Homosexualty to Gay-A social revolution
Psychosexual development is something that has been the province of those who investigated its cultural and biological correlates for decades. Before it became the grist for a political movement, Sigmund Freud, in his earliest work understood the imperative of this inborn impulse, and tried to tease out some of the dynamics of the polymorphous perversity that he understood was our genetic heritage. Freud explored this with the realization that such intrapsychic conflicts were not only ubiquitous, but inevitable, as were so much of human conflict, as sketched out in "Civilization and its discontents."
The process of politicization is a transformation of language from that which informs to that which energizes. "Homosexual" or gay" is neutral, while "queer" or "fagot" is confrontational, fighting words. Homophobe is the is the linguistic weapon of choice to categorize those who oppose gay equality, as it imputes a motivation that is other than rational, rather protecting the individual from his or her own impulses. Ironically, it's use is an epithet that defines an individual by one dimension, the very essence of what progressives so disdain in other contexts.
Freud came to maturity during the apogee of the Austrian German intellectual Renascence, when normalcy became understood as the acceptance of cultural norms, which were ways of a given society to cope with its stresses at a given moment in time. Freud, and those who followed his ethos, if not his system, had no illusions that any society could be perfected to banish injustice or personal suffering. The principle was that understanding, being open to why we act as we do could provide some barrier to the worst excesses of any culture. Here is Freud's 1935 letter on this subject to a mother that began by pointing out great men who had been homosexual, that it is nothing to be ashamed of and continued:
By asking me if I can help [your son], you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual; in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.
What analysis can do for your son runs in a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains homosexual or gets changed.
In the course of a few generations, this final paragraph of the founder of the intrapsychic understanding of human behavior, if spoken today would be castigated as hostile to homosexuals. It is almost exactly what was expressed by Dr. Robert Spitizer that subjected him to such vocal criticism that he retracted this conclusion.......actually that is not what he did. He apologized for the effect of a study supporting this that was flawed, while never retracting his conclusion that some people could have sexual orientation changed by therapy. Neither Freud nor Spitzer were advocates of reparation psychotherapy, which has a completely different ethos and perspective from that of any form of therapy based on the loosest values of Freud and his followers. By the time Spitzer did his research, the quest for understanding of homosexuality had gone the way of understanding racial differences, banished from academic discourse. Spitzer used this religious based treatment only because it was all that was available to explore the effect of intervention on this personality attribute. In the two professional generations between the writing of Freud's letter and the research by Spitizer, Homosexuality was transformed into the Gay movement, no longer a topic for anthropologists and biologists, but an issue for civil rights theorists and political operatives.
This is best illustrated in this excerpt from the American Psychological Association 3000 word paper, Sexual orientation and homosexuality: What about therapy intended to change sexual orientation from gay to straight?
All major national mental health organizations have officially expressed concerns about therapies promoted to modify sexual orientation. To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.
Notice that although the broad subject is Sexual Orientation, while dispelling the image of homosexuality being opprobrious, the guidance for therapists encountering those who seek help for psychosexual conflicts only provides one choice, which is that conflict over sexual orientation should be resolved by accepting the non biologically congruent choice. It closes the section with:
Helpful responses of a therapist treating an individual who is troubled about her or his same-sex attractions include helping that person actively cope with social prejudices against homosexuality, successfully resolve issues associated with and resulting from internal conflicts, and actively lead a happy and satisfying life.
There is no acknowledgement that ambiguity, that mixed sexual attractions can be dealt with other than by, in effect, accepting that such impulses should be embraced. This concluding paragraph is a pastiche of political correctness that ultimately says nothing substantive
Mental health professional organizations call on their members to respect a person’s (client’s) right to self-determination; be sensitive to the client’s race, culture, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, language, and disability status when working with that client; and eliminate biases based on these factors.
Out of this verbiage (it's carelessness of thought reflected in it's grammatical inconsistency) anything can be construed, yet the clear words as expressed by Freud, "If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, (therapy) may bring him or her harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains homosexual or gets changed" is conspicuously and blatantly not included as an option for this helping profession in the 21st century. How is a therapist to be "sensitive to a distressed person's sexual orientation" when that is the presenting conflict to be explored. The only interpretation is that "sensitive to" is to be construed as not suggesting the shared journey of exploring impulses, the conflicts and the options available to the individual. "Sensitive to" in the context of politicization of homosexuality means embracing the now common perception of homosexuality as being of the essence of the individual and forming a mindset that this is the inevitable identity based on other than the mutual exploration of the individual's best interests.
When Robert Spitzer was instrumental in changing homosexuality from a personality disorder in the Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III of 1980, his goal was to specifically validate treatment for the conflicted individual suffering that Freud described, whatever the outcome of post therapy sexual orientation. In this document by the American Psychological Association, the only therapy that is mentioned that could result in the change that Freud described is religious based reparitive therapy. The tone of this paper is clear, dealing with homosexual impulses inherently means condemning such impulses. There is no acknowledgement of the roots of Freud's conclusion, that homosexuality may be part of complex maladaptive adjustments that go beyond the political.
Freud would be appalled by this as am I, and in the next sections I will explain why.