History of homosexuality.

Essay by hksshkUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, August 2003

download word file, 7 pages 3.0


In 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.



Prejudice against gay people fomented by individuals, institutions, or nations. Anti-gay bigotry. (www.gayhistory.com)


A 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)


In 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,