175, Germany's oppressive anti-pederasty law, but the strategy didn't work. Instead, Richard von Krafft-Ebing and other doctors adopted it as a diagnosis for mental pathology. (www.gayhistory.com)GayIn the 19th Century, the term that had originally meant mirthful or joyous acquired a new meaning. Female prostitutes were called (derogatorily) "gay women", and men who were considered playboys were called "gay," too. Early in the 20th Century, some American men and women adopted the word as a label for themselves, preferring it to the clinical "homosexual." The word entered broad use in the 1960s and 1970s as the media responded to gays' demands that the word replace "homosexual" in their news reports. The venerable New York Times held out, but even there, "gay" was ultimately accepted in 1989.Just as African American leaders in the 1960s demanded to be called black, not Negro, American gay liberationists fought to be called gay since "homosexual" was the word psychiatrists used to define gays as mentally ill.Today many women eschew the term gay, preferring lesbian because it highlights...

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