thumbnail of The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 1 of 2)
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
Mr. Caller I think we'll begin with our first questions directed toward you. You are I believe the editor of The Mad A China review which is a publication put out by the that a child society is that correct. Could you tell us something about what the matter child society is what its general purposes are. Yes the maritime society is an incorporated nonprofit organization that is engaged in examining and doing something about the problems that face the homosexuals in our country today. Is it confined to the San Francisco area or is it a national publication and society. Well it's a membership organization that is actually spread very thinly now from coast to coast. The magazine is nation in fact it circulates also in 18 foreign countries. And approximately how many members are there in the management side. Right now we have about 117 members probably by the end of the
year that will increase to one hundred fifty. The interest in our subject is very great but people are quite Most enjoying all of the members are over 21 years of age. But the magazine itself would have a wider coverage than that I presume. Yes indeed it circulates in about twenty five hundred copies each monthly issue I see. And the purposes are as you state them to bring about a better understanding of the problem of the person who is classified by our society as a homosexual. Yes that's the primary purpose actually this introduced in this field of meditation has extended to include other forms of sex variation particularly those forms of varied sex behavior that we believe do not constitute any real harm to our social order.
I see. Well now there are many ways that this subject could be discussed. One I would say broadly speaking is the problem of the individual who falls into this category and the other one would be the problem of what society's attitude toward that individual should ideally be. Would the members of the panel agree with that. I think there's a good one. Well supposing we start out with our doctor and death. Perhaps you could tell us what the state of knowledge is scientifically speaking. Is the homo sexual classified as a medical case as a psychological case. What did let's have some general statement of what your interpretation would be of what produces the that particular type of approach to life. Well misses quite a controversial subject even in the medical
profession. There are many many outstanding theories and I think there are many individual variations in the interpretation of those basic theories. For instance there are those physicians who feel that this is definitely a neurotic problem. There are others who feel into a glandular problem. Many feel it's hereditary. Others feel that it may be caused by other factors. Now for myself I feel for many many years of work and intense specialization in understanding homosexuals. I feel that a homosexual is first of all a human be. Now that may seem to be a rather elementary statement but I have very much but if the individual adjustment problem and I think that homosexuality may have many different kinds of causes and each individual case needs to be studied and
interpreted in its own merits. And I do not look upon homosexuality as an erotic problem but more of basic personality pattern reaction. Just as some people prefer blondes and prefer brunettes. I think the fact that a given person may prefer and love the same sex is their personal business. Now that doesn't mean that it is that homosexuals may not become erotic. I think that they often do because society is so hostile to them and their own families do not understand them so they're subject to a great many pressures and a great deal of unhappiness. I know that other psychiatrists would not agree with me. This is my own personal interpretation I see would you saying that the majority of people in the medical profession in your or in your own profession do disagree with you. I mean it when you say that your attitude in other words is a minority attitude where the medical profession is concerned I
suspect that it's pretty much a minority. I know several psychiatrists who have somewhat similar views but I couldn't speak for the group because psychiatrists are just about as individualistic as any group I know and I do believe though that the actual viewpoint is pretty generally hostile of that the homosexual is looked upon as a poor risk by psychiatrists and I know for a fact that you're right about the science. Can one be hostile about science. Is there any acceptable medical evidence in your view for the fact that this is partially at least a a physical predisposition rather than a psychological one. Well it's been a great deal of work done on this but I don't believe there's ever been any conclusive findings. I know that the attempts that I have read well describe all varieties and you wind up by seeing just different kinds of
human beings that is there will be some research which tends to show that homosexuals are tall and skinny and other researches will show that they are more sure than fact with feminine curves. And then there are others that show them to be just a glandular theory. Well I don't know that this is glandular But if you had asked for a physical evaluation and there have been studies me for a long time there's been research made on women as far as I can read. They are dealing with just a broad cross-section of the population and I don't think they're actually measuring the factors which do contribute to homosexuality. And what I'd like the rest of you to enter into this discussion what do you think some of those factors are it. Well I believe that those lie deep in the individual's nature and my own views are that it's a very deep personal psychological problem that there are many factors in the early
childhood which affect a person and the basic thing I am aware of is that all human beings have both male and female us in them. Now in America that is the only place I know. We have too much the attitude that a person is either male or female. And as I find it. All the people I work with are mixed male and female and when there are certain experiences in early childhood it tends to throw a person more toward the male side or toward the female side and that subsequent patterns develop from that. Certainly Dr Freud William James would go along with you on that in there. I think that all men are but they are basically bisexual and William James even said that most men are potential homosexuals. Yes well the protean position as I understand it as a lay person is that there are a series of sexual
attitudes toward life which every individual goes through in some form or another. The self-love the homosexual and the heterosexual and you can correct me Dr. Ben I just want to say you're wrong. Authority and position was that the individual who remains within the homosexual bracket has failed to take another step forward in what would be considered a sort of normal growth in their relationship with life. That is as I understand it Good Friday and position is that just a call you seem to have something to say. Who was going to add I think that this whole business of homosexual ism is just one of the things that exists in nature. It always has been with us as far as we know and it always will be. As far as we expect it seems that no laws or no attitudes of any culture that we've looked into in the past have ever been
able to stamp it out or even essentially curb it. The laws and the enforcement of laws against homosexuality merely chases it out of sight. Of course we do also believe right along here that the sexuality of all people is something that should be a private matter and not of course a public thing. Yes I appreciate that as a viewpoint but I don't think that the fact that a thing has always existed. Obviates the fact that in this particular instance it does create vital problems for the individuals involved and also because of centuries of discussion and hostilities and so on. It also creates a problem for the society so that I think today what we're trying to establish is what that problem is and how it can be most constructively handled from every
standpoint. You mentioned Miss Gailey that you had become a member of the society because your son was a member. That's true. Perhaps you could tell us something about the problem regarding this manifestation of expression from the standpoint of a parent. I think my first reaction would be universal and I was shocked. Here was this is a student asked this is a man for me and for my son. And if it were a shock. Well basically I love my son and I wasn't about to. Put him out of the family circle just because you happen to have different sexual attitudes. So I decided I wouldn't try to understand it and you know in fear. A big part of Fear is the unknown. As soon as you start to understand some of the fear leaves. That's what Dr. Paul I so
appreciate what you're saying and. That's the problem is a very challenging one. The more I got into it the more I studied the more I read and certainly there is much literature on the layman level for anyone to read if they will and if they are interested much of it. Many people are frightened because they think they have to go to the medical journals what they want to understand. But there is very much on the layman level that they can read to understand and far as I'm concerned it is just a matter of understanding and accepting. And what did you what did your understanding at come into I mean I think that would be an interesting point that you discovered that you really didn't have a feeling of shock and hostility and anger or simply that it was something that because you loved another human being you were willing to accept very much that's just about.
While I would like to throw in right here this idea that the problem of homosexuality or the existence of homosexual people is very often much closer to all of us and most of us realize the person on the job next to you or the neighbor in the apartment or in the house next door may very often be homosexual because as far as we have been able to learn from these statistics the experts have handed out approximately every tenth adult. In our culture today may be predominantly homosexual so it isn't one of those scourges that is just visited on someone here and there is quite general in our culture and it spreads throughout our entire population with no respect to economic or intellectual stand standing or. But it covers the entire strata of our society.
Well don't you think that the claims that are made that homosexuality is on the current increase it's more or less an optical illusion. Yes it is. Actually it's this we wrote about a greater awareness of the existence of homosexuality in this country and in the world but particularly in the United States since the end of World War Two. The pressures of a wartime period plus the movements of large groups of population and possibly throwing in many family relationships out of so-called ordinary balance and putting great groups of men together here in there creating an awareness or increase the discovery of the existence of homosexuality in probably a good many people who would have never otherwise discovered it. There's one thing I'd like to put on the table for discussion. Do you feel that the attitude of the person involved
is conditioned by society's pressure or is it intrinsic to his own situation. I mean does he find himself or she find herself in a situation where they themselves have a certain amount of hostility and resentment and fear regarding their own attitudes. Is that purely produced Do you think by the society or is there a real problem involved for the individual in facing their own inclinations. Why I think the individual homosexual individual adopts a lot of his attitude and his own hostilities as a result of the mores or the attitudes of the society in which he lives and maybe even adopt certain mannerisms. As a result of that which reflect this hostility and this lack of self-acceptance because he feels that no one else except him. He is reluctant
perhaps to understand and accept his own true nature and it's certainly a if it's a homo sexual orientation to something that he cannot advertise. If anything he has to live a double life and hide it. That he wants to be a homosexual privately if at all and otherwise appear like a normal or average person in all of his other contacts. When you say that it was some of both from the individual and the result and society. Certainly there is a great deal here that is the most widespread and reaction of almost sections is fear. From society I think there is also guilt and shame within himself. He has both a face would you say that was true Dr. Vereker. Well I certainly agree with you on a major factor is this fear of the unknown that you have mentioned and people have such concepts of
homosexuality that make them have all kinds of grisly fear. And I would like to say also that one of the factors which I think is so important to realize is the fear that it may be on us. We have little indications maybe we've been a little to ease your Brinton expressions that we were surprised at. And so we will often persecute a person. Because we don't want to face that truth in ourselves. Yes but that's an attitude on the part of the person on the outside. What I was trying to have some more light on was this child grows up in an environment where in so far as his knowledge goes largely He's in a head to sexual society. And if he suddenly begins to discover in himself a tendency which doesn't coincide with the family life and what he knows of the social life around him isn't that in itself
an opening wedge of fear and confusion particularly when he may be afraid to turn to anyone else. Well yes I think he is different in quotation. Yes and people feel a sense of terror almost at the discovery of any major difference. In their attitudes from that of the societies to rounding them I think that any human being has had that experience if they have gone off on their own in any direction religiously philosophically politically any way you like. So that perhaps that is one of the factors which sets up the original difficulty for the individual not to very evident when you work with these individuals. But they have been hurt so early in life by this persecutory attitude. They pick it up very quickly and they are very much afraid to share their outlook they're even afraid that if they approach another potentially
homosexual person they may be making a mistake. So one of the first things that I do in working with a person who has homosexual tendencies is to begin a process of self acceptance in him. And as he accepts himself he becomes more relaxed and more comfortable and then he can meet people on a more peaceful basis and doesn't have to put on a lot of these mannerisms which are quite often the hostility showing his own reaction to this hostility from other people I've spoken to. Well isn't this part and parcel in a way of our whole approach not just our approach to the home sexual problem but the approach to any problem which is involves sex. Many heterosexual people have had their lives will wrecked by ignorance by fear or by lack of communication with their families and the society around them. Isn't part of this problem a basic one of the
whole social mores in regard to the sexual expression of life. That's why I stress that homosexuals are people too. They are just persons. And these problems are not just a matter of the homosexuals problems but they're the problems of anyone that deviates from the accepted standards. And I believe that that. Who is true not only for sexual problems sport for anybody who differs in their viewpoints even that we are such products of habit and herd instinct so to speak that we will see this reaction. I think we're still not at the root of a thing perhaps because I go back to my original idea. There really being two problems involved here. One is the attitude of society toward a given situation. The other is the problem of the individual involved in
that routine as as it were and they certainly it seems to me are different problems because what they do whether society is going to consider that any deviation from the sexual norm is a crime or whatever it is. It's still the individual involved finds himself in a minority and that in itself presents some problems in other words. Could we discuss this for a moment from the standpoint of whether or not it is supposing society accepts. I had this manifestation of life and there is no persecution there is there are no laws against it or anything like that. It still is a minority situation in which the individual finds himself with certain things which seem to me at least to be intrinsic to the thing itself. Do you feel that it would be a satisfactory
way of life for the individual involved if there were no social pressures. In other words very definitely it already had been. It could be a very satisfactory way of life. I'm not one who's intending to say that is the satisfactory way of live at all. Along the line of what you just mentioned we recognize that this is a two fold problem. In our work in the organization. Primarily the manage time is an educational organization and we are directing our educational work in two ways one toward the individual himself. That is through the homosexual individual so that that person may learn what he is and understand and accept himself for what he is. And we in this work do not stress any ideas of the fact there of his having a disease or that there is necessarily a cure for it or that there is even a need for a cure for it. We say that he should
adapt himself to his lot in life and live the most responsible and upstanding kind of life possible with this thing as a part of his nature. Otherwise we direct our educational work toward the public in general to get the public to understand that homosexuals are among us. And as Dr. Baker says they are people and they must be accepted and understood for what they are. Because we know that studying the lives of many great people who have been known to be almost sexual The homosexual people just as everyone else has a great deal to offer to our culture. And if the individual doesn't have to be aware a sly fox living a double existence all the time he can turn himself loose and call upon His creative and productive talents and do a great deal for our culture.
If you are looking for one basic cause of homosexuality in the individual as Dr Baker pointed out at first there have been so many white variations in the in that very odd thing that I don't think it has ever been settled or found out exactly what ideas there are just as many. Proofs if you want to call it that of its being inherent as there are others being acquired. Through early training could it not be both. It can yes I mean these offices and there are just as many causes probably as there are individuals. Nobody can see you are not Dr. Baker. Really with this we learned that and we've also discovered that this bugaboo of fear is one of the biggest things we have to contend with. We get many many letters from all parts of the United States from people in all walks of life from people in the armed forces and from people of all ages who have maybe
either just discovered they are homosexual or they have know it for a long time and want some kind of help. And we find it in the media even recommended to read publications which we produce. Many of them are her free are they're afraid to. They're afraid to have their name on a mailing list. They think that some authorities are going to seize it. Well that's never happened and we don't believe it will. Otherwise they're afraid to even be seen reading material on this subject because they feel it to be seen taking an interest in a subject is to be wearing a sign or a mark of Cain or something like that which says they are all of the people that you have knowledge of and you get all this correspondence and you Dr. Baker handle many of these people as patients. Is that acceptance that they are chiefly looking for or do some of these people wish to be able to rid themselves of this particular approach to life.
Well most of them that come to me want to get rid of the approach to life shall we say. And it's of course a pretty difficult thing to do. I think it's practically impossible. I always tell them if they have a heterosexual component large enough to function less it will come into being and they may be able to marry or have a love affair with the person of the opposite sex but in so many cases they don't have that potential. And I just simply have to work with what we have and I'm happy to say that I have among my friends a great many people in different professions artists teachers doctors who have made remarkable adjustments to themselves and have come to accept themselves as individuals who have this what do we call it this electromagnetic pool which we call love. For some very scornful. Well there's the word love is so poorly understood it's such a
maligned word there so well I don't care I'll refrain from using it. And that's why I use that tone of voice to call attention to it because I don't think most of us know just what this reaction is in us and that is something that sort of. Automatic it comes out of the deeper layers of the unconscious and we feel attracted to certain types of people. I happen to know for instance a heterosexual situation in which one man married seven women and they were almost the same pattern as its mother. Now that was certainly not a very intelligent selection and his reactions to this business of love was a pretty automatic thing. Pretty much in the animal world. And so it is with homosexuals they are attracted to certain types of people and react with this reaction of love. And it's just not a matter of reason. It's not a matter of re-education. It's a deep biological problem. I
very much agree with the late Dr Alfred Kinsey that homosexuality is one of the heritage is from our many an ancestry. The animals all have homosexual reactions. It doesn't take much observation to doubt that. So I believe that we're dealing with something that's pretty basically part of our human heritage and that we've been trying to stamp it out and my emphasis is let us accept it and to develop the wonderful things associated with it because so many homosexuals are very versatile gifted people. And I myself feel that society should make them proud members and that give them encouragement brings out much in the way they have hidden resources. When you say Dr. Baker that there is a detectable level of talent associated directly with them sexuality how would you feel that the percentage of homosexuals who are outstandingly gifted would be about the same as it is in the
rest of the population. Well is there a difference there that you feel is associated with this. I haven't done a statistical report to make because I work with small numbers of people in a very quiet way and I haven't any basis for this in terms of numbers but the people who come to me I would say that almost universally homosexuals are the artists the gifted people the people who can have more versatility and have so much more to give to society than not just red meat and potatoes people. They're really talented people. And I don't think that's exaggerated 20 you think about that Hal. Well I agree with you and then I would add something to it. I know this many forms of career pursuits and many levels of education and all sorts of variations are present among the homosexual people. I know there's also a tendency in some of the groups working on the problem today to
point out that the homosexual is possibly on the average more gifted. Then there is the non homosexual or heterosexual person. I hardly think that's a just evaluation of the homosexual. I think that he is probably no more gifted on the average than he is the ordinary person. The homosexuals it seems does have an opportunity perhaps to develop some of the creative and artistic talents that are normally not developed in the instances where a young man marries a girl that in his early 20s and they immediately start producing a family and of course that means that the you are providing for the family has got to be the main thing. Whereas in the life of a homosexual in the same age bracket he doesn't have so many pressures of that sort and he can perhaps develop these talents and creative abilities and do more with them.
Do you think it might possibly be connected with the fact that any minority group tends to attempt to excel simply because there is pressure around them. I think that that is detectable in other minority groups that an individual who feels that society is hostile immediately in every field tries to refute this hostility by perhaps giving additional effort and time and concentration to somehow announcing his own integrity and his own ability. Would you think that had any relevance to this part of the discussion. I think that's very true in regards to my sections and their jobs. That fear of detection is always there. So they make an utmost effort to do their best so they won't be fired. Another point to what Hal said the fact that homosexuals do not have response to these out families
frees them to develop whatever creative talents they have. I have much more time and I'm inclined to agree with him from my own observations which of course are limited. The average homosexuals get pretty much the average interest sexual in regards to creative ability. In the society the ones I have observed I think are perhaps the cream of the crop because they have intelligence enough to join the society and try to get help and to help others. On the other hand you know you have to do is walk around town and into the bars and see the screaming meemies which are the ones that the public judge most homosexuals by because they are so obvious. If you walk down the street or if you walk into an institution you cannot pick out the homosexuals. That is the heterosexual half of them you don't even recognize. They do work under that fear all the time out being tempted and therefore can't get their
past. They try to get their past. Has anyone else commented on that particular subject as I exist to underscore perhaps what Mrs. Daly said about the minority within the minority that is so readily recognized. That's one of the things we have to contend with a lot in our organizational work in this field. We have so we hear from so many homosexuals who urge us to please preach that the flamboyant individual should not show off and shouldn't be obvious so that he receives the ridicule and scorn of his fellow man. Well that would be a good thing if we could teach all of the homosexuals and eliminate these particular mannerisms which are not regarded as. Very pleasant. However we feel like you know there is a more basic problem to get at that will in the long run if it can be solved. Take care of that. And that is to educate the public so that its
attitude toward these people who are displaying his mannerisms she event is this attitude can be changed in the mannerisms will no longer be of any significance and whether they're recognized or not it won't amount to anything. Well would you think that perhaps the social pressure has in the first place created the mannerism and in the sense that a person who knows that what they're doing is unpopular will sometimes overdo it in a sort of reflex action and to say to put it bluntly to hell with the very outside world that really is it is a gesture of defiance and I thought it was that because of my thing out isn't very hostility within the person. Dr. Baker had you something. Yes I've been particularly interested in this exaggerated behavior as a hostility reaction and that is one of the manifestations of the neurotic homosexuals. Now we have many many grades
of homosexuals many of them are fully adjusted they never see a psychiatrist. Most people don't know they have their problems they may be living in their own private life in dignity and quietness. But there are those others who react violently to the world and show it and they're the ones that have the limp wrists and the screaming voices and are called by various names. Now I'd like to read with your permission a few words which covers this very point very well. Not all homosexuals are gay. That term is applied especially to those who are just coming out right now enjoying their membership in a minority group in society. It seems that they wish to submerge themselves in a herd in which they adopt a common jargon like teenagers bump and jive talk thus and laying some of their fears since they have little awareness of their own individuality or originality and are lacking in self confidence and self acceptance. They gain a shallow
identification with a group and find a welcome outlet for their resentments and hostilities toward a world which rejects them. Usually there is considerable hate released toward the parent or the parents who fail to understand them. Thus gays may be considered homosexuals in adolescent rebellion much cruising as a search for the other self a companion who can understand not just sex and much of their friends etic lovemaking is a compulsive drive to find their elusive ego ideal which has generally been damaged by the same sex parents while they were identified with the opposite sex parents but with resentment. Well that closing words there would certainly point in the direction of the fact that you feel that some homosexuals are suffering from a certain amount of maladjustment. Oh yes I'm glad you have brought them into that category. In other words people who might have been under an optimum environmental setup had developed into the had to sexual
chattel is that not true. I mean you're going to know about I mean with that with the opposite parent and the identification and resentment and so on. All of that sounds as if you were indicating a psychological background for the behavior. Well as I stated I feel that so many of these people are potentially capable of becoming either like me also like females. They're quite. Bisexual perhaps to start with but these factors which I mentioned in the early family relationship may push them to one side of the scale or to the other. I see. And then when they find themself themselves in the gay side then they become more so out of defiance and rebellion because of their herds. Yes another thing that I think we might discuss at this point is how satisfactory. In a non-sexual way. Are most of these relationships one of the
things I think that occur to people in our society is that rather than lasting relationships most of the homosexual relationships seem to be more brief in their ration. Is there again a social reason for that. Or does it lie within the situation itself. Well from my experience in counseling a great many homosexuals couples I would say that a great deal of the friction between them is a matter of their own eroticism that they are capable perhaps of a much better and steadier relationship. But they have so much hate within them that it disrupts the relationship and they're just incapable of having a real love relationship in terms of true companionship compassionate understanding and mutual admiration society which we find our very best set of elements for a good heterosexual marriage I've also done much of that so I feel that I can look at both sides of the picture. And I would say that part of the problem of the
homosexuals. Perhaps some major portion of his problem in forming a satisfactory partnership is his own unhappy adjustment to life. And I don't blame that on homosexuality persay but merely because he has reacted so vigorously to the unhappy situations in his life. In other words the over accenting of society of the purely sexual side of his life has perhaps held back his development and maturity. On the other side exactly that be yes. Let's not forget you know let's not forget that there are a good many homosexual relationships which have lasted many many years and they are unknown to society at large. Frequently even in a small town two unmarried schoolteachers may be living in a homosexual relationship without anyone else in the community recognizing it or being aware of it. Yes but that in itself I should think would be a distinct advantage as much as any mature
relationship surely is dependent on more sexual relationships indeed it is. There's another point in here I think we're basing this I think common convention married to a set up by the heterosexual world. We have guests that at home. Homosexuals are different. Why can't they have a different set of conventions that are just as valid that they could do. But indeed it has been my experience as a lay person in also having numerous contacts with. Will homosexuals that often one of the great burdens of their situation is that they are not allowed to have the home environment and the other aspects of a full life with another human being simply because the barriers are set up in sexual in that way and it appears to me that it is definitely a factor in the development and the adjustment and or
maladjustment of homosexual people. And then on the air in the case of the homo sexual relationships which are are fleeting and which do not last very long we've got to remember that just as there are not the what standards are there whereby such a relationship can be made and announced as it is between a man and a woman legally married. There are still not the. There are also none of the impediments to breaking up the relationship. Relationships can be entered into very easily and broken very easily. There is no such thing as property or seldom is there anything anything such as property never anything such as children unless are the result of a previous marriage. Involved so the whole sexual relationships can be ended just as quickly as they can be going and very frequently it's true they are. But that's not necessarily a recommendation only you know that it is more of a full life and I mean you know if you make it to surely the purely physical
aspects of human relationships are a foundation stone for other aspects of that relationship. Or ideally speaking should be for the happiness of the individual. In other words it doesn't appear to me at least that it's an objective but foundation stone and it does seem to me that perhaps that is lies partly at the root of the sexual problem that this one thing has been singled out of a whole life for so much accent. Not only by society but by the individual himself because he feels this pressure that perhaps that in itself leads to more to a less mature general approach in life Dr. Baker would you say that that he illiteracy. Oh yes I think so. I'd like to stress also that we're dealing here with a subject which is so hidden and so little really understood
that anything like accurate statistical report is unobtainable. And in thinking over the problem of two homosexuals getting along together we are all too conscious of the ones that don't get along together. And you never hear about the ones that do get along together. And yet I think all of us know that there are such cases. I know several. So it's it's very difficult very slippery to get anything in the way of statistics. I would like to say a word to about the social situation here. When we're dealing with a problem like homosexuality we're dealing with something that is a personal matter. And yet society as a whole is still operating on the business of running other people's business on too much. Now we happen to be living in a wonderful democracy and that is just the antithesis of dictatorship which mine is your business for you and tells you what to do. And yet unfortunately that being a
sort of an old heritage from the past is still pretty much a habit with us even though we pride ourselves on a democracy which is based on the idea that we should develop ourselves and our talents and learn to get along with one another. So this problem of homosexuality is a deep problem. Shall we accept. Our neighbors and their reactions are shall we try to tell them what to do with their lives now. I guess I'm thinking here surely. From the standpoint of society and far be it for me to be that delegate particularly society has always assumed the right to have something to do with heterosexual relationships in terms of marriage and divorce and property rights and all those things. You're not suggesting that the homosexual has automatically stepped out of the common not just homicidal you know me. I call upon him in any way. Not at all but I'm later going to be possible position. Some people do resent
the supervision of society in their personal lives even if their habits are heterosexual. It's a basic thing their society does play a role in the is the extent to which society should play the role surely is it. Open to a lot of controversy I would would thing. But we're coming into a period where there seems to be more enlightenment more awareness of the individual's needs to express himself as long as he doesn't bring sorrow or harm to other people. And I wonder how if you could give anything about the Wolfenden Report and the signs of the times more enlightened coming in more appreciation of individuals rights as long as they can fit into our society patterns without harm. Well in England last September a committee headed by Sir John Wolf and it's a bit of a report which recommended that consenting homosexual acts between males because incidentally in England there were as there is no law against
such acts but between females. It was that because when the laws were passed no one suspected you I mean I think the legislation was done based on Syria ignorance I want to read where it is. I believe it possibly was. Nevertheless it's been recommended in England that consenting out act between adults over 21 no longer be a matter of concern of the law where there is no longer be considered a crime providing the acts are take place in private and do not involve minors and do not involve any kind of force or violence or fraud. Now that also is essentially the program of our own management organization. We tell everyone that he or she must respect the laws that we have in this country and we advocate that no one should disobey these laws. However we do call for an educational program to be conducted until the
attitudes are changed so that our laws may be changed in all of our 48 states we hope along these lines. Incidentally we're not the first or we're not the only organization in the country in this country doing that work. Enable 955 the American Law Institute in its tentative draft number four which covers sexual offenses recommended essentially the same things. Many and retired jurists and people well versed in law enforcement in this country sat in on the making of those recommendations. Judge Learned Hand in New York was one of the outstanding individuals who helped push that particular theory or that thesis or stand through the Weldon in committee or in its report at least in England is not yet law. It is only a recommendation. I've heard many individuals tell me that already the laws have been changed in England well that is not true at this date.
In some countries however in Europe the laws have been changed in Denmark I believe the change was made in 1933 so that homosexual acts are not illegal. Now the stigma against homosexuality as imposed by the entire culture still remains. There are other countries in Europe where laws may be found on the books to make such acts illegal. But there is not an inclination in those countries to enforce them providing again the acts are conducted in private and between adults and no force or violence or fraud is involved. I see which countries are those which you learned as one. I would say probably in the three middle Lex countries in Norway and Sweden. That attitude is pretty general. I believe Norway has had a change in law I'm not quite sure but I understood that in the early fifties
just a few years ago they did make the change in law. That attitude is generally prevalent in France and well in most of the Latin countries yes. However in some countries like in Germany today and in Austria particularly the persecution of the homosexual is particularly severe it's also very severe in them. Is this apply in western Germany as well as Eastern time well where our knowledge is of western Germany. And frankly in Germany I'd go a long way to do change the attitude but it's been reported to us that part of this drifting back into the matter more. Medieval Era is the result of our own American occupation. I seen where the end of the writing observation on the in the in the Russian dominated part of that Europe in general what is the attitude on the subject. Well there is there are laws against it as far as we know in all of those countries the
middle of the area under the Soviets. But we have no direct contact or no worthwhile information from that area so I couldn't report on that and that in this country to say there are some recommendations which are going forward in the I the being handled by state or the sex crimes are a matter of state jurisdictions we have forty eight different sets of laws involving sex acts in this country. In one state a certain to. A certain homosexual act might be considered a misdemeanor and the maximum penalty might mean you know a $50 fine or 30 days in jail or some such thing is that all in the same offense in another state may draw you an up to life imprisonment. Really I didn't know that the law was ever as severe as that in has that ever been enforced or is that just a law on the statute books you know.
I daresay there are rare cases where many of these laws have been enforced clear up to the maximum penalty. Very often and this is a very good thing I think the maximum penalties are not being invoked in there as often as they were say 20 years ago or coming forward that might. Some states have. Really relieve the penalties somewhat. New York has been a leader there I believe and so has New Jersey. However even after Dr. Carl Bowman the Langley Porter clinic here in San Francisco I made a very wonderful report and a series of recommendations to our state legislature in California about three years ago and the recommendations have been shelved and not long before that report was made I believe some of the penalties for homosexual acts in this state or
even increased from what they were a few years ago. Dr. Bowman's recommendations could you give us briefly what those were. I would hesitate to do that. I know that Dr. moment said in the conclusion of his report that as times change in our attitudes change and as we need to become more informed about what we are here on this earth maybe some of our standards need to be very seriously examined. And if our old attitudes and standing standards are found wanting wanted wanting wanting is the word and then perhaps we should do something about it. And. You know in essence he did recommend that our legislature go over the whole sex offenses section of our penal code and bring them up to date in the light of what science has discovered particularly in the last 10 years since the advent of Dr. Kinsey's study on the human male which
came out in 1948 and nothing has been done about that report. Not in this state to my knowledge no less to my knowledge. I think we have about exhausted our time. I think that a number of issues have been raised which perhaps will call for further discussion. And I'm very grateful to you Dr. Baker is to call and steely for coming along today. Thank you very much. Thank you. It was a privilege.
The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 1 of 2)
Producing Organization
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
Pacifica Radio Archives (North Hollywood, California)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/28-3n20c4st80).
Program Description
This recording from 1958 - the earliest known radio recording to overtly discuss homosexuality - features Public Affairs Director of KPFA Elsa Knight Thompson interviewing Hal Call, the editor of the Mattachine Society's newsletter, the Mattachine Review; Dr. Blanche Baker, a psychologist noted for her then-rarely-shared belief that homosexuality was not an abnormality nor an illness; and Leah Gailey, the mother of a gay man. Gailey recounts her shock at first learning her son was gay and her eventual embrace of her son's sexuality. Call asserts that "every tenth predominantly homosexual". Topics discussed include the conflict of the society versus the individual, whether the root of homosexuality is a product of biology or environment, flamboyant individuals, and elimination of effeminate gestures that distinguish homosexuals versus educating public that these mannerisms are not significant.
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Talk Show
Social Issues
Public Affairs
Gays -- History; Homosexuality; Radio panel discussions; Gay rights--United States
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: 15333_D01 (Pacifica Radio Archives)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Pacifica Radio Archives
Identifier: PRA_AAPP_BB0012A_Homosexual_in_our_society_part_1 (Filename)
Format: audio/vnd.wave
Generation: Master
Duration: 0:55:05
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 1 of 2),” 1958-11-24, Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 1 of 2).” 1958-11-24. Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The Homosexual in Our Society (Part 1 of 2). Boston, MA: Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from
Supplemental Materials