Wayne R. Dynes


Originally published at Dyneslines (http://homolexis.blogspot.com/).
Reproduced here by permission of the author.
- Introduction
1. Paradigm One
2. Nomenclature
3. The Comprehensive Paradigm in Gay Studies
4. Gay Studies in Cross-cultural Context
5. The American Paradigm
6. The Homophile Paradigm
7. Conclusion: Other Putative Paradigms
- Arts Bibliography
- Bibliography of Gay Literary Studies

Homostudies: Introduction

The account unfolding in this and the following seven postings takes its start in the nineteenth century. That is when “the homosexual” was first consistently postulated as a distinct human variant (though not always in so many words).

To be sure, some anticipations of homostudies should be noted, among them the ancient Greek quest for the “inventor” of same-sex love; Orpheus and Laius were the two prime candidates. Assuming the existence of a period prior to the inception of same-sex love, this approach treats that capacity as an innovatory human artifact, not unlike viticulture and ship building, law and democracy. All these discoveries are part of the civilizing process. This approach contrasts with the more recent view, expressed by Goethe and others, that same-sex behavior has always been with us.

There are also the lists of famous homosexuals, a tradition starting in early modern Europe with the curious seventeenth-century text known as Aloisia Sigea. Finally, some attention is owing to parallel efforts in medieval Islam, China, and Japan. However, that cross-cultural task will not be addressed in these pages.

The structure of the present work, "Homostudies," owes much to the method of delineating successive paradigms introduced by Thomas Kuhn, the Harvard historian and philosopher of science. Yet in contrast to Kuhnian paradigm theory, which is linear and supersessionist, none of the models traced in the following account has been discarded. Reckoning with this survival factor, my approach may be termed combinatory and dialectical.

That being said, there is a progressive aspect as well. Over the centuries in Western Europe a vast deposit of prejudice, fabrication, and defamation had accumulated. There was no way that this burden could be lifted in a single generation. The improvements in understanding had to proceed step by step. I have sought to depict the major phases of this salutary process in these pages. At the outset the journey must inevitably seem somewhat obscure. But if the reader will persevere, matters will become clearer as we go on.

Inevitably there will be some quibbles about terminology. The term "gay studies" strikes many as old-fashioned and anachronistic. In keeping with current fashion, some would prefer "LGBTQ studies"; yet that expression is also anachronistic, indeed more so than gay studies. A common objection to the words gay and homosexual is that they privilege the male. Point taken, but a faithful account of the relevant scholarship must foreground the male narrative because that is what most of the studies have been concerned with historically.

Perhaps one should coin a new term: "homosexology." Yet the story is not solely about sex research, for it also concerns the culture and perception of same-sex love. Indeed, in his comparative studies of poetry Heinrich Hössli, arguably the ultimate progenitor of the field, gave pride of place to the cultural realm. Taking this dimension into account one might speak of "homosapience" or "homophrenos"; yet the first is too cute, the second too recondite.

Nonetheless, thanks to a suggestion of Dr. Erwin J. Haeberle, a solution presents itself. The appropriate term stems from the world of contemporary Dutch scholarship, which has made an immense contribution--too little appreciated outside the Netherlands--to our subject. That term is "Homostudies."

At a time when these important topics enjoyed very little entree into American and British universities, the first formal gay and lesbian studies programs were established at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1978. Under the rubric of homostudies, their aim was to remould scholarly attitudes towards homosexuality and homosexuals, changing the way in which homosexuality was represented in academic curricula. This aim remains valid.

I regret that I have not found it possible to provide fuller coverage of issues pertaining to bisexuality. See, however, the opening section of the last chapter, together with Erwin J. Haeberle, "Bisexuality: History and Dimensions of a Modern Scientific Problem," at http://www.sexarchive.info/GESUND/ARCHIV/SEXOR4.HTM.

In order to bring out key themes, coverage is necessarily highly selective. Since no attempt has been made to identify all significant works and scholars, omission of any particular name or group does not constitute a judgment of value. The narrative in the following postings is not a roster of scholars and their works; I undertook that task twenty-five years ago in my Homosexuality: A Research Guide. See the electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/ResGde/index.htm


1) In 1836-38 Henrich Hössli, an independent scholar in Switzerland, introduced the method of comparative study of attitudes towards same-sex love, providing evidence from two main sources: ancient Greece and medieval Islam. Directly or indirectly, he was able to draw upon an abundance of classical scholarship for the former, and a smaller deposit of Orientalist studies for the latter.

2) The nineteenth century witnessed a great interest in classification and nomenclature, including descriptors of homosexual behavior and orientation. This concern has continued into our own day with the deployment of such terms as “gay,” “queer,” and “LGBT.”

3) In early twentieth-century Germany some homostudies scholars boldly essayed a comprehensive approach. Impressive as their efforts often were, they were generally limited to the Western tradition from ancient Greece onwards.

4) A complementary trend emphasized non-Western and tribal cultures. This trend has continued in our own time in anthropological research on the subject.

5) Alfred Kinsey situated same-sex behavior in the universe of sexual behavior, seeing no qualitative difference between heterosexual and homosexual acts, which he and his associates viewed as part of a continuum. His statistical and nonjudgmental approach has been subsequently been adopted in surveys conducted in many countries.

6) The inception of the homophile movement in the US in 1950-51 opened the way for a new series of studies, whose impetus has continued down to the present day.

7) There are other possible paradigms. The concept of bisexuality is of long standing. The newer approaches known as Social Construction and Queer Theory have attempted to supplant earlier paradigms, though in the writer’s opinion with limited success.


Homostudies: Paradigm One

Initially, the first half of the nineteenth century does not seem to have been favorable territory for the emergence of a new understanding of same-sex love. For during this era the older stereotypes of "the crime against nature" and the "sin of Sodom" came to be buttressed by new negative findings, seemingly authoritative, stemming from the field of psychiatry.

Moral insanity is a curious medical diagnosis first described by the French alienist Philippe Pinel in 1806. Moral insanity was a form of mental derangement in which the intellectual faculties remained sound, while the affects or emotions were damaged, causing patients to be carried away at intervals by some kind of fury. Pinel's English follower James Cowles Prichard defined moral insanity as: "madness consisting in a morbid perversion of the natural feelings, affections, inclinations, temper, habits, moral dispositions, and natural impulses, without any remarkable disorder or defect of the interest or knowing and reasoning faculties, and particularly without any insane illusion or hallucinations." Psychiatrists marshaled the new concept to explain how sodomites and other "perverts" could appear to function normally, but were actually quite disturbed.

Other experts embraced the quasibiological concept of degeneration. The naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) was the first to define degeneration as a theory of nature. Using dubious evidence, Buffon claimed that entire species degenerated, becoming more sterile, weaker, or smaller due to harsh environmental conditions. It was but a short step to apply this notion to human beings. This idea raised the possibility that Europe might be nurturing a class of "degenerates" likely to erode social norms. This fear fostered support for a strong state which might intervene to eradicate the unfortunates, or at least prevent them from reproducing.

During the 1850s the French physician Bénédict Morel insisted that certain groups of people were in effect traveling backwards in terms of evolution, so that each generation became weaker and weaker (atavism). This claim relied on pre-Darwinian concepts, especially those of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who held that acquired characteristics like drug addiction and sexual perversions could be inherited.

Ideas such as these prevailed in Paris, London, Berlin and other major centers of the Western world. Yet a significant challenge came from a remote corner of Europe: German-speaking Switzerland in the 1830s. This may seem an odd time and place for a creative departure from the conventional wisdom. In reality, however, the era was one of ferment in the Alpine cantons, in which ideas advanced as a result of the French Revolution of 1830 fostered the rise of liberal groups such as Young Switzerland. These groups challenged the ascendancy of the entrenched conservative faction.


We owe the first paradigm of homostudies to an obscure Swiss milliner, Heinrich Hössli (1784-1864). His major, indeed his only contribution was “Eros: Die Männerliebe der Griechen: Ihre Beziehungen zur Geschichte, Erziehung, Literatur und Gesetzgebung aller Zeiten (Eros, the Male Love of the Greeks: Its Relationship to the History, Education, Literature and Legislation of All Ages), published in two volumes in 1836-38. From this somewhat sprawling work, it emerges that Hössli’s most important contribution was to direct close attention to civilizations with a positive approach to homosexual behavior. Working with the somewhat limited resources available to an independent scholar at that time. he discerned two of these: ancient Greece and medieval Islam. In his second volume he presented an abundance of poetic examples from both. While the comparison is implicit rather than explicit, it proved very fertile.

Born in the small Swiss town of Glarus, Heinrich Hössli spent his childhood there, leaving only at the approach of the Russian army in 1799, when he was sent to Bern. There he acquired the trade of milliner by which, on his return, he later earned his livelihood. In 1811 he married and had two sons, both of whom emigrated to the United States. Back in the small world of Glarus, he became known as "Modenhössli"--a fashionista of his day. He pursued his prosperous business until 1851, when he retired, spending the rest of his days roaming through Switzerland and Germany.

As has been noted, Hössli's contribution to knowledge of same-sex behavior and its culture was the two-volume work entitled “Eros.” The first germ of this endeavor had entered Hossli's mind in 1817 when he learned of the execution of a citizen of Bern named Franz Desgouttes, who had murdered his lover Daniel Hemmeler. Two years later he approached the popular Swiss-German writer Heinrich Zschokke (1771-1848), asking him to address the subject because he himself did not feel competent to compose a work of literature. Zschokke did in fact publish his own "Eros oder über die Liebe" (Eros or On Love) in the eighth issue of his miscellany Erheiterungen for the year 1821. This essay mustered a respectable quantity of material on the subject, but concluded by reaffirming the conventional belief of his time that this side of Greek civilization was a revolting aberration which no modern nation should follow.

Disappointed by Zschokke, Hoessli set about composing his own work, having it printed at his own expense. The authorities in Glarus promptly intervened to suppress it. He did, however, bring out the second volume two years later in St. Gall. The unsold portion of the work was destroyed by the great fire that devastated Glarus in 1861. A planned third volume remained in manuscript, which apparently has not survived.

In the opening section of his magnum opus Hössli likened the prevailing condemnation of Greek love to the witchcraft delusion of early modern Europe. He then set out the differences between the Greek conception of love and that of his own time, with copious references to classical history and literature and a plea for the toleration of male-male love.

The second volume repeated his theses on the naturalness of the passion. Yet its most important feature was an anthology drawn not just from classical Greece, but also from poetry of Islamic lands (Arabic, Persian, and Turkish), which Romantic authors had translated into German. Instead of segregating the two civilizations--Greece and Islam--Hössli boldly interspersed the literary material, sandwiching Muslim texts amidst the Greek ones. His belief, which has been partly sustained by modern scholars, was that the cult of the beautiful boy in Islam continued the earlier concepts of Plato.

Courageously, Hössli sought to refute stereotypes about Greek same-sex love that ranged from making it merely a contemplation of male beauty to stigmatizing it as child abuse. Throughout Eros, Hössli insisted that this form of love had not vanished, and was still thriving in modem times.

In his lifetime Hössli's work achieved no recognition, but was acquired and read by a small educated public. It contained among other things the essence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs' notion of "a female soul trapped in a male body," and sought to document the universality of male homosexuality as no previous author had done. The composition of an amateur, not a professional writer, Eros ranks as the first sustained protest against the intolerance that male same-sex love had suffered for centuries in Christian Europe, and as such was appreciated by later activists who quoted it and reprinted excerpts.


His geographical isolation notwithstanding, Heinrich Hössli did not emerge from a vacuum. As regards ancient Greece he relied on the abundant material German classical philologists had assembled for several generations. The recovery of this formerly taboo material, a very impressive accomplishment in its own light, took place in the larger context of the ascent of German classical scholarship to dominance in Europe during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth.

The year 1767 saw the posthumous publication of a landmark tract on ancient homosexuality by Johann Matthias Gesner. Born in 1691, the son of a pastor in eastern Germany, Gesner served as professor of poetry and eloquence at the University of Göttingen from 1734 until his death twenty-seven years later.

Gesner’s little book bore the provocative title “Socrates sanctus paederasta.” In part to ensure limited circulation, but also in keeping with standard practice for international scholarship in his day, the text appeared in Latin, with quotations in Greek from the original sources. Somewhat disappointingly, Gesner convinced himself of Socrates’ sexual continence and purity. The whole account reflects the assumption that classical antiquity knew two types of paiderasteia.. There was the sexually active form, familiar to us today, in which an adult practiced sexual relations with a youth. This must be condemned. However, Gesner believes (not entirely without support from the sources) that there was a second type, which was chaste (“honesta”). Just as today we hear that there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, Gesner distinguishes between bad paiderasteia and good paiderasteia. Socrates, the centerpiece of Gesner’s investigation, practiced, he held, only the good type. He was a sanctus paederasta, with “sanctus” employed in the sense of “blameless.”

Given the emblematic role that Socrates played in the educational establishment of eighteenth-century Germany, it is hard to see how, in his new Apology for Socrates, Johann Matthias Gesner could have reached any other conclusion. As the very model of the exemplary classical personality Socrates must be blameless. Embedded in his text, though, is a more subversive message. Some ancient Greeks did not restrict themselves to sancta paiderasteia, the chaste form, but sought sexual fulfillment in dalliance with their younger partners. Ensuing decades were to see a franker acknowledgment of this option. Moreover, this discussion took the form of a series of essays couched in the German vernacular, so that the issue was no longer confined to a narrow circle of erudite scholars.

As this account has begun in Göttingen and will for a time continue there, it is worth asking what the basis for its exceptionalism was. For that university had special characteristics fostering what was, for the time, a remarkably unfettered view of ancient sexuality. The university was founded in 1737 by the elector George Augustus of Hanover, better known as king George II of England. As a result of George I’s assumption of the English throne in 1714, Hanover and England had been united in personal union, a connection lasting until 1837, when the two were separated owing to the fact that the Salic law forbade queen Victoria from succeeding to the throne of Hanover. During its great period the university harbored an extraordinary corps of luminaries, including the philologist Christian Gottlob Heyne, who succeeded Gesner as professor of poetry and eloquence; the historians G. C. Gatterer and L. T. Spittler; and the statistician Gottfried Achenwall. Foreigners flocked to this unusual center of learning with its fine library. Göttingen’s special standing reflected its standing in the first golden age of German universities while, at the same time, under relatively liberal English patronage, it stood somewhat apart from them.

Christoph Meiners (1747-1810) served as professor of philosophy at the University of Göttingen from 1775 until his death. Delving deeply into the riches of the university library, Meiners produced a torrent of books and publications over a period of thirty-five years. His interests encompassed psychology, aesthetics, the history of philosophy, and the history of religion. He published a four-volume History of Women (1788-1800). Although as early as the fourteenth century Giovanni Boccaccio (in his De claris mulieribus) had initiated an elitist tradition of extolling famous women, Meiners may rank as the first to attempt a full-scale history of women from a general standpoint, heralding later accounts.

A volume of miscellaneous writings contains his essay on the “male love of the Greeks,” intended as a prologue to a more complete account of the differences between that leading people of antiquity and the advanced modern nations. (That work appeared in the same year.) Meiners begins by differentiating the ancient Greek concept of love from the modern one. The idealism and the emotional intensity modern men invest in the opposite sex was deployed by ancient Greek men towards their own sex. Hence the expression “Männerliebe,” which Meiners was probably the first to popularize in this context. The main reason for this difference between ancients and moderns is the seclusion of women, and their consequent exclusion from education. Because of this separation Greek men did not regard women as their equals.

Not surprisingly, Meiners expatiated at length on the pure form of male-male love. Although he does not cite Gesner, his encomium clearly stands alongside his Göttingen predecessor’s concept of “blameless pederasty.” In fact Meiners avoids the term pederasty altogether. He departs from his predecessor in one important respect, for Meiners believes that necessary to provide a historical analysis of his subject. He believes that there were three stages. The first belongs to the heroic age of Greek society, in which male comradeship, as between Achilles and Patroclus, Orestes and Pylades, was necessary as a bulwark in turbulent times. He compares these relationships with similar ones found in medieval Europe (the chivalric link between the knight and his squire) and the contemporary Americas.

The institution of the gymnasium dominated the second stage. The beauty of the youthful male bodies on display there gave male love an added aesthetic dimension. Still it remained pure. Only in the third stage did the phenomenon deteriorate into carnal indulgence, something unknown to Socrates and Plato. Meiners regards this decline as part of an overall pattern of decadence.

Meiners’ view had two essential components: the diversion of ideal love towards males as a consequence of the seclusion of women; and a three-part sequence, from heroic rigor to mature classicism, followed by decadence.

The next figure, Friedrich Wilhelm Basilius von Ramdohr (1757?-1822), also attended the University of Göttingen, where he studied law and aesthetics. A lawyer and diplomat, Ramdohr was passionately interested in art. This affinity was sealed by his 1784 sojourn in Rome, where he imbibed the aesthetic approach so eloquently championed by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (who had died in 1768).

Ramdohr’s diffuse magnum opus, Venus Urania (1798), addressed the topic of love understood as passionate friendship. He was writing at a time when friendship—one need only think of the case of Goethe and Schiller—was exalted in Germany. Yet Ramdohr identified a neglected component, for he believed that such same-sex friendships were erotically charged. There can be no true friendship without a core of sexual feeling. Sometimes regarded as heralding the work of Sigmund Freud, the insights of Ramdohr find a closer parallel in the novels of the Englishman D. H. Lawrence, who presents several deeply-felt portrayals of passionate friendship among men.

Like Lawrence, Ramdohr seems to have had such feelings himself. But boundaries must be imposed, for when, as among the ancient Greeks, this component becomes overt, love vanishes, leaving only lust. Accordingly he gives with one hand what he takes away with another. Sexual feelings, he insists, are powerfully felt when two persons of the same sex are friends: they experience love. Yet when the partners attempt to advance to physical expression, love goes out the window. Accordingly, Ramdohr’s endorsement of homoeroticism is restricted solely to what we would call the platonic form.

Friedrich Gottfried Welcker (1784-1868) returns us, though briefly, to Göttingen, for it was there that he published his groundbreaking essay on Sappho. Shortly thereafter, in 1819 he was called to the new university at Bonn.

During the opening years of the century several German authors, notably the literary critic Friedrich Schlegel, had frankly characterized the Greek poet as an early practitioner of same-sex relations with women. Differing from the custom in other Western European languages, where the term tribadism was preferred, these writers freely used the word “lesbisch” to refer to her presumed sexual orientation. Yet Welcker, writing in 1816, would have none of this, rising instead to his self-appointed task of rescuing the poet from the taint of “a current prejudice.” For Sappho, or so he strenuously argued, did not engage in physical love with members of her own sex.

Welcker shared the exaltation of the noble, chaste form of Greek pederasty defended by Gesner and Meiners, even adding new arguments. In this light one might expect that he would view Sappho as the exponent of an ideal love corresponding to that represented by Socrates and Plato. Not so. Welcker doubted that idealized male love of the Greeks had a feminine counterpart, for women were incapable of such high-minded detachment from sensuality. Barred from status as the patron of a higher form of love, Sappho assumed a more modest place as the exemplary director of a girl’s finishing school. Later Welcker’s illustrious pupil Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1913) aggressively championed this reductive view, which remained dominant throughout Western Europe for a century after Welcker wrote.

Returning to our main account, the following years saw both advance and consolidation. Karl Otfried Müller (1797-1840) conceived the idea of a multivolume history of Greece based on the distinctive characteristics of the various subgroups. The masterwork of this series is his two-volume work on the Dorians, of which the first edition appeared in 1824. Although pederasty played but a modest part in this work, it launched the idea—to be explored in much more detail by Erich Bethe in 1907—that Greek pederasty had a particular Dorian stamp. Preoccupation with the Dorians long remained of particular concern in Germany, for of all the branches of the ancient Greeks the Dorians were believed to have the greatest affinity with modern Germans.

Friedrich Jacobs (1764-1833) spent much of his uneventful life in his native city of Gotha, where he was a teacher and museum director. His main philological work was his edition and commentary on the Greek Anthology, which contains much homoerotic material. In an 1829 essay on the education and morals of the Greeks he attempted a form of damage control. The physical expression of male love was, he held, not central to the ethos of the ancient Greeks. Instead, it reflected from the mad extravagance of a few wild individuals. This essay remained little known.

Quite different was the case of the popularizing work of Wilhelm Adolf Becker (1796-1846), professor of classics at the University of Leipzig. In his early studies of poetry Becker realized that the texts could not be understood without marshaling the findings of archaeology and what can be gleaned of the private life of the ancients. It was to illuminate private life that he composed his highly successful Charikles, first published in 1840, and subsequently revised and enlarged by other hands. This contains a chapter frankly discussing the facts of Greek homoerotic behavior, which he describes as “etwas sehr gowöhnlich”—something quite common.

Moritz Hermann Eduard Meier (1796-1855), the son of a Jewish merchant, became an honored professor of classics at. the venerable University of Halle. In 1837 he published a lengthy encyclopedia article on “Päderastie.” For the first time, this article attempted to sum up the facts of what came to be called “Greek love” in a comprehensive and relatively nonjudgmental manner. Significantly, almost a hundred years later the French scholar L.R. Pogey-Castries (pseudonym of Georges Herelle) saw fit to translate this article, attaching his own ideas to it as commentary.

The appearance of Meier’s balanced synthesis in 1837 marked the end of a major phase. This phase began in 1775 when Meiners took the bold step of sharing scholarly inquiries about ancient Greek sex love with the general public. Meier’s work coincided with a new development—the appearance of gay scholarship—something he did not anticipate, and may not have welcomed,

The date of Meier’s work, 1837, is significant in that it fell precisely into the gap between the two volumes of Heinrich Hössli. The two men do not seem to have been aware of each others' work. But Hössli could access the previous deposit of material, at least in part. References in his work show that he consulted Meiners, Ramdor, and Müller. Silence does not attest lack of knowledge, so that he may have known other contributions as well.


As far as we know, Hössli’s magnum opus was never reviewed, and copies of the original edition are rare today. However, they made their way to a select few. One of these was Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), who published a series of twelve booklets in defense of gay rights from 1864 to 1869. Although classical learning serves more as a series of examples rather than functioning as the main focus, Ulrichs was thoroughly trained in a gymnasium and the Universities of Göttingen and Berlin. With this background he was able to combine the professional standards of the classicists with the personal convictions and passion of Hössli. Scholarship and the call for gay emancipation flowed together.

Once the potential of this fusion became clear, the new approach served as the basis for the material assembled by the circle of Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), especially in their remarkable scholarly periodical Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen (1899-1923). A distinguished physician of Jewish origin, Hirschfeld devoted an almost superhuman dedication and energy to his twin causes of homosexual emancipation and gay scholarship. His monumental Die Homosexualität des Mannes and des Weibes (1914) remains the longest printed book ever published by a single author on the subject. While the monograph is deliberately as inclusive as possible, two areas that figure prominently are classical studies (encompassing history, biography, literature, and lexicography) and sexology. It is generally acknowledged that the creator of the discipline of sexology was the German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902; Oosterhuis, 2000). Beginning with Krafft-Ebing’s landmark Psychopathologia sexualis (1886) this field took its place in the array of “German sciences,” being practiced most brilliantly in Hirschfeld’s base of Berlin.

The culminating figure in this remarkable roster of German scholars in the field of ancient Greek homosexuality is Paul Brandt (1875-1929), better known under his pseudonym of Hans Licht. He received a solid classical education, composing a doctoral dissertation on the challenging topic of Pindar’s grammar. Brandt adopted his pseudonym of Licht in order to shield himself form possible consequences. Despite this precaution, a colleague at the Leipzig Gymnasium denounced him, and Brandt was forced to transfer to another institution in a remote mountain location. For this reason, much of his work was created under heroic circumstances, away from research libraries.

In a series of periodical contributions Brandt-Licht worked methodically through the main branches of classical literature as it pertained to homosexuality. These were then synthesized in his great work of 1926-28, still often consulted in the English translation. Although the book is in principle about all sexual life in ancient Greece, there is a strong emphasis on the records of same-sex behavior.

Brandt-Licht’s death in 1929 coincided with the beginning of the world Depression, shortly followed by the ascendancy of Adolf Hitler in January 1933. This sequence of events put an end to the major of German research on ancient same-sex behavior. After 1945 German gay scholarship revived slowly, for the most part observing other priorities. Although one laments the relative loss of classical sexual scholarship—what might have been-- in a sense this research had served its purpose, allowing the calmness of distance to prevail over sometimes overheated contemporary concerns.

While Hirschfeld attempted, with remarkable success, to create a comparative, universalizing approach, Brandt-Licht implicitly endorsed the “Greek miracle” approach, emphasizing the exceptionalism of the Greek experience. Recent fundamental examinations of the Greek material, such as those by Sir Kenneth Dover, William Percy, and Thomas Hubbard, tend, whether intentionally or not, to ally themselves with this sense of ancient Greek distinctiveness (though Hubbard does follow the story into its Roman aftermath). Others, especially feminists, tend to limit the exemplary value of ancient Greece, emphasizing such components as misogyny and slavery. For his part, Martin Bernal has compared Egypt with Greece, but always to the disadvantage of the latter.

It seems that Heinrich Hössli, an industrious amateur, rushed in where angels feared to tread. He recognized that a balanced account of same-sex behavior in the past--and by implication in the present--must be comparative.


At all events, the preceding, somewhat extended account shows that Hössli’s attention to ancient Greece was in no ways exceptional, at least in Central Europe. By contrast, the gay aspect of Hossli’s other preferred civilization, Islam, was far less well documented. But evidence was not entirely lacking. In 1812-13 the Austrian orientalist Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall had published his versions of the Divan of the noted Persian poet Hafez of Shiraz (1325/26–1389/90). In the introduction the scholar pointed out the homoerotic aspects.

This publication seems to have touched off a craze for Middle Eastern poetry in Germany. One of the first to catch the fever was Goethe, who received a copy of the Hafez translations from the publisher in May of 1814. Reading this publication reawakened in the German poet an earlier vein of interest in Islam, and he devoted much of the rest of the year to reading books on the Middle East. In the following year he wrote his first poems dedicated to Hafez, whom he hailed as his “twin.” He was attracted to the fact that his Muslim predecessor, surrounded by the religious orthodoxy of his day, nonetheless contrived to march to a different drummer. Under this inspiration Goethe’s poetry flowed forth: in 1819 he had enough for a full-scale collection, which he published under the title of West-östliche Divan. In this cycle the homoerotic element is not as prominent as in the Persian model, but it is there, especially in the book dedicated to the Saqi or cupbearer. Goethe--or his poetic persona--beckons this servant to his side as “a pretty boy” and twice mentions the exchange of kisses.

In these same years, the German gay poet August Graf von Platen began to issue an extensive series of imitations of Hafez called ghazals. These poetic effusions augmented the climate of enthusiasm for Oriental poetry that Hossli was able to tap into.

[This chapter incorporates some material from Wayne R. Dynes, et al., eds. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, New York: Garland, 1990. Electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/EOH/index.htm.]


Becker, Wilhelm Adolph. Charikles oder Bilder altgriechischer Sitte. Two vols. Leipzig; Fleixher, 1840.

Bethe, Erich. “Die dorische Knabenliebe: Ihre Ethik und ihre Idee.” Rheinisches Museum für Philogogie, 1907, 62, pp, 438-75.

Gesner, Johann Matthias. Socrates sanctus paederasta. Utrecht: Van Schoonhoven, 1767.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. West-Östlicher Divan. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1819,

Hirschfeld, Magnus. Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes. Berlin: Marcus, 1914. {English version: The Homosexuality of Men and Women, (translated by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Buffalo: Prometheus, 2000]

_______. (Theodor Ramien, pseud.). Sappho und Sokrates. Leipzig: Spohr, 1896.

Hössli, Heinrich. Eros: Die Männerliebe der Griechen: Ihre Beziehung zur Geschichte, Erziehung, Literatur und Gesetzgebung aller Zeiten. 2 vols. Glarus and St. Gall: Author, 1836-38.. [reprinted, Berlin; Rosa Winkel Verlag, 1996]

Jacobs, Friedrich. “Männerliebe.” In his: Vermischte Schriften. Vol. 3. Pp. 212-55. Leipzig: Dyk, 1829.

Licht, Hans [pseud. of Paul Brandt]. Sittengeschichte Griechenlands. 3 vols. Berlin & Dresden: Aretz, 1925-28. [English translation: Sexual Life in Ancient Greece. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1932)].

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Müller, Karl Otfried. Die Dorier. 2 vols. Breslau: Max, 1824.

Ramdohr, Friedrich Wilhelm Basilius von. Venus Urania: Über die Natur der Liebe, über ihre Veredlung und Verschönerung. 3 parts in 4. Leipzig: Göschen, 1798.

Ulrichs, Karl Heinrich. Forschungen über das Rätsel der mannmännlichen Liebe. New York: Arno Press, [1975]. [reprints a series of twelve pamphlets, originally published between 1864 and 1880; English version: The Riddle of “Man-manly” Love. Translated by Michael A. Lombardi-Nash. Buffalo: Prometheus, 1994].

Welcker, Friedrich Gottlieb. Sappho von einem herschenden Vorurtheile befreit. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Rupprecht, 1816.

Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Ulrich von. Sappho und Simonides. Berlin: Weidmann, 1913.


Briggs, W. W. & Calder, William M., eds. Classical Scholarship: A Biographical Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1990.

Butler, E. M. The Tyranny of Greece over Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935.

Calder, William M., III. “F. G. Welcker’s Sapphobild and Its Reception in Wilamowitz.” In W. M. Calder, III, A. Köhnken, W. Kullmann, & G. Pflug, eds., Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker: Werk und Wirkung [Hermes Einzelschriften, 49]. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1986, pp. 131-56.

Derks, Paul. Die Schande der heiligen Päderastie: Homosexualität und Öffentlichkeit in der deutschen Literatur 1750-1850. Berlin: Verlag Rosa Winkel, 1990.

Dover, Kenneth. “Expurgation of Greek Literature.” In his: The Greeks and Their Legacy: Collected Papers. vol. 2. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 1988, pp. 270-91.

Dynes, Wayne R. "Light in Hellas: How German Classical Philology Engendered Gay Scholarship," in Beert C. Verstraete and Vernon Provencal, eds. Same-Sex Desire in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West. Binghamton, NY; Harrington Park Press, 2005, pp. 341-56.

Herzer, Manfred. Bibliographie der Homosexualitatät. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1982.

_________. Magnus Hirschfeld: Leben und Werk eines Jüdischen, schwulen and sozialistischen Sexologen. 2nd ed. Berlin: Männerschrift, 2001.

Karsch-Haack, Ferdinand. Der Putzmacher von Glarus: Heinrich Hössli, ein Vorkämper der Männerliebe. Leipzig: Max Spohr, 1908.

Kennedy, Herbert. Ulrichs: Life and Work of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, Pioneer of the Modern Gay Movement. Boston: Alyson, 1987.

Kuzniar, A. A., ed. Outing Goethe & His Age. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Lauritsen, John, and David Thorstad, David. The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935). New York: Times Change Press, 1974.

Mancini, Elena. Magnus Hirschfeld and the Quest for Sexual Freedom: A History of the First International Sexual Freedom Movement (Critical Studies in Gender, Sexuality, and Culture). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Marino, L. I maestri della Germania: Göttingen 1770-1820. Turin: Einaudi, 1975.

Meier, Pirmin. Mord, Philosophie und die Liebe der Männer: Franz Desgouttes und
Heinrich Hössli: Eine Parallelbiographie. Zurich and Munich: Pendo Verlag, 2001.

Oosterhuis, Harry. Stepchild of Nature: Krafft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Pick, Daniel. Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder, c.1848-1918. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Sandys, J. E. A History of Classical Scholarship. 3 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903-08.


Homostudies: Paradigm Two: Nomenclature

One approach to gay studies reflects a striving towards classification and nomenclature: the Nomenclature Paradigm for short. First, some background.

The eighteenth century in Europe saw the rise of a trend in many disciplines for careful classification (taxonomy) and nomenclature. It was recognized that the two go hand in hand, and that the expansion of the realm of science and rationality. a prime Enlightenment desideratum, depended on the advance of this dual endeavor.

An influential example is the taxonomy of the Swedish physician and botanist Carl Linnaeus (1717-1778), as set forth in his Systema Naturæ (1735) and subsequent works. The taxonomy of Linnaeus comprises three kingdoms, divided into classes, and these, in turn, into orders, genera (singular: genus), and species, with an additional rank lower than species. In this way, the items are arranged in rank order, descending from the general to the specific. In broad terms, this concept goes back to Aristotle and is not original with Linnaeus.

More telling was his system of nomenclature that fostered the careful study of each type of organism under a distinctive binomial name. The binomial aspect of this system required that each organism being given two names, a “generic name,” which is called the genus, and a “specific name,” that of the species.

Having a universal system of binomial nomenclature allows scientists to speak the same language when referring to living things, avoiding the confusion of multiple common names that may differ based on region, culture, or native language. It is thus a kind of Esperanto of biology.


Following this general line of thinking, the term “bisexual” first came into prominence through its use by nineteenth-century botanists, who applied it to hermaphroditic plants, that is, those endowed with both male and female sexual organs. More recently, the sense "capable of attraction to both sexes or genders," without any suggestion of distinctive physiology, has become common with regard to human beings.

As this example shows, there is an understandable tendency to apply terms derived from biology to human behavior. This procedure, however, can lead to the pseudo-precision sometimes known as scientism; this approach tends to elide the cultural element that is an inescapable feature of human affairs. Some critics have also alleged that such terminological transfers from the biological realm to the sociological and psychological sphere are essentialist, tending as they do to suggest that behavioral patterns are monolithic and unchangeable.

Some terms derive from individuals who are held to personify the behavior in question. In French the term “sadisme” comes from 1834, when it was first used in a somewhat general sense of debauchery, strongly condemned as monstrous, antisocial, and unnatural. However, in keeping with the reputation of its namesake, the Marquis de Sade, the expression quickly acquired the more specific meaning of sexual cruelty, in which the victim is required to submit the desires of the sadist. The sadist’s partner was at first unnamed.


This situation changed when in 1886 the famous German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing introduced the term “Masochismus” He derived the expression from the Austrian novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-1895), who wrote several works about the humiliation and suffering endured by those who were attracted to the femme fatale type (an example is Venus in Pelz, “Venus in Furs,” of 1870).

Krafft-Ebing’s works were the starting point for the treatment of "abnormal" sexuality by Freud and Jung, to cite only two of the major figures who came after him. During his career he held professorships at Strasbourg, Graz, and Vienna--then the locus of the world's leading medical school.

A synthesizer, Krafft-Ebing's speculations on homosexuality reveal the influence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs' concept of the "Urning" and Karl Westphal's discovery of "contrary sexual feeling" (1869). He began to develop his theories on the manifestations and etiology of homosexuality in the wake of a survey of the recent publications on the subject of sexual psychopathology that he compiled in l876. In the following year he published an article in which homosexuality was defined as "an absence of normal sexual feeling, with compensatory attraction to members of the same sex." His proclivity for schematization on the basis of the current Darwinian notions of evolution led him to insert every known variety of abnormality of sexual attraction, gender, and constitution into a global framework.

To his credit, Krafft-Ebing recognized that the subjects of his inquiries were basically happy with their lot and that their distress stemmed from society's laws and attitudes. He was even prepared place their love--as an emotion-- on a footing with those of "normal feelings." However, he clung to the belief in "degeneration" as a cause of such mental illnesses, and it was with disturbed individuals in prisons and insane asylums that, as a forensic psychiatrist, he mainly came into contact.
Krafft-Ebing's classic work, Psychopathia sexualis (1886), focussed atten­tion on four subgroups: "psychosexual hermaphrodites" (= bisexuals), homosexu­als, effeminates and "viraginites" in whom the psychic disposition corresponds to that of the opposite sex, and androgynes. His etiological scheme differentiated sharply between "inborn" and "acquired" homosexuality in keeping with the forensic bias of his work.After studying Magnus Hirschfeld's writings at the turn of the century, Krafft-Ebing revised his views in 1901, stating that homosexuality was not a manifestation of degeneracy or pathology, but could occur in otherwise normal subjects. But this retraction written shortly before his death could do little to alter the tremendous impression made on the public by the many editions of his best-seller Psychopathia sexualis (12 in his lifetime) that was translated into other languages and achieved an authority no previous volume on abnormal sexuality had ever enjoyed; and his definition of "every ex­pression of the sex drive that does not correspond to the purposes of nature, i.e., reproduction" as "perverse" (= unnatural, hence immoral) greatly shaped the notion of "abnormal" sexuality.

Krafft-Ebing remains an outstanding example of the common professional type: a “normal” expert classifying “abnormal” subjects. This asymmetry accorded with the Linnaean prototype. No one would expect a tree or a lion to offer it own self-classification.


But that is what happened when gay scholars themselves began to enter the fray. In this they realized that it was necessary to enter into the contemporary discourse of labeling. Together with some heterosexual allies they discovered that this gambit could be employed for positive purposes. This led to the Naming Paradigm in the specific sense of understanding same-sex orientation.

The inception of the Naming Paradigm in this vein began with the German scholar and activist Karl Heinrich Ulrich (1825-1895). Beginning in 1864, Ulrichs forcefully advocated the term “Urning” for individuals that we would now term male homosexuals, This he did in a series of five booklets which were later collected under the title Forschungen über das Räthsel der mannmännlichen Liebe ("Studies on the Problem of Love between Men"). Ulrichs referenced his term to Venus Urania, the heavenly Aphrodite extolled by Plato and other Greek writers. Hence the term Uranismus and, subsequently (in English), uranian.

The term “Urning” served as the cornerstone of a more elaborate system, for Ulrichs developed an elaborate typology, with the following components: 1) Urning: a male-bodied person with a female psyche, whose main sexual attraction is to men; 2) Urninde (or occasionally the variants Uranierin, Urnin, and Urnigin): a female-bodied person with a male psyche, whose main sexual attraction is to women; 3) Dioning: a "normal" (heterosexual and masculine) man; 4) Dioningin: A "normal" (heterosexual and feminine) woman; 5) Uranodioning: a male bisexual; 6) Uranodioningin: a female bisexual; and 7) Zwitter: a hermaphrodite, or intersexual.

Urningthum, "male homosexuality" (or urnische Liebe, homosexual love) was elaborated with the following terms: 1) Mannlinge: very masculine, except for feminine psyche and sex drive towards effeminate men ("butch gay"); 2) Weiblinge: feminine in appearance, behavior and psyche, with a sex drive towards masculine men ("queen"); 3) Manurning: feminine in appearance and behavior, with a male psyche and a sex drive towards women ("feminine straight man"); 4) Zwischen-Urning: Adult male who prefers adolescents. ("pederast"); 5) Conjunctive, with tender and passionate feelings for men; 6) Disjunctive, with tender feelings for men but passionate feelings for women; 7) Virilisierte Mannlinge: male Urnings who have learned to act like Dionings, through force or habit ("closeted gay") 8) Uraniaster or uranisierter Mann: a dioning who engages in what later came to be termed situational homosexuality (e.g. in prison or the military). While linguistically the terminology is in large measure of indigenous German origin, Ulrichs work was nourished by his extensive knowledge of primary sources in Greek and Latin that derived from his humanistic education in the Gymnasium. In this he differed from the autodidact Hössli, the initiator of the First Paradigm.

Who in fact was Ulrichs? Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was born in Aurich, in the state of Hanover, on August 28, 1825, to a pious middle-class family--his father was a civil architect and his mother's family included several Lutheran ministers--Ulrichs studied law at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin (1844 - 47) and became a junior attorney in the civil service of the Kingdom of Hanover. But as early as 1854, under circumstances not entirely clear, he voluntarily left state service and afterwards earned his living by writing and related activities: he was for several years a freelance journalist and private secretary of a representative to the German Confederation in Frankfurt am Main.

During his stay in Frankfurt, Ulrichs built on current advances in embryology to develop a theory of homosexuality that he presented in a series of five booklets (1864-65) entitled Forschungen über das Rätsel der mann­männlichen Liebe; the series was later extended to comprise twelve booklets, the last appearing in 1879. Assuming that a love drive that was directed toward a man must be feminine, Ulrichs summed up his theory in the Latin phase anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa (a female soul trapped in a male body) and he coined the term "Urning" (uranian) for such a person. As we have seen in the typology above, the theory also applied mutatis mutandis to women who love other women.

This so-called third-sex theory furnished a scientific explanation for same-sex love drives that showed them to be natural and inborn. It followed that Urnings are neither criminal nor sick. Encouraged by his conclusions, Ulrichs began to intervene in criminal cases and sought to organize Urnings to promote their own welfare. Already in 1865, he drafted a set of bylaws for an "Urning Union" and by the next year he was planning to publish a periodical for Urnings. (He finally realized this plan in 1870, but lack of support allowed only one issue.) This activity was interrupted, however, by the Prussian invasion and annexation of Hanover in 1866. Ulrichs spoke out publicly there against this action and was twice imprisoned.

Exiled from Hanover on his release from prison in 1867, Ulrichs went to Munich to resume his earlier fight. At the meeting of the Congress of German Jurists on August 28,1867 he pleaded for a resolution urging repeal of all anti-homosexual laws. He was shouted down, but the occasion was historic, for it marked the first time that a self-proclaimed homosexual had publicly spoken out for homosexual rights.

Further efforts by Ulrichs also had little effect; indeed, with the unification of Germany following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, the harsh Prussian anti-homosexual law was extended to all parts of the county. In despair, Ulrichs migrated to Italy in 1880, to spend his last years in Aquila, where he edited a Latin periodical. He died there on July 14, 1895.

In its English-language dress of “uranian,” Ulrichs' term quickly found favor among English-language advocates of homosexual emancipation in the Victorian era, such as John Addington Symonds and Edward Carpenter, who used it to describe their enthusiasm for a comradely love that would bring about true democracy, uniting the "estranged ranks of society" and breaking down class and gender barriers.

The term also gained currency among a group of Oxford and Cambridge graduates who studied Classics and dabbled in pederastic poetry from the 1870s to the 1930s. The writings of this group are now subsumed by the phrase Uranian poetry. The art of the painter Henry Scott Tuke and the photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden is also sometimes characterized as "Uranian."

Voguish for a while, the terms Urning and uranian did not prove lasting, because a much more influential rival appeared: ‘homosexual.” In 1869 K. M. Kertbeny introduced the term in print. (“Heterosexual” followed a decade later.) “Contrary sexual feeling” and “inversion also came along at this time.


Until about a century after its appearance (1868-69), ”homosexual” ranked as the dominant formal term to designate same-sex orientation. Beginning in the 1970s, it briefly yielded to “gay,” until that word was itself found to be problematic. Etymologically, homosexual is a hybrid: he first part homo- being the Greek combining form meaning "same"; the second, (late) Latin. The mistaken belief that homo- represents that Latin word for "man" has probably contributed to resistance to the word among lesbians.

Károly Mária Kertbeny (1824-1882), the inventor of the word “homosexual,” was a German-Hungarian writer, translator, and journalist. He bore the surname Benkert until 1847; then the police of his native city of Vienna authorized him to use the Hungarian noble name of his family as his sole name.

The draft of a private letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs of May 6, 1868 contains for the first time the expressions “homosexual” and “heterosexual.”

From 1869 to 1875 Kertbeny lived in Berlin, and here in 1869 he wrote two pamphlets that were published anonymously, demanding freedom from penal sanctions for homosexual men in Prussia and the Prussian-dominated North Ger­man Confederation. They were entitled 143 des Preussischen Strafgesetzbuchs und seine Aufrechterhaltung als 152 des Entwurfs eines Strafgesetzbuchs für den Norddeutschen Bund (Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code and its Maintenance as Paragraph 152 of the Draft of a Penal Code for the North German Confederation) and Das Gemeinschädliche des 143 des Preussischen Strafgesetzbuches ... (The Social Harm Caused by Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code ...). Here for the first time the word Homosexual­ität is found as a substitute for the designation Urningthum that Ulrichs had introduced in 1864. Instead of Urninge Kertbeny used the word Homosexualisten¡ instead of Urninden (lesbians), Homosexualistinnen.

In these published works (in contrast to the letter), Kertbeny did not use the term heterosexual, preferring “normalsexual” instead. How then did the term heterosexual make its way into public awareness?

Gustav Jaeger (1832-1917), a zoologist who resided in Stuttgart, authored a book entitled Die Entdeckung der Seele (The Discovery of the Soul). The second edition of this popular book (1880) incorporates parts of a text that Kertbeny had written on the sexual instinct, in which the term “homosexual” occurs repeatedly (contrasted, however, with “normalsexual”). A continuation of this text, which Jaeger had at first thought too offensive, appeared only in 1900 in Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen without mentioning Kertbeny's name. Jaeger designated the author only as "Dr. M.," a pseudonym that fostered the common but erroneous belief that Kertbeny was "a Hungarian doctor." This in turn contributed to the unwarranted assertion that the word homosexual was originally a clinical or medical term. As a writer Kertbeny was chiefly concerned with literature; he wrote nothing on medicine or the natural sciences.

Kertbeny claimed that he himself was a Normalsexualer, hence not homosexual. However, there is no proof of that assertion, or for the hypothesis of his homosexuality or bisexuality. However that may be, he ranks alongside Heinrich Hössli and Ulrichs as one of the most important advocates of homosexual emancipation in the nineteenth century.

Why did the word homosexual ultimately prevail? Ulrichs’ terms had too much of a baroque and cultish flavor to find acceptance. Westphal’s expression was doubly isolated: it was usable only in German and lacking the matching terms of the other series. By contrast, the set homosexual / bisexual / heterosexual that finally emerged efficiently defined the semantic field. The words Homosexualität / Homosexualismus, which Kertbeny also devised served to denote the condition. All these forms, being based on Latin sexualis, had no difficulty in gaining international currency.


We turn now to another term that enjoyed a certain popularity at the time. “Die konträre Sexualempfindung” was a German designation proposed by Carl Friedrich Otto Westphal in an article published in the Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten in 1869. Westphal regarded the phenomenon as the symptom of an inborn pathological condition, an alienation from the feeling proper to one’s anatomical sex. He confused attraction to the same sex with compulsive transvestism, an error that was not to be corrected until fifty years later. Westphal did, however, make the forensic distinction between exclusive and occasional homosexuality.

The adapted form "contrary sexual feeling" found some favor among English and American physicians and alienists, generally with German connections, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Romance-language countries, the term quickly yielded to the more elegant inversion(e), which was invented by Arrigo Tommasia in Italy in 1878.


The period is also characterized by the survival of a curious earlier theme: the notion of the Third Sex. The terms third sex and third gender describe individuals who are considered to be neither women nor men, as well as the social category present in those societies who may be inclined to recognize three or more genders. Ways of thinking about this matter vary. A third sex or gender may represent an intermediate state between men and women, a state of being both (such as "the spirit of a man in the body of a woman"), the state of being neither (neuter), the ability to cross gender barriers or to change gender, or another category altogether independent of male and female. This last definition is favored by those who argue for a strict interpretation of the "third gender" concept.

The term has been used to describe Hijras of India and Pakistan, Fa'afafine of Polynesia, and Sworn Virgins of the Balkans, among others. At various times in the Western world, lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people have been described as belonging to a third sex or gender. Needless to say, many have objected to this characterization.

The term "third" is usually understood to mean "other." Is there only one alternative to the standard male-female dichotomy? Some anthropologists and sociologists have described fourth, fifth, and indeed many, genders.

A cultural construct, the idea of a third (or third gender) should not simply be accepted as a given. The concept is a distinctively Western artifact.
In the myth discussed in Plato’s Symposium the androgynous beings are described as a "third race," the irony being that these are presented as the archetypes of heterosexuals (as we would now term them). Later the third-century CE Roman emperor Alexander Severus spoke slightingly of eunuchs as the tertium genus hominum (third class of men). The idea is modeled on Latin grammar, which recognizes three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

Some scholars hold that a third gender emerged around 1700 CE in England: the male sodomite. According to these writers, this development was marked by the emergence of a subculture of effeminate males and meeting places (molly houses). As these manifestations became better known there was a marked increase in the general society in hostility towards effeminate and/or homosexual males. The expression third sex was not common then, however. It first became common in early nineteenth-century France (le troisième sexe), an expression used by outsiders to describe "exotic" creatures. About 1860 Europe saw the rise of individuals who adopted the expression third sex for themselves with the writings of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, and continuing in the late nineteenth century with Magnus Hirschfeld, John Addington Symonds, Edward Carpenter, Aimée Duc, and others. These authors described themselves and those like them as being of an "inverted" or "intermediate" sex and experiencing homosexual desire. Their writings argued for social acceptance of such sexual intermediates.

As biological explanations for sexual orientation declined, however, the idea came to seem old-fashioned. The rise of the gay-liberation trend in the 1970s saw a growing separation of the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result of these developments, the term “third sex” fell out of favor among LGBT communities and those who were sympathetic to them. For the general public, it survived mainly in the titles of sensational novels and films.


The Second Paradigm is an important stage in the understanding of same-sex attraction and behavior. However, its role must not be overstated. The overstatement has given rise to two myths: the “invention of homosexuality” and the “invention of heterosexuality.”

During the 1980s some historians of sexuality began to draw far-reaching conclusions from the introduction of the term “homosexual” in 1869. These scholars, who included such figures as Mary Mackintosh, Jeffrey Weeks, and Ken Plummer in England, termed their approach Social Construction (SC). Challenging the validity of any "transhistorical" definition of same-sex behavior, the SC scholars hold that sexual behavior is, in all significant aspects, a product of cultural conditioning. By contrast, biological and constitutional factors were deemed unimportant or nonexistent. Thus same-sex behavior would have an entirely different meaning, say, in ancient Egypt or Tang China from what it would have in nineteenth-century Europe. In the view of some proponents of this approach, the "modern homosexual" is sui generis, having come into existence in Europe and North America only around 1869 or shortly thereafter. Because of this radical break in consciousness and behavior, it is vain to conduct comparative research on earlier eras in the West or in the context of non-Western societies.

The SC scholars deemed the rise of the “modern homosexual” in the latter part of the nineteenth century to be of epochal significance. Some denied that there was any homosexuality prior to this great shift. To be sure, there was same-sex behavior before, but no such thing as “homosexuals.”

A fuller discussion of SC, its strengths and weaknesses, must be deferred until Chapter Seven below. Here one should point out that changes in sexual patterns and conceptualizations generally occur gradually. Sometimes a great disaster, such as World War I, can propel change in this sphere. However, the second half of the nineteenth century saw no such general upheaval in Western Europe. Except for the interlude of the Franco-Prussian War, there was a steady and peaceful progress of industrialization.

In addition, one should not place too much emphasis on changes of terminology. Words are important, but they cannot in themselves trigger social change. And Heinrich Hössli’s research in 1836-38 showed that no particular innovation in terminology was needed to undertake a fundamental study of same-sex behavior.

It appears, then, that one must reject the thesis of the “invention of homosexuality” around 1869 or shortly thereafter. However, an even more extraordinary claim has been advanced by Jonathan Ned Katz, an American historian of homosexuality. In his 1995 monograph “The Invention of Heterosexualtiy,” Katz seeks to go his Social Constructionist colleague one further. Just as homosexuality is a social construct rather than a natural, unambiguous given, so too is heterosexuality--according to Katz.

As we have seen, the term “homosexual” was introduced in 1869. It was not originally paired with “heterosexual,” but with “normalsexual.” This situation changed to the one we now largely as a result of the work of Richard von Krafft-Ebing. With his passion for terminological symmetry, Krafft-Ebing (beginning with the fourth edition of his best-seller Psychopathia Sexualis, 1889) promoted the contrast between homosexuality and heterosexuality. It seems to have been chiefly from this source that the pair of terms spread into other languages, a process well under way by 1900.

So far, so good. However, Katz goes further, contending that the notion of heterosexuality as a universal, presumably normative ideal was created, more of less out of whole cloth, by such men as K. M. Kertbeny, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, and Sigmund Freud. Prior to the late nineteenth century, he maintains, the social universe was not polarized into "hetero" and "homo."

In the view of many critics, the examples Katz cites in support of his thesis--ancient Greece, the New England colonies (1607-1740) and the United States between 1820 and 1850--do not substantiate his claims. One need only think of the famous parable that Plato introduced into the Symposium to realize that even in ancient Greece it was quite possible to differentiate among heterosexuality, male homosexuality, and lesbianism. Of course Plato did not use these terms. As noted above, however, one must not make a fetish of nomenclature. It is concepts that matter; the words that serve to designate them are secondary.

Still, that remark must not be the last word, for the study of historical semantics remains a useful undertaking. In the field of human sexuality terms have often served as vehicles for judgmentalism and condemnation. To redress this tendency the search for a new terminology was launched in Germany in the 1860s.


After the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 there was considerable pressure to abandon the use of the word homosexual in favor of gay. However, lesbians objected, saying that both terms designated men only. Accordingly, the compound "lesbian and gay" became de rigueur for a time. In due course this yielded to "queer" and "LGBTQ"; see the Conclusion (Part Seven) of this series.

Social workers and others who have contact with persons in non-Western countries find that the terminology we are accustomed to is not effective in oommunicating with their clients. The report that it is often more useful to refer to such people as men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSM). Some distance from the more usual range of terminology is reported by many African American men in North America. Some of these men prefer the expression "on the down low" or simply "DL."


Courouve, Claude. Dictionnaire de l'homosexualité masculine. Paris: Payot, 1985.

Féray, Jean-Claude. "Une histoire critique du mot homosexualité," Arcadie (no. 325), 11-21; (326), 115-24; (327), 171-81; (328), 246-58 (January-April 1981).

Oosterhuis, Harry. Stepchild of Nature: Krafft-Ebing, Psychiatry and the Making of Sexual Identity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

NOTE; I explored a range of terms in my 1985 monograph [Wayne R. Dynes] Homolexis: A Historical and Cultural Lexicon of Homosexuality. Over the years I came to realize that this little book was just a first attempt. I have therefore created a much enlarged and improved version, Homolexis Glossary, available electronically at www.williamapercy.com/homolexis/index.php?title=Main_Page; and www.sexarchive.info/BIB/Homolexis/main.htm. This "Homolexis Glossary" contains a number of bibliographical indications.

Homostudies Three: The Comprehensive Paradigm in Gay Studies

Of central importance to the Comprehensive Paradigm of gay studies was the appearance of the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee). This, the world's first homosexual rights organization, was founded in Berlin on May 14,1897, the twenty-ninth birthday of Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), a physician of Jewish origin who became the leading authority on homo­sexuality in the first third of the twentieth century. Under the pseudonym of "Dr. Ramien," In 1896 Hirschfeld had published a book entitled Sappho und Sokrates, oder wie erklärt sich die Liebe der Männer und Frauen zu Personen des eigenen Gesch­lechts! (Sappho and Socrates, or How Is the Love of Men and Women for Persons of Their Own Sex to Be Explained?). Moved by the suicide of a young homosexual officer on the eve of a marriage into which his family had pressured him, Hirschfeld went on to create an organization that would campaign for legal toleration and social acceptance for what he called the third sex.

Writing in an era when biology and medicine uncritically accepted the notion of "inborn traits" of all kinds, Hirschfeld maintained that homosexuals were members of a third sex, an evolutionary intermediate (or intergrade) between the male and the female, and he bolstered his thesis with data of all kinds showing that the mean for the homosex­ual subjects whom he studied by interview and questionnaire fell almost exactly between those for male and female respectively. Accordingly the journal which the Scientific-humanitarian Committee published from 1899 onward was entitled the Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Homosexualität (Annual for Sexual Intergrades with Special Reference to Homo­sexuality).

The committee’s first priority was legal reform. Following the establishment of the North German Confederation and then of the German Empire, a new penal code was adopted that went into force on the entire territory of the Reich on January 1, 1872. Its Paragraph 175 made criminal widernatürhche Unzucht zwischen Männern (lewd and unnatural acts between males), with a maximum penalty of two years. In the interest of repealing this paragraph the Committee drafted a petition "to the Legislative Bodies of the German Empire" that was ultimately signed by some 6000 German citizens prominent in all walks of life. The Committee saw that this task must be buttressed by an educational campaign meant to enlighten a public that as yet knew nothing of the literature that had been appearing sporadically in the psychiatric journals since 1869, or of the earlier apologetic writings of Heinrich Hoessli and Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. By means of pamphlets, public lectures, and later even films, the Committee sought to convince the world that homosexuals were an unjustly persecuted sport of nature, who could not be blamed for their innate and unmodifiable sexual orientation. Because they lived in a society that was wholly intolerant of homosexual expression, they had to hide their orientation and their sexual activity, and so were peculiarly exposed to blackmail if their true nature came to the knowledge of members of the criminal underworld. Among the educated elite Hirschfeld's views soon won a large measure of support, but they were rejected by the churches and by the conservative jurists of the Wilhelmstrasse engaged in drafting a new criminal code.

The Committee was in practice the world's first center for the study of all aspects of homosexuality. Largely ignored by academic scholars in the universities, Hirschfeld collected material from various sources on the fre­quency of homosexual behavior in the population and the psychological profile of the homosexual personality. In 1904 Hirschfeld concluded that 2.2 percent of the population was exclusively homosexual, and that the figure was surprising only because so many of his subjects successfully hid their inclinations from a hostile world. The private lives of his subjects he examined from numerous aspects, in every one of which he found evidence that supported his theory of an innate third sex.

As the years passed, the Committee was beset with problems from within and without. Hirschfeld's theories placed undue emphasis on the effeminate male and the viraginous ("manly") female as the homosexual types par excellence, a standpoint that alienated the pederasts who fell into neither cate­gory and were often bisexual as well. Benedict Friedlaender, an independent scholar, denounced Hirschfeld's views and contrasted them with the Hellenic ideal of man-boy love which was a virile, state-building phenomenon in his Renaissance des Eros Uranios (Renaissance of Eros Uranios; 1904). A rival organization, the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (Community of the Exceptional), was founded in 1902, and adopted as its journal Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand, which had been publishing literary and art work on the subject of pederasty since 1898. The incompatibility of the two approaches shows that the umbrella concept of "homosexuality" united biological and psychological phenomena which had only this in com­mon, that they both ran afoul of the Judeo-Christian taboo on same-sex relations; socially and politically they were - and still are - incompatible. The Committee had even anticipated the split by proposing in its petition an age of consent of 16 for homosexual relations - which would in effect have excluded the boy-lover from the benefit of law reform.


Aided by the experts in various disciplines who had been attracted to the Scientific-Hu­manitarian Committee, Hirschfeld set about writing a monumental work that was published in January 1914 under the title Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes (Male and Female Homosexual­ity). This vast tome summarized everything that had been learned from the literature of the past, and especially of the preceding decade and a half, as well as the 10,000 case histories that Hirschfeld had taken in that time. All its arguments were directed toward proving that homosexuality was inborn and unmodifiable and that the reasoning (including early psychoanalytic writings) in favor of acquired homosexuality was untenable. As a scientifi­cally documented, carefully argued plea for toleration, it remains along with the 23 volumes of the Jahrbuch the committee's principal legacy to knowledge.

The economic difficulties of the 1920s and 30s posed a challenge to the work of the committee, but nonetheless it work continued. However, the accession to full power by Hitler and his supporters in 1933 meant the destruction of the Institute for Sexual Science which Hirschfeld had founded in 1918.

A brief summary of the contents of Die Homosexualität will convey some sense of the magnitude of Hirschfeld’s accomplishment. The book begins with an account of the terminology of same-sex behavior, together with the concepts associated with the names. Then, in accordance with his medical training, Hirschfeld turns to number of issues involved in the diagnosis of homosexuality in men and women. He distinguishes three other conditions that are often confused with homosexuality: hermaphroditism, gynandromorphy (referring to individuals with some characteristics of the opposite sex), and transvestism. (The German physician had coined the term “transvestism” in a publication of 1910.)

Hirschfeld then turns to theories of the causality of homosexual behavior. This topic is followed by a statistical approach, including class elements. After that is a survey of the behavior in various parts of the world. There is a brief discussion of homosexuality among animals, followed by sociological factors involved in group bonding of homosexual men and women. This is followed by an account of what is known of the history of homosexuality, beginning with classical antiquity. Given the interest of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in law reform, there is a discussion of the legal situation throughout the world. The effects of prejudice and discrimination are frankly addressed, together with remedies that help the rehabilitation of such persons. The book concludes with an account of the rise of gay-rights organization.

The sheer sweep of this book is breathtaking, encompassing as it does biological, sociological, historical, cultural, and legal dimensions. Later advances in science have made much of the biological material dated, but the key point is that Hirschfeld saw clearly that one must not flinch from this type of inquiry. Of course, the historical and cultural sections have stood the test of time best.

What remains, however, is the sense that homosexual behavior and culture must be examined in the broadest possible compass. This comprehensive aim is what distinguishes the third paradigm.

In some ways the “home field" of the scholars of Hirschfeld’s circle was classical antiquity. Fittingly, therefore, one of his associates Paul Brandt, writing as Hans Licht produced a three-volume work Sittengeschichte Griechenlands (1925-28), translated into English in 1932 as Sexual Life in Ancient Greece. The title notwithstanding this major work is mainly about male homosexuality. In our own time it has been massively supplemented, but even now not completely replaced by later works on the subject by Sir Kenneth Dover, William A. Percy, and Thomas Hubbard.

As this last example shows, Hirschfeld’s monumental achievement was not accomplished in a vacuum--far from it. The sex-research field in Berlin in his time was richly populated, and very competitive. Rivalries abounded.


Perhaps Hirschfeld’s most determined opponent was Albert Moll (1862·1939), also a physician of German-Jewish origin. In 1889 he published a book entitled Die Hypnose, claiming that with this technique he could change homosexuals into heterosexuals. His book Die Conträre Sexualempfindung (1891) deals with forty-one famous homosexuals. His Untersuchungen über die Libido Sexualis (1897-98) influenced Sigmund Freud, who is said to have purloined the idea of infantile sexuality from Moll. Ostensibly heterosexual, Moll never married and homosexuality played a central role in his work. His private life remains a mystery. At all events, his 1902 article “Wie erkennen und verständigen sich Homosexuelle untereinander?” (How do homosexuals recognize and understand one another?) suggests insider knowledge.Others felt that Hirschfeld's theories overemphasized the effeminate male and the butch female as the homosexual types par excellence. This approach alienated pederasts who fell into neither category and were often bisexual as well. In his Renaissance des Eros Uranios (1904), Benedict Friedlaender rejected Hirschfeld's views, contrasting them with the Hellenic ideal of man-boy love which was a virile, state-building phenomenon. A new organization, the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (Community of the Exceptional), appeared in 1902, and adopted as its journal Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand, which had been publishing literary and art work on the subject of pederasty since 1898.


Standing apart from these intense rivalries was the work of a foreigner, the Englishman Henry Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). At the age of 32 he married Edith Lees, a lesbian; after the first year of their marriage all sexual relations ceased, and both went on to a series of affairs with women. An autodidact, Ellis obtained in 1889 a licentiate in Medicine, Surgery, and Mid­wifery from the Society of Apothecaries in London, a somewhat inferior degree that always embarrassed him. More interested in his literary studies than in the practice of medicine, he nevertheless collected case histories mainly by correspondence, as his autobiography makes no mention of clini­cal practice.

One of his early correspondents was John Addington Symonds, who dis­cussed with him the possibility of a book on sexual inversion, in which the case histories were the core and empirical foundation. Ellis recognized two conditions: "complete inversion" (= exclusive homosexuality) and "psychosexual hermaphroditism" (= bisexuality). With remarkable sureness of judgment, the writer was resolved to treat homosexuality as neither disease nor crime. Ellis dismissed the current notion that it was a species of "degeneracy" (in the biological sense); he also maintained that it was inborn and unmodifiable. Couched in simple language, the book urged public toleration for conduct that was then regarded as unnatural and criminal. In the midst of the writing Symonds died suddenly, and the book first appeared in German under the title Das konträre Geschlechtsgefühl ("Contrary Sexual Feeling"; 1896), with both names on the title page. In the atmosphere that prevailed after the disgrace of Oscar Wilde (May 1895), publication in England was problematic, but under doubtful auspices the English edition was released in November 1897. The English version was almost immediately suppressed, and for a number of years Ellis’ important work could only be read in German.


Achieving bibliographical control of the vast body of writings on homosexuality is a challenging, sometimes vexatious task. However, it is not beyond reach. While the middle and later years of the nineteenth century saw a number of important bibliographies of erotica they were not specifically geared to the study of same-sex love. For that one one is again indebted to the first homosexual emancipation movement appearing in Berlin in 1897. This movement firmly held that progress toward homosexual rights must go hand in hand with intellectual enlightenment. Accordingly, each year's production was noted in the annual volumes of the Jahrbuch fürsexuelle Zwischenstufen (1899-1923); by the end of the first decade of monitoring, over 1000 new titles had been recorded. Although surveys were made of earlier literature, up to the time of the extinction of the movement by National Socialism in 1933, no attempt had been made to organize this material into a single comprehensive bibliography of homosexual studies.

It is still worthwhile to comb the classic German works of the pre-Nazi period for bibliographical nuggets that have escaped attention. Still, it is regrettable that this foundational era in homosexual scholarship produced no single comprehensive bibliography of the subject.

For that one must await the participation of the United State, whose gay-rights movement only emerged with the Mattachine Society in 1950-51. In the context of the Cold War and the McCarthyite frenzy, the efforts at organizing and diffusing better knowledge were at first very difficult and unpromising--but some dedicated individuals kept going all the same. An early document of the period was the little “Gay Girl’s Guide” (New York,1949 with two subsequent editions; despite the title, this mimeographed item was intended for gay men). Somewhat bizarrely, the principal author was identified as one Swarsarnt Nerf (probably a pseudonym of Edgar Leoni). At the end this booklet offers ten pages of book listings, fiction and nonfiction.

As a rule, respectable publishers avoided the topic of homosexuality, except for judgmental works by psychiatrists and other medical writers. A partial exception was Donald Webster Cory's The Homosexual in America (New York, 1951), well-written and edited, though issued by Greenberg, a somewhat marginal publisher. In addition to a lucid, though now dated text, this volumed offered appendices with lists of both non-fiction and fiction on the subject.

After the Stonewall Rebellion in June of 1969, things began to improve. In 1971 or ’72 Jack Stafford, a librarian based in Queens, NY, began an effort, supported by a committee of the American Library Association (ALA), for a comprehensive bibliography of homosexuality, which would emphasize the positive aspects. When Stafford died unexpectedly in 1973, Barbara Gittings took charge of the manuscript on behalf of the ALA. With their approval, she utilized the material to create a 16-page leaflet of highlights, called “A Gay Bibliography.” Distributed pretty much for free to libraries and other interested parties, this selection greatly enhanced readership, and eventually publishing prospects as well.

By contrast, the compilation of Martin S. Weinberg and Alan P. Bell, Homosexuality: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: 1972) represents a step backwards. This large work, compiled under the auspices of the Kinsey Institute of Indiana University, provides detailed but uncritical abstracts for 1,263 books, pamphlets, and articles published in the English language from 1940 to 1968. The book stresses psychiatric, medical, and social-science contributions, many harshly negative, It is now mainly of interest to those seeking to reconstruct the repressive atmosphere of the middle years of the twentieth century.

In this context, it was clear that a real effort must be made by the nascent gay organizations themselves. To ONE, Inc. of Los Angeles belongs the honor of addressing this task on an appropriate scale. After many delays, the ONE efforts yielded the most ambitious project attempted up to that point: Vern Bullough et al., Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality (New York, 1976), which was prepared in the Los Angeles offices of ONE, Inc. This work provides about 13,000 entries arranged in twenty broad subject categories. Some notion of the enormousness of the whole subject is conveyed by the fact that, even at that date, the number of entries could probably have been doubled. Unlike most of the other American bibliographies, this work is international and multilingual in scope; unfortunately the two-volume set is marred by thousands of small errors and lacunae, especially in foreign-language items. The title notwithstanding, annotations are very sparse, and uncertain in their critical stance. Full subject indexes, which would have served to offset some of these shortcomings are lacking; instead each volume has its own author indexes. The shortcomings of this major work, undertaken largely by volunteer staff working under movement auspices, illustrate the problems that have, as often as not, been made inevitable by the social neglect and obloquy in which the subject has been enveloped. To his credit, W. Dorr Legg, the project director, realized that an altogether new work was needed, one that would remedy the all-too-evident faults of the existing work. After several years of intense work, it was found that fundamental disagreements prevented the editors from concluding the task, which had reached the letter N. The copious materials for this unfinished project are now preserved in the ONE archives at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

In San Francisco in the 1960s William Parker began gathering material for a one-person effort. His first attempt was Homosexuality: Selected Abstracts and Bibliography (San Francisco, 1966); this publication, and a number of other earlier lists, are now most easily accessible in the Arno Press omnibus: A Gay Bibliography: Eight Bibliographies on Lesbianism and Male Homosexuality (New York, 1975). Parker's more substantial work is Homosexuality: A Selected Bibliography of over 3,000 Items (Metuchen, NJ, 1971), followed by two supplements (published in 1977 and 1985), which carry coverage up through 1982. These volumes arrange the material (English-language only) by types of publication; there are helpful subject indices. Although some note is taken of films, television programs and audiovisual materials, the coverage of print items is almost entirely restricted to nonfiction.

Parker's two supplements cover six- and seven-year periods respectively, but even as of 2010 there is no current annual bibliography of homosexuality. For a time, the best means of of monitoring current production was through the "Relevant" section of the scholarly Dutch bimonthly Homologie (Amsterdam, 1978-97 ), which utilized the resources of Homodok (Dokumentatiecentrum Homostudies), founded in 1977 under the auspices of the University of Amsterdam.

In San Francisco the lesbian monthly The Ladder, published by the Daughters of Bilitis organization, included notices of books from its inception in 1956 (the full set was reissued with a new index in New York in 1975). Eventually these notices were coordinated on a monthly basis by Gene Damon (Barbara Grier), whose later columns have been recently collected in a handy, indexed volume: Lesbiana: Book Reviews from the Ladder, 1966-1972 (Reno, 1976). Utilizing input from Marion Zimmer Bradley and others, Damon and Lee Stuart produced the first edition of The Lesbian in Literature: A Bibliography (San Francisco, 1967). This work subsequently appeared in an expanded, third edition: Barbara Grier, The Lesbian in Literature (Tallahassee, 1981), with about 3100 items, including some nonfiction. The entries are labeled with an ingenious coding system, balancing relevance and quality.

The complement to Grier in the male sphere is Ian Young, The Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography (second ed. Metuchen, NJ, 1982), with 4282 items, interpretive essays by several hands, and title index. While there are no annotations, Young sweeps the field: fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography. Like Grier, the volume is restricted to works written in English and translations of foreign works. Regrettably, no scholars have come forward to update these exemplary works by Grier and Young on creative literature.

Apart from the general bibliographies just discussed, which claim to cover at least the whole-English language production in their chosen domains, there are also a number of works defined by the country in which they appeared. William Crawford (ed.), Homosexuality in Canada: A Bibliography (Toronto, 1984), contains a good deal of material, in French as well as English, that has been overlooked elsewhere. Manfred Herzer, Verzeichnis des deutschsprachigen nicht belletristischen Schrifttums zur weiblichen und männlichen Homosexualität aus den Jahren 1466 bis 1975 in chronologischer Reihenfolge (Berlin, 1982) is an exemplary compilation of some 3500 nonfiction items published in German up to 1975 . For Italian-language material, see the annotated listing by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Leggere omosessuale (Turin, 1984), a roster of publications from 1800 to 1983. Still awaiting systematic treatment is the rich Italian material before 1800, though much of this can be recovered from Dall’Orto’s extenive website, http://www.giovannidallorto.com. Claude Courouve's work on French bibliography was privately published.

Almost from the beginning homosexual organizations have created their own periodicals to supplement the mainstream journals which tend to scant, or even exclude altogether research on sexual variation. A detailed roster of no less than 1924 publications existing (or believed to exist) in the 1980s is Robert Malinowsky, International Directory of Gay and Lesbian Periodicals (Phoenix, 1987). By definition, this work does not include older journals that had ceased (309 of these are listed in Bullough, et al., cited above), nor does it provide, for obvious reasons, a listing of the contents of these publications. Gay and lesbian journals are covered only sporadically in current bibliographies, and even copies of the less familiar newspapers are hard to find once they leave the stands; here the gay and lesbian archives are doing an essential job of preservation, since public and univer­sity libraries usually do not preserve these materials. In the early twenty-first century, unfortunately, poor economic conditions caused the demise of a number of gay and lesbian periodicals.

A summation of bibliographical work appears in Wayne R. Dynes, Homosexuality: A Research Guide (New York, 1987). Each of the approximately 170 subject groups begins with an introduction outlining the strengths and problems of the topic in its current state of development (or lack of development). Every item is annotated, a feature Dynes judged essentially in a realm where quality is so varied. This volume is interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and transhistorical, and may be consulted for a sense of the complexity of the overarching field. See the electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/ResGde/main.htm.

More specialized, but quite thorough is Linda Garber, Lesbian Sources: A Bibliography of Periodical Articles, 1970-1990 (New York, 1993). Like Dynes, this list is organized in terms of categories, from “Abortion” to “Youth.” However, Garber does not provide annotations.

Neither Dynes nor Garber were prepared to attempt a sequel to their vast works. The reason was this. By the early ‘nineties it was clear that the proliferation of material was outrunning the feasibility of efforts to monitor it. Here the Internet seemed to offer an ideal solution, but unfortunately it was not as effective as one would have thought. The advantages of publishing bibliographies in this format are obvious: economy, since no publisher of the traditional kind was needed and no one need pay for consult the compilation; ease of access; and flexibility, since the editor(s) could keep constantly adding new items as they appeared.

Yet things did not quite work out as expected. The problems are illustrated by the fate of a truly remarkable effort conducted by the Englishman Paul Halsall while he was a graduate student at Fordham University in New York. Working selflessly and with almost feverish energy, during the 1990s Halsall created “People with a History” (PWH) (www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/). This a major annotated bibliography covering gays, lesbians, and trans people for all historical periods and areas, including non-Western ones. Fully annotated, the site contains links to other sites created by Halsall. While PWH can be used as a supplement and continuation of Dynes, Homosexuality: A Research Guide, the site also notices earlier works. Unfortunately, Halsall had to stop work in 1998 in order to complete his dissertation. He has since returned to England, where he has moved on to other tasks.

Working at the same time as Halsall, Gary Simes of Sydney Australia, created the last printed bibliography of the subject that is comprehensive in scope. This is Simes, Bibliography of Homosexuality (Sydney: University of Sydney Library & The Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research, 1998), based on the holdings of the University of Sydney Library. This listing of 6129 items is selectively annotated. A different approach appears in the massive volume edited by Timothy F. Murphy, The Reader’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Studies (Chicago, 2000). The Guide consists of some 430 essays, from “Academicians” to “World War II, Cultural Effects of.” Each entry begins with a list of publications; these are mostly books and items written in the English language--two serious limitations. While a few of the essays that follow are thoughtful, even penetrating, many are lackluster, having apparently been compiled by graduate students. A stronger hand by the overall editor would have been helpful.

Returning to Internet resources, probably the best way for the tyro scholar to begin is to turn to the lists maintained by the London-based scholar Rictor Norton at his site: http://rictornorton.co.uk. One may also consult online the collective work known as GLBTQ, which bills itself as “the world’s largest encyclopedia of gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture” (www.glbtq.com). The articles are generally clear and reliable, though coverage is limited to literature, the arts, and the social sciences, with inclusion of numerous relevant biographies For the older, entries, however, the attached bibliographies tend not to be up-to-date. Many relevant Wikipedia entries contain bibliographies,

Online one can also browse two large and continuously updated repertoires that stem from the library world. The first, Harvard Libraries’ HOLLIS Classical is relatively concise, with somewhat under 5000 items appearing when one types in the key word “homosexualty.” One may also access the vast list of the holdings of the Library of Congress on line. Finally, one can proceed to a truly enormous compilation, that of Worldcat (www.worldcat.org). Among its 1.2 billion items are more than 50,000 entries relevant to our subject, including books, periodicals and periodical articles, dissertations, CD-ROMS and other electronic compilations. The enormous profusion of periodical articles, of varying quality, poses a huge problem of bibliographical control. Worldcat presents these selectively (e.g. the Journal of Homosexuality), but seems to be constantly increasing coverage.

Using the resources of Worldcat, Paul Knobel created an invaluable Bibliography of Homosexuality: The Non-English Sources, comprising an astonishing 4600 entries from 39 non-English languages. Consulting Knobel’s great “webliography” will do much to correct the Anglophone exclusivity that hobbles scholarship in many areas. Knobel’s work may be viewed at http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/knobelneng.


Over the course of the twentieth century a number of encyclopedias of sexology appeared, but until 1990 none addressing the specific topic of homosexuality. In that year the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, edited by Wayne R. Dynes and others, appeared. Not only was this landmark work the first monument of its kind, it is--in the judgment of many observers--probably still the best. The Encyclopedia contains 770 articles providing a broad range of information useful to both scholar and layperson. Coverage includes historical, medical, psychological, sociological, and transcultural and transgeographical information in biographical, topical, and thematic entries. A subject cross-reference guide begins the work. Biographies exclude living people, but they are often referred to in the text. The focus tends to be Western (because of the availability of information), but African, Eastern, and other groups are included. Variant viewpoints are discussed, and bibliographies (primarily covering book-length studies) are provided at the end of each article. See the electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/EOH/index.htm.

Issued as a pair by Garland Press in 1999 were The Encyclopedia of Gay Male Histories and Cultures (edited by George Hagerty) and The Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures (edited by Bonnie Zimmerman). The second volume has the distinction of offering the first in-depth encyclopedia of lesbianism. There is some inconvenience in having to consult both works for certain topics, such as the Mattachine Society and Stonewall.

There is also a French-language effort entitled Dictionnaire des cultures gays et lesbiennes, edited by Didier Eribon (Paris, 2003). Coverage is somewhat ethnocentric, being limited to France and areas influenced by that country, such as the Maghreb.

While most such works nowadays are positive and supportive, antihomosexual sentiment must be confronted. A valuable instrument in this effort is The Dictionary of Homophobia: A Global History of Gay & Lesbian Experience edited by Louis-Georges Tin (Vancouver, 2008). A revised translation of a French-language work of 2003, this volume employs more than 70 scholars who produced some 175 short essays. Subjects include religious and ideological forces such as the Bible, Communism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam; historical subjects, events, and personalities such as AIDS, Stonewall, J. Edgar Hoover, Matthew Shepard, Oscar Wilde, Pat Buchanan, Joseph McCarthy, Pope John Paul II, and Anita Bryant; as well as other topics such as coming out, adoption, deportation, ex-gays, lesbiphobia, and biphobia.

The year 2009 saw the appearance of the Greenwood Encyclopedia of LGBT Issues Worldwide edited by Chuck Stewart (Westport, 2009). Published in three volumes, this set had the goal of offering an up-to-date international overview of key issues in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. More than 70 countries are represented, with special attention to HIV/AIDS issues. The target audience is mainly younger readers.

Not cited in this section are some shorter, one-volume printed works that lack the authority of those noted.

As noted above, one may also consult online the collective work known as GLBTQ, which bills itself as “the world’s largest encyclopedia of gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture” (www.glbtq.com).

Another major work is the CD-ROM created by Paul Knobel of Sydney, Australia. His Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry and its Reception History (2002) covers poetry with 6,300 entries. Knobel has also produced am Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Art (2005; CD-ROM) with more than 800 entries.


The emergence of encyclopedias of homosexuality is a development not envisaged in Hirschfeld’s time. By contrast, no one has attempted a narrative synthesis that would even approach the scope of Hirschfeld’s great work of 1914. Embracing everything from biology and psychology to law and literature, that would be a task that could only be addressed in a multivolume work written by several authors. Both funding and editorial control would be an almost insuperable task.

However, at least two American historians have produced comprehensive accounts of the historical record. The first is David F. Greenberg author of The Construction of Homosexuality (Chicago, 1988). Written by a professor of sociology at New York University, this large work begins with what is known of the earliest cultures and proceeds systematically down to the contemporary period. Some theoretical templates, including ones derived from Marxism, will not compel the assent of every reader. Yet this is a remarkable panorama touching on a wealth of evidence.

The second recent notable book of this kind is Louis Crompton’s Homosexuality and Civilization (Cambridge, Mass., 2006). This gracefully written and comprehensive survey was the product of some thirty years of intense thinking and research on the part of an early pioneer of gay and lesbian studies. Crompton's great intellectual nemesis is the late Michel Foucault, whose History of Sexuality, Volume I emphasizes the difficulty of reconstructing the sexual ethos of another culture or historical period.

The main part of the book limns the history of homosexuality in Europe and parts of Asia from Homer to the eighteenth century. In a series of deft narratives, Crompton, emeritus professor of English at the University of Nebraska, relates the "rich and terrible" stories of men and women who have been immortalized, celebrated, shunned, or executed for the special attention they paid to members of their own sex. Two chapters on China and Japan offer a welcome to the usual Eurocentric focus. Crompton's comparative study seeks to show how anomalous Judeo-Christian aversion to homosexuality was in the greater context of world history.

Some questions may be raised about Crompton's overall scheme which is couched in a kind of symphonic form, with an opening allegro in ancient Greece, a long, mournful adagio reflecting the obloquy and persecution of Christian Europe, and a short concluding presto, as the Enlightenment began to dissolve the accumulated errors and prejudice. Crompton’s story is thus a contribution to what some have termed “Whig history,” that is a story of progress that was derailed but not destroyed by centuries of bigotry and persecution.

Others may regret that Crompton’s account stops at the start of the nineteenth century. Had Crompton lived longer (he died in 2009), he might have produced a second, complementary volume on the modern era--and perhaps even a third, to deal with non-Western cultures outside of East Asia. Once one has completed the journey with him, however, one can readily find other studies to fill in the gaps.

[This account incorporates some material from Wayne R. Dynes, et al. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York: Garland, 1990. Electronic version at http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/EOH/index.htm]


See Wayne R. Dynes, Homosexuality: A Research Guide. New York: Garland, 1987; supplementing this compilation with the listings in the Crompton monograph just noted.


Homostudies Four: Gay Studies in Cross-cultural Context

The Cross-cultural Paradigm directs attention to non-Western civilizations and cultures (including the so-called “primitive folk”). This approach evolved shortly after the inception of the Third Paradigm (see the above posting), which was comprehensive to be sure--but mostly in terms of Western civilization.


Perhaps the most original scholar in Magnus Hirschfeld’s circle was Ferdinand Karsch-Haack (1853-1936). Extremely ambitious, this writer documented the occurrence of same-sex behavior throughout the animal kingdom, among tribal peoples, and in non-Western cultures in general. The son of a physician, Karsch-Haack shared with Alfred Kinsey a professional formation as an entomologist.

Breaking with the Eurocentrism of most of his fellow sex researchers at the time, Harsch-Haack set out to disprove the then-common notion that homosexual behavior was the product of “overcultivation” in societies that had become decadent through an excess of civilized. Utilizing his zoological background he produced a pioneering text "Päderastie und Tribadie bei den Tieren auf Grund der Literatur" (Pederasty and Lesbianism among Animals, Based on Literature), which he published in 1900 in Magnus Hirschfeld's Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen. Here he sought to disprove the traditional notion, still found occasionally, that “animals don’t do it.” Almost a century later, Karsch-Haack’s approach found a triumphant and detailed exemplification in Bruce Bagemihl's magnum opus, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (1999).

Drawing his various interests together, Karsch-Haack planned a vast project, with the overall title of Forschungen über gleichgeschlechtliche Liebe (Investigations of Same-Sex Love). This would have comprised: (1) “primitive” peoples; (2) East Asians; (3) Semites and Hamites; and (4 and 5) the Aryans. Because of the death of Karsch-Haack's publisher, however, only two volumes of the series actually appeared: Die Ostasiaten: Chinesen, Japaner und Koreer (The East Asians: Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans; 1906), and Das Geschlechtliche Leben der Naturvölker (The Sexual Life of Primitive Peoples; 1911). This last work, extending to 668 pages, was a grand synthesis in the nineteenth-century manner, surveying male homosexuality and lesbianism among tribal peoples in Africa, the Americas, the Pacific regions, and Siberia. Copiously referenced, the book contains evidence that even now has not been properly followed up by anthropologists.


Without attempting to rival the encyclopedic scope of Karsch-Haack’s work, the Englishman Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), contributed a theoretical distinction that is of great help in understanding same-sex behavior among non-Western peoples. Committed to both mysticism and utopian socialism, Carpenter shared the enthusiasm of his older contemporary John Addington Symonds for Walt Whitman, whom he visited in Camden, New Jersey, in 1877 and 1884. At the same time he became involved in Hindu and Buddhist thought, visiting India and Ceylon in 1890. He maintined that the redemption of a deeply flawed society had less to do with external reorganization than with individual self-realization leading to the development of cosmic consciousness. In his Intermediate Types among Primitive Folk (second ed., 1911) Carpenter posited that there was not one model for homosexual orientation, but two complimentary ones. The two poles are the helping type, found in the shaman and berdache, and the warrior type, as seen in the samurai and the ancient Greek erastes. More recently, further studies have expanded this insight by recognizing that the two most frequently encountered forms of pre-modern and non-Western male homosexuality are the gender-variant type (corresponding to Carpenter’s helping type) and the age-contrastive or pederastic type.

What preceded Karsch-Haack and Carpenter? Often harshly judgmental, nineteenth-century imperialists and colonizers could be surprisingly informative. Many of their reports are quoted or summarized in Karsch-Haack’s monograph.


Surely the most extraordinary of the Victorian travelers and investigators was Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890). In his time he wore many hats: explorer, soldier, writer, translator, linguist, orientalist, ethnographer, fencer, and diplomat. He was renowned for his intrepid explorations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. According to one account, he spoke twenty-nine European, Asian, and African languages.

Early in Burton’s career he made a study of the boy brothels of Karachi; whether he was a participant-observer in these events is unknown. His most important literary achievement is his comprehensive, but somewhat stilted version of One Thousand and One Nights (1885-88). The “Terminal Essay” included in the tenth volume of this work introduced the expression "sotadic zone" as a geographical marker of areas of the globe where male same-sex relations were particularly salient. Somewhat arbitrarily, Burton took his term from Sotades, an Alexandrian poet of the third century B.C. who wrote seemingly innocuous verses that became obscene if read backwards.
In Burton's words, "There exists what I shall call a 'Sotadic Zone,' bounded westwards by the northern shore of the Mediterranean (N. lat. 43) and by the south­ern (N. lat. 30), including meridional France, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Greece, with the coast-regions of Africa from Marocco [sic] to Egypt. Running eastward the Sotadic zone narrows, embracing Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Chaldea, Af­ghanistan, the Sind, the Punjab and Kash­mir. In Indo-China, the belt begins to broaden, enfolding China, Japan and Turkistan. It then embraces the South Sea Is­lands and the New World.... Within the Sotadic Zone, the [pederastic] Vice is popular and endemic, held at worst to be a mere peccadillo, whilst the races to the North and South of the limits here defined, practice it only sporadically amid the opprobrium of their fellows who, as a rule, are physically incapable of performing the operation." Possibly Burton's exclusion of sub-Saharan Africa contributed to the erroneous modern belief that black people were originally innocent of the "vice," having been corrupted by slave masters and lubricious colonialists. (Actually, the theory of sub-Saharan exceptionalism goes back to Edward Gibbon in the eighteenth century.)


Some contemporaries of Burton specialized in a popular genre of "strange customs of primitive folk" literature. Paolo Mantegazza (1831–1910) was a prominent Italian neurologist, physiologist, and anthropologist. A tireless traveler, beginning in 1854 he made many trips to South America, especially to Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia. His observations in those countries led him to become an early researcher on the effects of coca leaves on the human psyche. He also took note of sexual customs in the regions he visited. The 1932 volume, Anthropological Studies of the Human Race, is a translated version of an 1886 Italian volume by Mantegazza in the exotic customs mode; it contains some relatively objective material on homosexuality.

Beginning with a series of articles in 1901, the Russian ethnologist Waldemar (Vladimir) Bogoras (1865-1935) reported on the findings of the Jesup Expedition in Eastern Siberia, among the Chuckchee. These investigations showed that a homosexual orientation among the shamans there was common. These findings also suggested a connection with the American berdache (or two-spirit) type. The latter had been known among travelers since the eighteenth century.


Cultural anthropology (known as social anthropology in Britain) was mainly a creation of the Anglo-Saxon world. With some rare exceptions, that world tended to be shy away any public discussion of homosexuality--until, that is, the appearance of Alfred Kinsey’s first volume in 1948.

A cognate issue, that is to say, the malleability of men and women’s character types and sex roles, was addressed by Margaret Mead in her studies of South Pacific societies of the 1920s and 30s. Here she challenged the idea that men were always the aggressive, “take charge” gender, while women were restricted to passivity and nurturing. The conventional stereotypes underlay the conventional classification of male homosexuals as sissies and lesbians as butches. Perhaps because she was personally bisexual, Mead largely declined to address the issue of sexual orientation in her cross-cultural studies.

Over the decades, however, evidence of same-sex behavior had been accumulating from anthropologist’s field work. The appearance of a kind of clearing house, based at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, made it possible to correlate this data. Founded in 1949, the Human Relations Area File (HRAF) has as its mission to encourage and facilitate worldwide comparative studies of human behavior, society, and culture. Today it mainly pursues this mission by producing and distributing two full-text databases on the Web, eHRAF Collection of Ethnography and eHRAF Collection of Archaeology. HRAF also sponsors and edits the quarterly journal, Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal of Comparative Social Science, and organizes and edits encyclopedias. The entire HRAF Collection of Ethnography, in paper, microfiche, and on the Web, covers nearly 400 cultures world-wide. The HRAF databases were developed to foster comparative research on human beings in all their variety so that explanations of human behavior would be universally valid, not culture bound.

In 1951 Clellan S. Ford and Frank A. Beach undertook to synthesize the HRAF findings on same-sex behavior as they stood at mid-century (Patterns of Sexual Behavior, 1951). The authors reported that of 76 societies of which records were then available, 49 (64%) tolerated or encouraged homosexual behavior. These findings decisively refuted the notion that disapproval of same-sex behavior is universal. In fact, acceptance is more common than condemnation.

In the six decades since Ford and Beach offered their initial findings, evidence has continued to accumulate in the HRAF database. Despite the increased documentation, it has proved difficult to essay more definitive conclusions, though some directions seem to be indicated. In “The Evolution of Human Homosexual Behavior” (an article in the journal Current Anthropology, 41, 2000, pp. 385-98), R. C. Kirkpatrick concludes that homosexual behavior occurs significantly more often in agricultural than in hunter-gatherer societies.


Since the eighteenth century, European travelers had been aware of individuals personifying a homosexual role among Amerindian groups. For a long time this type of person was referred to as berdache, a term of Persian origin. The mixed gender roles encompassed by the term historically included wearing the clothing and performing the work associated with the opposite sex. In some groups, special powers were associated with these individuals.

In 1990 the third annual inter-tribal Native American/First Nations gay/lesbian American conference in Winnipeg concluded that it would be preferable to use the term “Two -Spirit People. This expression derives from the Ojibwe expression Niizh manidoowag, "two-spirited" or "two-spirit," generally usually used to indicate a person whose body simultaneously houses a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit. The term Two-Spirit People is now generally accepted.

Will Roscoe, a leading scholar in the field, notes that male and female Two-Spirit People have been "documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America, among every type of native culture."

Walter Williams, a professor at the University of Southern California, is generally acknowledged as having produced the first modern monograph on the subject: The spirit and the flesh: Sexual diversity in American Indian cultures. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986. Other notable scholars in this field include Sue-Ellen Jacobs, Sabine Lang, and Will Roscoe.


Studies of same-sex behavior on a world-wide basis have suggested broader conclusions as to typology. In a series of books and papers, Stephen O. Murray, a major gay scholar residing in San Francisco, has summed up an emerging consensus. This consensus postulates a three-fold typology of male same-sex behavior. The three basic types are: 1) age-differentiated, as found in the pederastic culture of ancient Greece, medieval Islam, and the Japan of the Samurai; 2) gender-differentiated, as found in the shamans of Northeast Asia, the Amerindian berdache, and a number of contemporary societies in Southeast Asia; 3) egalitarian (or androphile) in which the partners are of roughly the same age and gender identity. The latter type is characteristic of the advanced industrial societies of the West, but occasionally elsewhere, as in the Old Kingdom in Egypt.

In complex societies there is usually one dominant type, with one or both of the others represented as a minority preference. In the US, for example, the egalitarian form is dominant, while age-differentiated and gender-differentiated types exist among smaller portions of the population. With this proviso, research has shown that this typology is valid world wide, and that there are no other major types of male same-sex behavior capable of rivaling these three.

Some observers object, however, asking what about those who are attracted across class boundaries, and those who seek interracial unions? And what about those who look for slender or muscular partners, ones who are hirsute or not. Shouldn't options like these be added to the list?

Closer analysis shows that these preferences, while significant to those who hold them, are not on the same plane as the primary ones mentioned.

It remains unclear, though, how valid this typology is for female same-sex behavior.


Gradually, the sphere of indigenous peoples untouched by contact with advanced societies shrinks. In fact it has vanished, to all intents and purposes. Accordingly, there has been much emphasis on salvage anthropology--the attempt to record the basic features of such societies before knowledge of them in their pristine state is completely lost. In this context there seems to be little attention to same-behavior. Yet in such popular books as Keep the River on Your Right (1969) and Wild Man (1979), the romantic traveler Tobias Schneebaum (1922-2005) reported on his erotic visits to various locales in the Americas and the Pacific region. Some critics have detected notes of fanciful exaggeration in some anecdotes, as in Schneebaum's claim to have participated in a cannibalistic feast in South America. By and large, no such allegations attach to the pioneering work of the anthropologist Gilbert H. Herdt, whose 1981 monograph Guardians of the Flutes records his discovery of a New Guinea tribe (which he named the Sambia) that required same-sex initiation rites (ingestion of semen) of all adolescent males.


Given the disparate nature of themes, there are no up-to-date syntheses of this material. However, one should examine the various monographs of Stephen O. Murray (see amazon.com for a listing).


Homostudies Five: The American Paradigm

Alfred C. Kinsey created the first American Paradigm of the study of (homo)sexuality. This model was both positivist and behaviorist. It was positivist in emphasizing the collection of masses of empirical data. It was behaviorist (or anti-idealist) in the assumption that conduct and experience trump conceptualization.

Moreover, Kinsey insisted that the terms heterosexual and homosexual could be used only as adjectives, and not as nouns. In blurring the line between opposite-sex and same-sex behavior, Kinsey tended to downplay the special qualities of the latter.


Prior to World War II the US contribution to sex research was relatively modest. There are several reasons for this paucity. During the latter part of the nineteenth century American physicians were seeking to enhance their status, so as to bring their profession up to level achieved by their European colleagues. Accomplishing task required, they believed, the perception that they were reinforcing established social norms--of “respectability” in short. In addition, there was the reticence regarding sexual matters that we inherited from the mother country Great Britain. Under the leadership of Anthony Comstock, moral entrepreneurs were particularly vigilant in detecting and suppressing any publications they deemed obscene. While physicians sought to insulate themselves from this suppression by limiting their audience to other professionals where “sensitive” subjects, such as sexuality were concerned, caution seemed warranted.

There were some exceptions to this professional silence. Among them is a contribution by Edward J. Kempf (1885-1971), a physician influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis. In his book “Psychopathology” (1920) he posited a condition known as homosexual panic. In the early years it was sometimes known as Kempf's Disease. In the moralizing language of the period, he defined it as "panic due to the pressure of uncontrollable perverse sexual cravings," ascribing its importance to the frequency with which it occurred whenever men or women had to be grouped apart from the opposite sex "for prolonged periods, as in army camps, aboard ships, on exploring expeditions, in prisons, monasteries, schools and asylums."

According to Kempf, when released in this way homosexual longings threaten to overcome the individual's ego, his sense of self-control, which has been weakened by fatigue, debilitating fevers, loss of love object, misfortunes, homesickness, the seductive pressure of some superior, or erotic companions. These unfortunate homosexual desires cause delusions about situations, objects, and persons that tend to gratify the craving, or even hallucinations of them. When the erotic hallucination is felt to be an external reality and the subject can find no defense, panic ensues. The erotic affect may manifest itself as visions, voices, electric injections, "drugged" feelings, "poison" and "filth" in the food, seductive and hypnotic influences, irresistible trance states, crucifixion, and the like. The panic state may be more or less severe, lasting from a few hours to several months, and the metabolic disturbances attending such dissociations of the personality, because the autonomic reactions produced by fear may be quite serious.

As Warren Johansson has pointed out, “[i]t is significant that the concept of homosexual panic emerged in the United States just after World War I, when for the first time since 1865 large numbers of men were brought together in training camps and military bases with no members of the opposite sex present (Johansson in Dynes et al. 1990).

While Kempf’s concept has been largely discarded, it is still sometimes invoked as a legal defense--the “gay panic defense.” In such situations, the perpetrator of a homophobic attack is alleged to have lost control because of the overwhelming pressure of the panic he experiences. However, the validity of this approach is usually subject to challenge in the court room.

There were also some instances of anticipation of Kinsey’s method of using case histories. A remarkable instance is due to Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher (1863-1940), who taught in Stanford University’s hygiene department. Mosher created what may well rank the first American sex survey. She started it in 1892 as a 28-year-old biology undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin; she had been asked to address a local Mother's Club on "the marital relation" and as a single, childless woman seems to have turned to data collection to fill gaps in her knowledge. Afterward, Mosher continued conducting surveys until 1920, using variations on the same form and amassing 45 profiles in all.

The Mosher Survey recorded not only women's sexual habits and appetites, but also their thinking about spousal relationships, children, and contraception. Some of the women spoke with surprising frankness. One, born in 1844, called sex "a normal desire" and observed that "a rational use of it tends to keep people healthier." Offered another, born in 1862, "[t]he highest devotion is based upon it, a very beautiful thing, and I am glad nature gave it to us.”

A kind of closet sexologist, Dr. Mosher deemed it unwise to publish her results; they remained unknown until the historian Carl Degler rediscovered them in the 1970s.

Another pioneering researcher was Robert Latou Dickinson (1861-1950), an obstetrician and gynecologist who conducted studies concerning female sexuality between 1890 and 1920. Gradually he assembled data from 5200 case histories. In some instances he was able to follow the subjects through several periods of their lives, showing changes in behavior. A trained artist, Dickinson also made sketches of genitalia and sexual intercourse. Most of his findings were only published late in life.


We turn now to the central figure in this first American paradigm. Alfred Charles Kinsey was born on June 23, 1894, in Hoboken, New Jersey where his father was a professor at Stephens Institute of Technology. His formative years were both promising and unpromising. For most of his childhood Kinsey's parents were poor, and the boy often went without proper medical care. His bout with rickets caused curvature of the spine, resulting in a slight stoop. Kinsey's parents were strict Methodists; his extremely devout father imposed strict rules on the household including mandating Sunday as a day of prayer. While Kinsey became a religious skeptic in later life, the single-mindedness and discipline inherent in his father’s approach left an enduring impress.

The young Kinsey showed great interest in nature and camping, which he did in conjunction with the YMCA and the Boy Scouts. Even though a childhood disease had weakened his heart, Kinsey practiced an intense regime of difficult hikes and camping expeditions throughout his early life. In this he may have been influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by Theodore Roosevelt, who similarly struggled overcome handicaps by practicing the “strenuous life.”

In high school Kinsey was a hard-working student with little interest in sports. At one time, he aspired to become a concert pianist, but decided to concentrate on his scientific pursuits instead, where he was drawn to biology, botany, and zoology. After two unhappy years at Stevens Institute of Technology, in the fall of 1914 he transferred to Bowdon College in Maine, where he could focus on biology, in particularly on insect research. He continued his graduate studies at Harvard University’s Bussey Institute, where he worked under the eminent entomologist William Morton Wheeler. Kinsey chose to produce his doctoral thesis on gall wasps, collecting samples of the species with zeal. After receiving his Harvard Sc.D. degree, he published several papers in 1920 under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, essentially introducing the gall wasp to the scientific community. Of the more than 18 million insects in the museum's collection, an astounding 5 million are gall wasps collected by Kinsey.

Having joined the faculty of Indiana University, Kinsey married Clara Bracken McMillen, known as “Mac,” in 1921. They had four children, of whom one died in childhood. Kinsey wrote a widely used high-school textbook, An Introduction to Biology (1926), basically supporting the principles of Darwininian Evolution. Kinsey also co-wrote a classic book entitled Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America (1943) with Merritt Lyndon Fernald. He continued his research on gall wasps.

With this background, Kinsey’s turn to the systematic study of human sexuality seemed somewhat surprising. About 1933, however, he became interested in the different forms of sexual practices, after discussing the topic extensively with a colleague, Robert Kroc. In 1935, Kinsey delivered a lecture to a faculty discussion group at Indiana University, wherein he attacked the "widespread ignorance of sexual structure and physiology" and promoted his view that "delayed marriage" (that is, delayed sexual experience) was psychologically harmful.

In due course Kinsey obtained research funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled him to conduct sustained field work documenting into human sexual behavior in America. Published in an austere scientific form by a a medical publisher, his two Kinsey Reports—Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), followed in 1953 by Sexual Behavior in the Human Female—reached the top of bestseller lists and turned the Indiana University professor into an instant celebrity. Articles about him appeared in popular magazines such as Time, Life, Look and McCall’s. The storm of controversy stirred up by Kinsey's reports was a major contributor to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. While this turbulence served to convey much useful information in a formerly taboo subject, it made the continuation of his work more difficult. Indiana University's president Herman B. Wells staunchly defended Kinsey's research in what became a well-known test of academic freedom.


The key feature of his classification of sexual orientation is that in the Reports Kinsey rejected the simple dichotomy of heterosexual vs. homosexual, preferring to use a seven-point scale instead. The Kinsey scale attempts to describe a person's sexual history or episodes of their sexual activity at a given time. It goes from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. There are thus five categories that can be loosely termed bisexual, though Kinsey avoided this term. Standing apart from the main points of the scale was an additional grade, noted as “X,” which was used for asexuality.

Kinsey explained his reasoning as follows. “Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.
“While emphasizing the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history [...] An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life. [...] A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." [Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656].

The main scale is as follows:

0 -- Exclusively heterosexual

1 -- Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

2 -- Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

3 -- Equally heterosexual and homosexual

4 -- Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

5 -- Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual

6 -- Exclusively homosexual

In his article on “Incidence” in the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (1990), C.A. Tripp concisely summed up Kinsey’s conclusions regarding sexual orientation.

“[The] scale not only takes into account differences in the balance between heterosexual and homosexual actions, but also allows an investigator to consider "psychologic reactions" in arriving at each rating. Thus two people might both be rated "6"-for being exclusively homosexual, with one of them liv­ing out his or her experiences, while the other might have as little as no overt activity of this kind - for reasons ranging from moral inhibitions to simply a lack of opportunity.Ordinarily, it is easy to arrive at a single rating for a person's mental and physical responses. But whenever the two are in sharp discord (such as when a man has most or all of his sexual activity with women, but requires homosexual fanta­sies to actually reach orgasm), there is much to criticize in the compromises implicit in the 0-6 Scale. (To such complaints Kinsey simply pointed out that while rating difficulties and imperfections are, indeed, apparent in some cases, it is nevertheless useful, the best rating device so far, and that more is gained by using than by ignoring it.)The combination of applying these measures of incidence, of frequency, and of placement on the 0-6 Scale (tabulated yearly or for a lifetime) not only permitted the Kinsey Research to cast out oversimplified stereotypes long used in defining heterosexual and homosexual variations, but to off er a variety of samples of its white male population, among them that:58 percent of the males who belong to the group that goes into high school but not beyond, 59 percent of the grade school level, and 47 percent of the college level have had homosexual experience to the point of orgasm if they remain single to the age of 35.13 percent of males react erotically to other males without having overt homosexual contacts after the onset of adolescence. [This 13 percent, coupled with the 37 percent who do have overt homosexual experience, means that a full 50 percent of males have at least some sexual response to other males after adolescence - and conversely, that only the other 50 percent of the male population is entirely heterosexual throughout life.)25 percent of the male population has more than incidental homosexual ex­perience or reactions [i.e., rates 2-6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.18 percent of males have at least as much homosexual as heterosexual experience in their histories (i.e., rate 3-6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.13 percent of the male population has more homosexual than heterosexual experience (i.e., rates 4 - 6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.8 percent of males are exclusively homosexual (i.e., rate 6) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.4 percent of males are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives after the onset of adolescence. (Kinsey, 1948, pp. 650-51)”

Kinsey held that the words heterosexual and homosexual should never be used as nouns but only as adjectives, representing behaviors, rather than persons. This preference accords with the Anglo-Saxon inclination to empiricism and nominalism. The sheer number of interviews is impressive: 5300 for the male volume, 6000 for the female one. While Kinsey took pains to acquaint himself with the more theoretically inclined European sex research, he chose his own approach, in part out of personal preference but also because of a sense that such sober factuality, backed up as it was by massive data, would be more acceptable to the American public, which was in those days generally reticent about discussion of sex in a serious (that is, nonsensationalist) fashion,

Those who have concluded that some 10% of the American population is predominantly homosexual rely on their interpretation of the tables in the Reports. However, various conclusions can be drawn from the data, and (as noted above) Kinsey disapproved of using terms like homosexual or heterosexual to describe individuals, maintaining that sexuality is prone to change over time, and that sexual behavior can be understood both as physical contact as well as purely psychological phenomena (desire, sexual attraction, fantasy). After reading the first Kinsey volume, Harry Hay, the founder of the American gay movement, concluded that Kinsey’s data showed that homosexual were a separate people. Kinsey would have completely rejected this interpretation.


Early on, academic criticisms appeared concerning sample selection and sample bias in the research underlying the Reports. Two main problems cited were that significant portions of the samples come from prison populations and male prostitutes, and that people who volunteer to be interviewed about a taboo subject are likely to suffer from the problem of self-selection. If these criticisms could be substantiated, they would undermine the usefulness of the sample in terms of determining the tendencies of the overall population.

Critics zeroed in on what they regarded the over-representation of some groups in the sample: in the subjects used for the male volume, 25% were, or had been, 5% inmates, and 5% were male prostitutes. In response, Paul Gebhard Kinsey's successor as director of the Indiana University Institute, produced a new statistical analysis, ostensibly cleansing the Kinsey data of purported contaminants, removing, for example, all material derived from prison populations in the basic sample. In 1979, Gebhard (with Alan B. Johnston) published The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the 1938–1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute for Sex Research. The authors concluded that none of Kinsey's original estimates were significantly affected by this bias: that is, prison population, male prostitutes, and those who willingly participated in discussion of previously taboo sexual topics had the same statistical tendency as the general population. However, Kinsey had a particular fascination with individuals that we would now call gay, and probably over-represented these in his general samples, accounting for the apparent concordance between the prison/prostitute group and the general sample.

After Kinsey’s death information came to light that in his later years Kinsey’s personal orientation had became more and more homosexual. For many years this information was suppressed by Kinsey’s associates, suggesting that they believed that it might tend to discredit his results concerning the frequency of homosexual behavior. At this late date it is probably impossible to determine the truth of this controversy. Suffice it to say that Kinsey’s data for homosexual behavior in American white males (blacks were not included in the study) indicated that this conduct was considerably higher than anyone had considered heretofore. In particular, Kinsey showed that many individuals who would have regarded themselves (and been regarded) as totally straight were capable of fairly extensive same-sex conduct.


The Kinsey Reports sparked a host of imitators in the United States and abroad. Several studies, produced by associates and followers of Kinsey were intended as followups. One such is Alan P. Bell and Martin S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity among Men and Women (1978), This ambitious study examines the various ways individuals have made social and psychological adjustments to their homosexuality. The monograph is based on interviews conducted in the San Francisco Bay area with 1500 individuals (including black men and women, groups omitted from the two Kinsey studies) in a project supported by the National Institute of Mental Health. The book has attracted criticism on several grounds: (1) the limitation to San Francisco makes extrapolation to the rest of North America problematic; (2) interviewing standards are unclear; (3) the proposed typology of specific kinds of partnerships or lifestyles— close-coupled, open-coupled, functional, dysfunctional, and asexual—is of uncertain value.

This work had its own sequel, Alan P. Bell, Martin S. Weinberg, and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith, Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women (1981). Reviewing the existing literature, the authors conclude that there is no significant correlation between early family experience and adult sexual preference and therefore that sexual preference must be controlled essentially by biological-constitutional factors. Although further evidence has appeared subsequently, this conclusion remains controversial in some quarters.

In 1990 the Kinsey Institute published "Homosexuality/Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation," edited by David McWhirter and others. The authors found that 13.95% of males and 4.25% of females having had either "extensive" or "more than incidental" homosexual experience.

For a time, a male-female team of researchers, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, vied for prestige with Alfred Kinsey and his associates. Working at their own institution, the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation, St. Louis, they produced Human Sexual Response in 1966. They supplemented Kinsey by producing more detailed accounts of the physiology of the sexual act. This volume (no longer much read) contains little on homosexuality, for which see their Homosexuality in Perspective (1979).

Because the controversy made funding harder to find, some resorted to the so-called “convenience method,” in which samples would left in various public places for those who wished to to respond. Naturally, these exhibit volunteer bias, and must be judged accordingly. Among these contributions is Sherry Hite, The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality (1978). This book purports to summarize the responses of 3000 American women to a questionnaire concerning their own sexuality. This book launched the fashion for a series of pop avatars of Kinsey. As samples they are almost worthless, but they reveal much of changing fashions--in this instance Hite's own feminist concepts of sexuality. The author also produced The Hite Report on Male Sexuality (1981).New York: Knopf, 1981; 1129 pp.). Similar efforts were produced for gays and lesbians by Karla Jay and Allen Young (1979) and by James Spada (1979).

For some years serious research languished, though there was some effort to replicate the Kinsey results in Western European countries. Then in 1994 a team headed by Edward O. Laumann of the University of Chicago produced their “The Social Organization of Sexuality.” This book reports on the findings of the National Health and Social Life Survey, a 1992 nationwide study of 3432 American men and women between the ages of 18 and 59. Beginning with the theoretical foundations, rationale for, and design of the methodology, the authors put the work in historical context, urging caution about interpretation and implications of their sometimes surprising findings. Though the study was designed largely to "fill significant gaps in our knowledge of sexual behavior associated with the acquisition of the AIDS virus," this study attempted a reexamination of masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, cohabitation and marriage, fertility, and homosexuality. A significant portion of the National Health and Life study was geared towards homosexuality. The results found that 8.6% of women and 10.1% of men had at one point in their life experienced some form of homosexuality. Of these, 87% of women and 76% of men reported current same-sex attraction. 41% of women and 52% of men had sex with someone of the same gender, and 16% of women and 27% of men identified as GLBT.

In 2010 findings from the National Survey of Health and Behavior (NSSHB) study were reported. Indiana University sex researchers interviewed nearly 6,000 people nationwide between the ages of 14 and 94. The NSSHB results indicated enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults, with more than 40 combinations of sexual activity described at adults’ most recent sexual event. The researchers found that 7 percent of women and 8 percent of men identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. By age 50, 15% of men have had at least one oral sex encounter with another man.


The closing years of the twentieth century saw an upsurge of studies of sexual behavior in various nations, with particular emphasis on sexual orientation. For most, however, the usual caveats regarding sampling and volunteerism apply.

In 2001-02 the largest and most thorough survey in Australia to date was conducted by telephone interview with 19,307 respondents between the ages of 16 and 59. The study found that 97.4% of men identified as heterosexual, 1.6% as gay and 0.9% as bisexual. For women 97.7% identified as heterosexual, 0.8% as lesbian and 1.4% as bisexual. However, 8.6% of men and 15.1% of women reported either feelings of attraction to the same gender or some sexual experience with the same gender. Half the men and two-thirds of the women who had same-sex sexual experience regarded themselves as heterosexual rather than homosexual.

A 2003 survey of 135,000 Canadians found that 1.0% of the respondents identified themselves as homosexual, while 0.7% identified themselves as bisexual. About 1.3% of men considered themselves homosexual, almost twice the proportion of 0.7% among women. However, 0.9% of women reported being bisexual, slightly higher than the proportion of 0.6% among men. In the 18-35 age bracket, 2.0% considered themselves to be either homosexual or bisexual, but the number decreased to 1.9% among 35–44 year olds, and further still to 1.2% in the population aged 45–59. Quebec and British Columbia had higher percentages than the national average -- 2.3% and 1.9%, respectively.

In France, a 1992 study of 20,055 people found that 4.1% of the men and 12.6% of the women had at least one occurrence of intercourse with person of the same sex during their lifetime.

In a 1988 random survey of 6,300 Norwegians, 3.5% of the men and 3% of the women reported that they had a homosexual experience sometime in their life. Also in that country, according to the Durex Global Sex Survey for 2003, 12% of Norwegian respondents have had homosexual sex.

In the United Kingdom a 1992 study of 8,337 British men found that 6.1% have had a homosexual experience." and 3.6% had "1+ homosexual partner ever." In 2005 the HM Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry completed a survey to help the Government analyze the financial implications of the Civil Partnerships Act (such as pensions, inheritance and tax benefits). They concluded that there were 3.6 million gay people in the United Kingdom – around 6% of the total population or 1 in 16.66 people. Finally, in 2010 a representative survey of 238,206 Britons found 1% were gay or lesbian and .5% were bisexual. A further 0.5% self-identified as "other," and 3% responded as "do not know" or refused to answer.


"AIDS and Sexual Behaviour in France: ACSF Investigators," Nature 360 (6403), 407–9. (December 1992).

Bell, Alan P., and Martin S. Weinberg. Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity among Men and Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.

Bell, Alan P., Martin S. Weinberg, and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith. Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981 (with additional volume, Statistical Appendix, 1981).

Black, Dan, Gary Gates, Seth Sanders, and Lowell Taylor. "Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources," Demography 37 (2), 139–154 (2002).

Dynes, Wayne R., et al. eds. The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. 2 vols. New York: Garland, 1990.

Gathorne-Hardy, Jonathan. Kinsey: Sex the Measure of All Things. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.

Gebhard, Paul, and Alan B. Johnson. The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the 1938-1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute of Sex Research. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1979.

Gebhard, Paul et al. Sex Offenders. New York: Harper and Row, 1965.

Hite, Sherry. The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study on Female Sexuality. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1976.

----. The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. New York: Knopf, 1981.

Jay, Karla, and Allen Young. The Gay Report. New York: Summit Books,

Jones, James H. Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997.

Kinsey, Alfred C. Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin, and Paul Gebhard. Sexual
Behavior in the Human Female. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1953.

Kinsey, Alfred C. Wardell B. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1948.

Masters, William H., and Virginia Johnson. Homosexuality in Perspective. Boston: Little, Brown, 1979.

----. Human Sexual Response, Boston: Little, Brown, 1966.

McWhirter, David P., Stephanie A. Saunders, and June Machover Reinisch. Homosexuality/Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation. (The Kinsey Institute Series), New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Sex in Australia: The Australian Study of Health and Relationships, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society [2002]. (Published as the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol. 27, no 2.)

Simon, Pierre (with Claude Lévy). Rapport sur le comportement sexuel des Français. Paris: Julliard, 1972.

Spada, James, The Spada Report: The Newest Survey of Gay Male Sexuality. New York: New American Library, 1979.

Sundet, J.M., et al. Prevalence of Risk-prone Sexual Behaviour in the General Population of Norway. In: Global Impact of AIDS, edited by Alan F. Fleming et al. New York: Alan R. Liss, 1988, 53–60.


Homostudies Six: The Homophile Paradigm

In the last analysis, the Homophile Paradigm must be seen as a component of a major shift in the ethos of Western industrial societies, especially in the United States. Put in its briefest possible terms, this shift was one away from conformity and self-restraint (sometimes labeled the "Protestant ethic") towards a new emphasis on expressivity and self-affirmation. The old fogies were vocal in their disapproval: the new mode simply meant unrestrained gratification and acting out. For most participants, however, the change fostered, essentially for the first time in Western history, a real possibility for self-realization.

A more specific influence was the emergence of the Second Gay Movement in Western history in Los Angeles in 1950-51. The new emphasis on gay identity, sometimes assuming the guise of outright separatism, served to increase the gap with heterosexuals. This sense of distinctiveness, and the confrontationalism that the times fostered, stood in direct contrast to Alfred Kinsey’s integrationism (1948ff). There was an emphasis on distinct gay/lesbian culture as seen in poetry, fiction, art works, film, and fashion. Reflecting the influence of the feminist and civil rights movements, white males tended to be deemphasized in favor of women and ethnic minorities.

Strictly speaking, the "homophile era" refers to the period from 1950 to 1969. As used in this chapter, though, it serves as a kind of extender term, embracing the whole range of scholarship that has flourished from 1950 to the present.


In order better to understand the origins of this paradigm, it is useful briefly to review the history of the gay and lesbian movement (now generally known under the acronym GLBT [movement]).

Historically, the roots of the worldwide movement for gay and lesbian civil rights lie in Central Europe. Following important scholarly contributions by Heinrich Hoessli and K.H. Ulrichs, the world's first homosexual organization came into being in 1897, This was the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee), founded in Berlin under the leadership of Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), a physician who became the leading, if controversial, authority on same-sex behavior in the years that followed.

In the United States, Henry Gerber, who had served in the American Army of Occupation in the Rhineland, attempted to transplant the ideas and organizational forms of the German movement. In December 1924 the (Chicago) Society for Human Rights received a charter from the state of Illinois; it was officially dedicated to "promote and protect" the interests of those who, because of "mental and physical abnormalities" were hindered in the "pursuit of happiness." It lasted only long enough to publish a few issues of the newspaper Friendship and Freedom.

With the exception of Gerber’s heroic effort, The United States had no tradition of homosexual movement activity, though many Americans had lived in Central Europe and Hitler's persecution brought exile and émigré homosexuals to such centers of the American gay underworld as New York and Los Angeles. "Vice squads" of the metropolitan police forces regularly entrapped homosexual men, raided bars, and generally intimidated public manifestations of same-sex proclivities. As early as 1948 in Southern California "Bachelors for Wallace" had appeared as a cover for the gathering of homosexuals, but Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy's campaign against" sex perverts in government" put the gay community on the defensive: its response was the founding of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles by Henry (Harry) Hay in December 1950.

The courageous work of a small number of individuals during the period from 1950 to 1969 was certainly meritorious. In the difficult circumstances in which it arose, however, the fledgling American homophile movement was essentially a defensive, self-doubting coterie of struggling individuals in California and the Boston-Washington corridor.


Beneath the surfaces, though, changes were occurring. The slow pace of the American movement in the 1950s was accelerated in the early and mid-1960s in part under the influence of the black civil rights movement ("Gay Is Good" derives from "Black Is Beautiful"), then injected with the tremendous energies that accompanied the opposition to the war in Vietnam. With American involvement in Vietnam at its peak, student uprisings shook the campuses of Columbia and Harvard Universities in 1968 and 1969, and by the late spring of 1969 the country was in a mood of unprecedented mass agitation. It was against this background that New York's Stonewall Rebellion of June 27-30,1969, marked the start of a new, radical, and more militant phase of the homosexual movement in the United States. This euphoric era was to last only twelve years because of the eruption of the AIDS crisis that began in 1981.

A different trend was signaled by the appearance of the gay religious leader Reverend Troy Perry in Southern California. In an influential book of 1980, the historian John Boswell sought to show that Christianity was not in essence hostile to same-sex love. Gay churches and movements associated with particular denominations appeared. Gay and lesbian synagogues also became prominent. Yet gay and lesbian Muslims were slower to organize.

The rise of modern gay scholarship must be seen within this larger framework. It stemmed from the homophile movement, gathering strength even as that movement morphed into other manifestations. This changes were not without controversy, as illustrated by disputes over terminology: gay vs.homosexual; lesbian and gay; queer; LGBTQ. While these wrangles seemed arcane to many, they inevitably affected the scope of the subjects to be studied by the new scholarship.


The incipient homophile period (in the strict sense, 1950-69) saw some efforts at gay scholarship, as seen in the pages of ONE Quarterly. In his popular sociological work, The Homosexual in America (1951), Donald Webster Cory (Edward Sagarin) attempted an overview of US gay life at mid-century, with some historical asides. In general, however, the little activist groups were too weak, and hostile pressures too strong, for much of lasting significance to be accomplished.

In the immediate aftermath of Stonewall in 1969, gay editors at New York trade publishers scrambled to bring out gay books. Most of these were hastily contrived to meet a demand that quickly subsided, and have been forgotten. More substantively, there was a growing production of gay novels and poetry. However, these contributions lie outside the scope of the present inquiry.

In 1974 a small book by John Lauritsen and David Thorstad, The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935), represented an important breakthrough. At a time when the origins of the American gay-rights movement were still little known, this volume traced its antecedents in Central Europe. The reconstruction of a parallel English movement was less convincing. However, such authors as J. A. Symonds, Edward Carpenter, and Havelock Ellis had been refreshing rays of light in an English-speaking world which for long sought to ignore issues concerning same-sex behavior. The work of Lauritsen and Thorstad was buttressed by another study by James D. Steakley, The Homosexual Emancipation Movement in Germany (1975). At the same time, the Arno Press in New York issued reprints of important primary works by Benedikt Friedlaender, Ferdinand Karsch-Haack, and K. H. Ulrichs; as knowledge of German was rare among most Anglophone scholars of the subject, these books remained largely unknown.

In 1976 there appeared a pioneering collection of of 186 documents, many little known, on North America from 1528 to the early seventies. This was Jonathan Ned Katz, ed., Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A.: A Documentary (New York, 1976). A supplementary collection by Katz, Gay/Lesbian Almanac, appeared in 1983.

A major landmark was the two-volume bibliography issued by ONE Institute in Los Angeles. A grant had been obtained from the Erickson Foundation in 1965, but the finished work did not appear until 1976, This was Vern Bullough et al., Annotated Bibliography of Homosexuality (New York, 1976), providing about 13,000 entries arranged in twenty broad subject categories. Some notion of the enormousness of the whole subject is conveyed by the fact that, even at that date, the number of entries could probably have been doubled.  Unlike most of the other American bibliographies, this work is international and multilingual in scope; unfortunately the two-volume set is marred by thousands of small errors and lacunae, especially in foreign-language items. The title notwithstanding, annotations are very sparse, and uncertain in their critical stance. Full subject indexes, which would have served to offset some of these shortcomings are lacking; instead each volume has its own author indexes. The shortcomings of this major work, undertaken largely by volunteer staff working under movement auspices, illustrate the problems that have, as often as not, been made inevitable by the social neglect and obloquy in which the subject has been enveloped. To his credit, W. Dorr Legg, the project director, realized that an altogether new work was needed, one that would remedy the all-too-evident faults of the existing work.   After several years of intense work, it was found that fundamental disagreements prevented the editors from concluding the task, which had reached the letter M. The copious materials for this unfinished project are now preserved in the ONE archives at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

A decade after the appearance of the ONE compendium, Wayne R. Dynes produced a selective but still comprehensive bibliographical work, Homosexuality: A Research Guide. See the electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/ResGde/main.htm. In 1990, with Dynes as general editor, there appeared the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, the first comprehensive work of its kind. Electronic version: http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/EOH/index.htm.

Some scholars treated particular eras. Thus Sir Kenneth Dover revived the German discussion of same-sex behavior in ancient Greece, while Michael Rocke produced original scholarship on Renaissance Florence. In a series of important publications, Stephen O. Murray addressed same-sex behavior in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. These are only a few of the highlights.

In 1974 Charles Silverstein founded a quarterly, The Journal of Homosexuality, which has served ever since as a clearing house for information and reviews, particularly in the social sciences. For most of its lifetime the Journal was guided with great flair and determination by Professor John De Cecco of San Francisco State University.

In 1967 Craig Rodwell opened the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in New York's Greenwich Village. Ranking as the first gay and lesbian bookshop anywhere, this store soon had many imitators in North America and in Europe. Today, with major changes in the marketing of books, many of these establishments have regrettably disappeared--including the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop itself.


As European intellectual and social life revived after the defeat of Nazism in 1945, homophile organizations took on new life. They were no longer centered in Germany, but flourished in several countries. In neutral Switzerland, Der Kreis (founded in 1933), which was both a magazine and an organization, had thrived throughout the war, continuing until 1968.

In France in January 1954, André Baudry founded the review and group Arcadie, following the model of Der Kreis. The group enjoyed the support of such figures as Jean Cocteau, Michel Foucault, and Roger Peyrefitte. The early years were difficult, and in 1955 Baudry was prosecuted and fined 400,000 francs for “offenses against morals.” In the 1970s the group and its monthly magazine came to be seen as old-fashioned, and they were disbanded in 1984.

The new mood of radicalism that ensued in France after the events of May 1968 saw the emergence of such figures as Guy Hocquenghem, Dominique Fernandez, and Michel Foucault. While Foucault was openly gay, it is generally conceded that he owes his influence to his broader, more “universal” concerns.

One undoubted masterpiece emerged from gay scholarship in France, the monograph of Claude Courouve: Dictionnaire de l'homosexualité masculine (Paris, 1985). In addition to their lexicographic interest, the numerous citations this work provides constitute much valuable material for the study of the history of homosexuality in France.

In 2003 the journalist Didier Eribon edited the Dictionnaire des cultures gays et lesbiennes (Paris, 2003), which may be consulted for many topics of French interest.

In the Netherlands several gay organizations emerged after the liberation. These groups were responsible, in the first instance, for the adoption of the word “homophile” (which had, however, been coined in Germany in 1925). In 1978 departments of homostudies were formed at the Universities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, world firsts. In recent years distinguished contributions to objective scholarship in this field have been made by such scholars as Gert Hekma, Theo van der Meer, and Rob Tielman.

In Germany important work has been contributed by Paul Derks, Erwin Haeberle, Manfred Herzer, Joachim S. Hohmann, and Rüdiger Lautmann, among others. Beginning in 1987 Herzer has edited the journal Capri. which prints well-documented articles on earlier German gay figures. As is appropriate, German gay scholars have applied themselves with particular determination to documenting the fate of homosexuals during the period of National Socialism. See the bibliographical compilation of Wayne R. Dynes: http://homolexis.blogspot.com/2010/08/nazi-persecution-of-homosexuals.html.

Italy has produced several noteworthy figures, including Massimo Consoli, Giovanni Dall’Orto, and Francesco Gnerre. Dall’Orto’s prodigious scholarship, essential for the study of Italian gay literature and history, may be found at his website http://www.giovannidallorto.com.


Despite this overall roster of accomplishment in the field of publication, gay studies largely failed to take root as an academic discipline in US universities. In some respects this failure reflected continuing prejudice, masquerading as a claim that gay scholarship was not a “serious” endeavor. Internally, there were disputes among gay academics themselves about the proper methodology and the appropriateness (or not) of linking gay scholarship with advocacy. In 1981 the AIDS crisis began, and much academic attention was committed to the cause of AIDS awareness. Finally, postmodernism and Queer Theory (see the following chapter) shifted the focus, not always to the benefit of the subject.


Crompton, Louis. Homosexuality and Civilization. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

D’Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1983.

Duberman, Martin Bauml, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr., eds. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: New American Library, 1989.

Dynes, Wayne R., et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. 2 vols. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1990.

Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

Greenberg, David F. The Construction of Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Jackson, Julian. Living in Arcadia: Homosexuality, Politics, and Morality in France from the Liberation to AIDS. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

Lautmann, Rüdiger. Homosexualität: Handbuch der Theorie- und Forschungsgeschichte. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 1993.

Legg, W. Dorr, David G. Cameron, and Walter L. Williams, eds. Homophile Studies in Theory and Practice. San Francisco: GLB Publishers, 1994.

Loughery, John. The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives and Gay Identities: A Twentieth-Century History. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998.

Murphy, Timothy F., ed. Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000.

Murray, Stephen O. American Gay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Zimmerman, Bonnie, ed. Encyclopedia of Lesbian Histories and Cultures. New York: Garland, 1999.


Homostudies Conclusion: Other Putative Paradigms

Building upon discoveries and advances registered over a century and a half, homostudies pursued along established lines remains vigorous. Some of this work has been noticed in these pages.

There are several other paradigm candidates: the following pages address three of them. One of these putative paradigms is of long standing, while the other two are relatively new. We turn first to the older paradigm: bisexuality.


Human bisexuality is the capacity to feel sexual attraction toward, and to consummate sexual performance with, members of the opposite and one's own sex. The concept must be distinguished from androgyny and hermaphroditism, with which, however, it is historically affiliated.

Modern thinking about bisexuality stems in part from medical investigations in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, which found that during the first few weeks after conception the urogenital system of the human embryo is undifferentiated as to sex. (Bisexuality in plants had been recognized since the beginning of the nineteenth century.) Determination of the anatomical gender of the organs of the originally neutral being is triggered by the intervention of mechanisms later identified as chromosomal. This embryological discovery suggested that human maleness and femaleness is in some sense secondary, and that the puzzling binarism of our natures could be restored, at least on the level of ontogeny, to a primal unity.

Almost inevitably, these modern findings called to mind ancient Greek and Near Eastern mythological thinking about primordial androgyny. From this fertile mix of ideas it could be concluded that human sexual attraction should also be undifferentiated as to gender, since our postnatal gender dimorphism is but a secondary process superseding, but not completely effacing, an original oneness. The result of such research and speculation was to offer two complementary models, one of primordial unity, the other of a comprehensive triad: neutral, male, and female. Both the unitary and the triadic themes were destined to influence the concept of sexual orientation.

Before this medical and mythological amalgam could be applied to the psychodynamic sphere, a conceptual apparatus had to be invented and diffused that assigned human sexual orientation to two distinct poles - heterosexual and homosexual - a polarity which is distinct from, yet analogous to the gender dimorphism of male and female. In classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, as well as in many non-Western cultures today, no such dichotomy was recognized. The medieval sodomite was viewed as a departure, sinful it is true, from universal human standards which form the abiding context. Thus, although the Middle Ages had to all intents and purposes its own notion of the homosexual (the sodomite), it lacked a concept of the heterosexual as such.

As we have seen, the polarity of heterosexual and homosexual attraction was formulated in Central Europe in the 1860s by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and Karoly Maria Kertbeny, who developed the homosexual concept. By the end of the century it had become widely familiar. In the work of such writers as Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Otto Weininger, Wilhelm Fliess, and Sigmund Freud, the heterosexual-homosexual contrast melded with the previously discussed medical concept of primordial gender neutrality. Hence the Freudian notion of the "polymorphous perverse," in which the individual's attraction is free-form and undifferentiated (though in mature individuals this state yields to full heterosexuality). From this family of ideas descends the contemporary popular notion that "we're all bisexual." Sometimes this view is attributed, falsely, to Alfred C. Kinsey.

In the 1940s growing dissatisfaction with such notions of bisexuality led to significant critiques. Sandor Rado's paper of 1940 signaled their abandonment by the psychoanalytic community. In 1948 Kinsey faulted the then-current concept of bisexuality on two grounds. First, in view of its historical origins, reliance on the term bisexuality fosters confusion between the categories of gender and orientation, which must be kept quite distinct. Second, Kinsey averred, the triad of heterosexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality is too rigid, and must be replaced by his own more supple 0-6 scale. While Kinsey effectively attacked the prevailing exclusivism, his numerical scale presented its own problems and failed to gain widespread popular recognition. Its legacy was to leave the term "bisexual" with a somewhat amorphous and controversial claim to all those who could not be classified as exclusively heterosexual or homosexual.

The countercultural and social-utopian currents of the 1960s and 70s stimulated attempts at revision and par­tial restoration of the older perspectives among many innovative (or would-be innovative) thinkers, who viewed the inherited "gen­der system" of fixed roles for men and women as an albatross which kept women inferior and hindered the full self-realiza­tion of both men and women. There was thus a trend to regard the anatomical dif­ferences of men and women as a minor matter. If this be so, it makes little sense to be overly concerned about the gender of the individual to whom one is attracted, and we are all free to be simply "humansexuals."

Also in this period the vocal as­sertion of homosexual rights, often cast in the minority mold, suggested to some that bisexuals too were a neglected and victim­ized minority, suffering from the invisibil­ity which had once characterized homo­sexuality, and who should join together to fight for recognition and rights (Klein, 1978). Adoption of this "bisexual activist" view would lead to full-fledged recognition of three orientations, as seen, for example in the 1986 New York City gay rights ordi­nance, which explicitly protects hetero­sexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals. Disregard of or contempt for the interests of bisexuals came to be termed "biphobia."

Contrasting with this triadic scheme is a unitary futurist Utopian model which posits bisexuality as the ultimate human norm, superseding both exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexu­ality which would be regarded as forms of sexual restrictiveness, and even bigotry.

In support of their contention, the advocates of bisexuality point to ear­lier civilizations and contemporary tribal societies where, they claim, bisexual re­sponse is the norm. This would be true also in advanced industrial societies, which, it is held, would be also bisexual were it not for their sophisticated appara­tus of sexual repression. Here one should interject the caveat that since the concepts of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality are themselves of recent West­ern origin, it may be unwise to impose them on cultures other than one's own. Still, with all due caution, one can observe that some societies, such as ancient Greece and some contemporary Melanesian tribes do exhibit a serial bi­sexuality, in which the maturing male does undergo homosexual experience as part of initiatory rites, assuming the hetero­sexual roles of husband and father after­wards. This seriality is far, however, from the ideal of indeterminacy propounded by some theorists, that is to say, the notion that an individual must be free at all times to chose objects of sexual attraction in total disregard of their gender.

In the 1970s (and to a lesser extent in the 1980s) a number of organizations appeared in support of "bisexual liberation," modeled on the gay liberation and the other sexual freedom movements. While these groups did not establish a consensus definition of bisexuality, they tended toward a broad conceptualization in which bisexuality was thought of as a basic ca­pacity to respond erotically and emotion­ally/romantically to persons of either gender, either simultaneously or serially; the response did not have to be equal but had to be sufficient for a bisexual to feel somewhat alienated from identification as either homosexual or heterosexual.

According to the lead­ers of this movement, bisexuals faced discriminated coming from homosexuals as well as from heterosexuals, and much of the discussion revolved around a critique of homosexu­als' attitudes toward bisexuality, and the exclusion of recognition of bisexuals in the gay movement, perceived as fostering an exclusively homosexual identity. Other topics were the implications of bisexuality for such institutions as marriage and the ghettoization which leaders decried in homosexual circles at the time. Bisexuals, it was held, should be allies in a common struggle with gays against discrimination, but should function as a bridge to the heterosexual world rather than being submerged in an exclusivist subculture.

Many bisexual spokespeople advocated bisexuality as superior (for vari­ous reasons) to either form of "exclusivism" (heterosexual or homosexual); they also held it to be much more threatening to the prevailing sexual norms, precisely because it potentially involved everyone rather than a small minority which could be ghettoized.

With the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, bisexuals were targeted as the most seri­ous source of infection for the heterosex­ual majority, and "bisexual chic" passed as quickly as it had arisen. As the AIDS crisis subsided, however, the implication that bisexuals were responsible came to seem unfair. Moreover, bisexual men and women were clearly here to stay.

Honesty requires one to acknowledge that many of the prominent individuals today regarded as homosexual icons--from Sappho and Alexander the Great to Virginia Wolff and Harry Hay--have displayed behavior patterns which might be more accurately characterized as "bisexual." This issue, though, raises the question of whether it is appropriate to analyze and categorize data from such a wide spectrum of eras and cultures according to a single set of measures.

Contemporary American society exhibits a number of behavior types which may be classified as bisexual. There are, for example, macho men, basically heterosexual, who become to some degree habituated to achieving occasional gratification - employing the insertor role only - with men who would define themselves as gay. Among women, the sense of sisterhood engendered by the women's movement, accompanied in some cases by a wariness toward men, has led to lesbian contacts involving women whose previous experience was essentially heterosexual.

The United States, together with other advanced industrial societies, reveals a number of versions of serial patterns of other- and same-sex behavior. In what is sometimes termed situational homosexuality, inmates of total institutions, typi­cally men's and women's prisons, form homosexual liaisons, only to resume their heterosexual commitment on release. Some young men follow a career of male prosti­tution for a time, and then, as their looks fade or other circumstances supervene, settle into a completely heterosexual lifestyle. Yet another type of serial experience appears in "late blooming" individuals, that is, men and women who have entered into heterosexual marriages or relationships, and then find, sometimes as late as their forties, that they are strongly at­tracted to members of their own sex. It should be noted that self-reports of per­sons' sexual orientation are not always fully reliable,- for understandable reasons, some men and women who are essentially homosexual will say that they are bisexual, comforted by the belief that this label is less stigmatizing.
This form of self-disguise is particularly common among young people who are still exploring their sexual identity and its implications.

It seems clear that few individuals in today's society have actually attained the posited ideal of "gender-blindness," choosing their partners solely on the basis of personal qualities, so that they will go with a man one day and a woman the next. It is hard to say how many come close to this ideal, with gender playing a relatively small role. If they are comparable with the Kinsey "3's" (those who "accept and equally enjoy both types of contacts, and have no strong preferences for one or the other"), they are a substantial group, Kinsey "3's" representing somewhere between 4 and 5 percent of all males for at least three years of their life.

Those persons who are bisexual under the definition cited at the beginning of this article, but who have a definite preference for one side or the other, may be compared to Kinsey's "2's" and "4's", described by him as "predominantly" one way but "rather definitely . . . more than incidentally" the other way. Added to­gether, these represent about 10.5 percent of the male population at age 25, divided between 7 percent predominantly heterosexual and 3.5 percent predominantly homosexual. Add the "3's" and we see why it is said that, using a broad definition, about 15 percent of the American male population is bisexual for a significant part of their lives.

As the types selectively reviewed above and the Kinsey figures suggest, most people fall more strongly on the one side than the other, and when all is said and done may be classified as predominantly heterosexual or homosexual with at least as much justification as bisexual. Moreover, there seems to be a kind of funnel effect, whereby as an individual grows older he or she tends to focus more and more exclusively on one sex or another. Thus the number of Kinsey "3's" declines from 4.7 percent at age 25 to 2 percent at age 45. This trend is particularly evident if one contrasts adolescent "sexual experimentation" with the more settled patterns of later life. The risk, perhaps, is in sliding easily from the description "predominantly homosexual" [or heterosexual) to just plain "homosexual" (or heterosexual), thereby picking up the connotations of exclusivity often associated with those terms.

Even today, there are some researchers who question the validity of the concept of bisexuality. A 2005 study by researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and J. Michael Bailey asserted that bisexuality is extremely rare in men. This conclusion reflects the results of controversial penile plethysmograph testing when viewing pornographic material involving only men and pornography involving only women. Critics have pointed out that the study assumes that a person is only truly bisexual if he or she exhibits virtually equal arousal responses to both opposite-sex and same-sex stimuli, ignoring the self-identification of people whose arousal patterns showed even a mild preference for one sex. Other critics say that the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness (erotic sensations, affection, admiration) that constitutes sexual attraction. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the study flawed and biphobic.

In 1995 Marjorie Garber, a professor of Shakespeare studies at Harvard University, made the case for bisexuality in her book Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for "repression, religion, repugnance, denial, laziness, shyness, lack of opportunity, premature specialization, a failure of imagination, or a life already full to the brim with erotic experiences, albeit with only one person, or only one gender." While Garber's book is wide-ranging and accessible, some readers have found it superficial.

In the study of historical and non-Western cultures, some scholars have found the concept of bisexuality more useful than that of homosexuality. One example of this approach is Eva Cantarella, Bisexuality in the Ancient World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), who has examined Greco-Roman variant behavior (if that is the right term) in the lens of bisexuality. In some contemporary societies, as in South Asia many men who might otherwise elect a gay lifestyle, choose to accept marriage with a woman in exchange for a certain amount of freedom as they “spread their wild oats.” Sometimes these persons are called “men who have sex with men” or MSM for short. There is a parallel category for women who have sex with women (WSM).


Yet the closing decades of the twentieth century saw the emergence of two competitors, proffering paradigms that purport to surpass the canons observed by the earlier schools of research.  These trends are Social Construction and Queer Theory.   The two found their main support among younger scholars and graduate students.  By the beginning of the first decade of the present century, it was clear that both had receded significantly, lacking the power to sustain themselves as productive paradigms.  Accordingly, these two latter-day trends will be treated concisely.


The Social Construction (SC) approach arose in the 1980s. Denying the existence of any "transhistorical" definition of same-sex behavior, the SC scholars hold that sexual behavior is, in all significant aspects, a product of cultural conditioning, rather than of biological and constitutional factors. Thus same-sex behavior would have an entirely different meaning, say, in ancient Egypt or Tang China from what it would have in nineteenth-century Europe. In the view of some proponents of this approach, the "modern homosexual" is sui generis, having come into existence in Europe and North America only about 1880; hence it is vain to conduct comparative research on earlier eras or non-Western societies.

The Social Constructionists contrast their own approach with that of the "essentialists" (a hostile label of SC origin), who ostensibly believe in an eternal and unchanging homosexuality. Yet most critics of social construction are not essentialists, and to label them as such amounts to a caricature that has proved tactically useful for polemical purposes but has advanced understanding very little. One should also bear in mind that the discussion is not current in the gay/lesbian community as a whole, but is confined to scholars.

What is valuable about the SC approach is that it alerts researchers to the dangers of anachronism. It makes no sense, for example, to refer to such ancient Greek figures as Socrates and Alexander the Great as gay without noting that their erotic life was conducted in a framework in which pederasty, the love of an adult man for an adolescent boy, was the rule, and not the androphilia - male adult-adult relationship - that is dominant today.

Granting this point, Social Construction errs too far on the side of difference in denying any commonality whatever among same-sex love in ancient Greece, in the Middle Ages, and in contemporary Western society. This denial of commonality and continuity would deprive scholars of the fruits of cross-cultural study of same-sex behavior. Another consequence of social construction orthodoxy is to exclude biological factors from any role in the shaping of sexual desire. Some extreme adherents claim that the body itself is a mere social construct - implying a rejection of material reality itself.

It has been suggested that the conflict between Social Construction and its opponents is another version of the old debate about nature versus nurture, between those who believe that human conduct is largely conditioned by biological forces and those who attribute the leading role to culture (the environmentalists). One's first response is to say that human behavior is the result of a confluence of the two forces, but this compromise is usually rejected by those in the environmentalist camp. In similar fashion, the social constructionists hold that culture is supreme, and are little prepared to concede biological constants. The social construction debate has also been compared to the medieval philosophical dispute between the realists and the nominalists, those who believed that the world contained real essences as against those who believed that we know only names for primal qualities. The parallel is inexact, however, since few social constructionists would be willing to adopt the nominalist views they are said to hold. Indeed, thoroughgoing nominalism would render the Social Constructionist claims meaningless, since there would be no stable social categories to contrast with the purportedly labile ones of sexual orientation.

The actual roots of Social Construction as a theory are twofold. First is the heritage of German historicism, which (emerging in the late eighteenth century), saw successive historical epochs as each having a distinct character, radically different from those that precede and follow. This trend, which posits a series of historical eras almost hermetically sealed from one another, accounts for the social constructionist belief that there is a "modern homosexual," a type that has existed only since ca. 1880. These antecedents show that the social construction approach is not as new as its proponents suggest.

The second source is the tendency of modern sociology and anthropology to attribute human behavior solely to cultural determinants. In some social constructionists this tendency is tinged with late Marxism - which may itself be regarded as a sociological doctrine. These two main sources were given focus by the writings of the French social thinker and historian Michel Foucault, who though not self-identified as a social constructionist seminally influenced such proponents of social construction as Kenneth Plummer and Jeffrey Weeks. These and other adherents picked up Foucault's ideas of historical discontinuity, of "ruptures" radically segmenting periods of historical development.

A major objection to the social constructionist position is that same-sex behavior existed in Western society during the hundreds of years in which its existence was formally denied by the dominant culture; the authorities imposed obligatory heterosexuality upon the entire population and subjected anyone known for "sodomitical" behavior to economic boycott and social ostracism, if not to criminal prosecution. A curious outcome of these centuries of oppression is that when the first writings on homosexuality reached the general public at the end of the nineteenth century, some individuals revealed to psychiatrists that, although they had responded solely to members of their own sex since adolescence, until then they imagined themselves unique in the whole world. They had "constructed" their own sexual consciousness without any social input - a feat that should be impossible according to social constructionist postulates.

Another fact that contradicts the social constructionists is the abundant evidence for gay subcultures in Europe and the United States for at least a hundred years before the modern, political phase of homosexuality began - a subculture whose participants, however, merely thought of themselves as members of an erotic freemasonry from whose forbidden pleasures the vulgar mass was excluded. (While the evidence becomes sparser as one goes back in time, in some sense these subcultures can be traced back to the twelfth century in the Middle Ages.)

The "modern homosexual" is a political concept; the phenomenon began when individuals oriented toward their own sex, in the wake of trials such as those of Oscar Wilde and Prince Philipp zu Eulenburg, came to regard themselves as part of an oppressed minority cherishing a grievance against late Victorian society and its norms of sexual morality, and demanding their own "place in the sun." This trend was for a long time characteristic of northern Europe (where generally homosexual conduct was criminalized) and was foreign to the dwellers of Mediterranean lands. Since the 1960s, the "gay" identity has had an undeniable component of political activism; it was the badge of the individual who proclaimed his sexual nature openly and campaigned for the liberation of himself and others like him from the unjust prohibitions and discriminations of "straight" society. One can readily grant that in ancient Greece and Rome no one was "gay" in this sense. Such a political stance arose only in dialectical opposition to the Judeo-Christian attitude toward homosexual behavior and those who engaged in it. Even today many of those who participate in homosexual activity far from the mass meetings and rallies of the "gay ghettoes" are heedless of this political aspect of homosexuality, which they perceive as irrelevant to their desires for erotic gratification.

As has been noted, Social Construction theory has made a contribution in warning against anachronism, the tendency to project back into the past one's own familiar experiences and life ways. Yet the idea that cultural climates shift, changing the expression of sexuality with them, is scarcely a new discovery. What is disappointing about social contraction is that it offers no explanation of the "grounding" of such change. What mechanisms - economic, political, intellectual - cause a society to move from one dominant cultural climate to another? Moreover, social construction has gone too far in seeking to discourage transhistorical and cross-cultural investigations of homosexual desire. Implied roadblocks of this kind must not stymie the investigator, for comparative studies across time and across social systems are a vital prerequisite to the emergence of a satisfactory concept of human homosexual behavior in all its fullness and complexity.

Some leading scholars who have been identified as social constructionists are Mary McIntosh, David Halperin, Gayle Rubin, Randolph Trumbach, and Jeffrey Weeks.

The most important limitation of the SC approach is that it has tended to narrow its purview to recent centuries of Euro-American society, in effect erasing what transpired beyond these boundaries.  This limited focus has in turn been tendentiously exploited by antihomosexual pundits and politicians in non-Western societies.  These individuals deny that the stigma of homosexuality ever besmirched their communities--at least until Western colonialism “forced” it on them.  This mistaken view is common in sub-Saharan Africa.  It also underlies the categorical statement of Iran’s President Ahmedinajad at Columbia University in 2007, to the effect that there are “no homosexuals in Iran.”


Queer Theory may be regarded as a branch of critical theory,   The immediate sources of critical theory lie in Continental Europe, as reflected in the works of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacan.  Some, however, emphasize older source strata stemming from Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and the Neo-Marxist thinkers of the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research (Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, and others).

In some respects Queer Theory parts company with these influences because it tends to focus on “discourse” (often as seen in literary texts) instead of behavior.  With a strong input from feminism and gay/lesbian studies, it foregrounds such issues as identity, self-presentation, and sexual orientation.  In its broadest sense, however, Queer Theory goes beyond sex, positing a world-view that emphasizes the “slipperiness” and indeterminacy of consciousness as we actually experience it.

In solidarity with the previous approach--Social Construction--Queer Theory challenges the idea that gender is part of the essential self, stressing the social origin of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies had (in this view) been unable to go beyond the traditional contrast of  "natural" and "unnatural" behavior with respect to sexuality,  For one thing, this contrast is a “binarism,” a kind of dichotomy that, following Jacques Derrida, Queer Theory distrusts and “problematizes.”  With some practitioners, Queer Theory expands  to encompass any kind of activity or identity that falls into normative and deviant categories.

Tentative as they are, many would take exception to these preliminary distinctions.  In fact, it is notoriously difficult to define Queer Theory. This difficulty may reflect the fact that it relatively new.  Yet some adepts say that it must always be so, as the essence of Queer Theory is instability, especially the way it compels us to recognize the role of uncertainty in evaluating issues of human significance.

The first use of the expression “queer theory” has been traced to the film critic Teresa de Lauretis, who proposed it at a working conference on theorizing lesbian and gay sexualities that was held at the University of California, Santa Cruz in February 1990. Barely three years later, Lauretis “jumped ship,” abandoning the term.  Other academics, however, such Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and Michael Warner, happily embraced it.


Some background on the word “queer” is needed.  Known from 1508. the adjective’s primary meaning is odd, eccentric, or unconventional.  During the twentieth century it was a common epithet hurled by straights against gay and lesbian people;  it was, however, adopted by some of these people themselves, especially in England.

This meaning, formerly falling into province of slang, is probably rooted in the use of "queer" for counterfeit (coin or banknote) in the mid-eighteenth century, with an antonym "straight"; hence an expression popular in the recent past, "queer as a three-dollar bill." As a verb, "to queer" means "to spoil, to foul up." At one time the adjective could be used unselfconsciously to mean "queasy" ("This muggy weather makes me feel ever so queer."). The word can also be used in a less pejorative sense with the meaning "fond of, keen on." e.g., "she's queer for exotic cuisine."

As used for homosexuals, the term queer has long connoted strangeness and "otherness," rooted in the sense that gay people were marginal to society's mainstream. It has also conveyed the sense of fear and aversion that many heterosexuals felt for emotions that they could not share and acts that they could not understand. The term served to express (and reinforce) a kind of heterosexual ethnocentrism that branded difference as per se alien and unacceptable. The ignorance in which the establishment media kept the general public reinforced all these anxieties.

Until the late 1980s, the word queer seemed to be in decline. Then it was spectacularly revived by a group of enthusiasts some of whom believed that it could be "reclaimed" as a positive term. In the view of these proponents, it had the advantage of brevity, eliminating the need for more cumbersome expressions, such as "gay and lesbian." It also served to include such groups as bisexuals and trans people.

Many older gay persons cringed in horror as the vogue of queer spread in gay circles (and even in some straight ones) during the eighties and nineties. Middle-aged and elderly people retained painful memories of how the q-word had been hurled against them in acts of public shaming.

The recuperation of queer has been sold as part of a larger campaign of detoxification of negative terms. Ostensibly, "black" is the model. Yet the term black never bore the negative charge of queer. In fact there are sharp limits to the validity of the detox principle. There have never been any attempts to sanitize such terms as "k*ke" and "c*nt" for such purposes.

In its heyday, the closing years of the twentieth century, no such problems attended queer—or so its enthusiasts claimed. As noted above it was touted as inclusive. It also served to bring into the fold transsexuals and transvestites, who did not necessarily regard themselves as homosexual. And other eccentrics of various kinds could find shelter under the Big Queer Tent. Needless to say, gun-toting survivalists and Holy Roller evangelists were not welcome—though they too, by the lights of mainstream American society, are also queer.

Why this insistence on a term that, contrary to assurances, has not shed its negativity? Some aver that the negativity is part of its charm, so to speak.  To outsiders, this embrace looks as if this is a matter of abjection, the embrace of disparagement. And that embrace looks very much like internalized homophobia. At all events, the term was mainly popular among academics and some movement types. Chapters of the organization Queer Nation, never very robust, seem all to have expired. The q-word never enjoyed much popularity among the gay and lesbian masses, for whom recourse to queer seemed, well, "queer."

The subtext of the promotion of queer was a kind of PC disapproval of assimilationism, the tendency of many younger gay men and lesbians to adopt coupled, suburban lifestyles that are outwardly little different from those of their heterosexual neighbors. Perhaps proponents of free choice should welcome this development. By the same token, though it should not involve a historical and cultural falsification that denies the camp exuberance and nonconformism that gay men and lesbians have evolved over the generations as coping strategies. In that sense some element of queerness will always remain. What is objectionable, though, is the pars-pro-toto strategy that identifies this strand of gay tradition with the whole.

In Queer Theory has the term in fact been detoxified?  Some would say no, advancing this continuing aura of stigma as a reason for questioning the value of Queer Theory.  However, some advocates of Queer Theory hold that no detoxification is needed.  The negativity connotes a transgressive refusal to accept society's norms.  And that is a good thing--or so these theoreticians claim. (For further discussion of the term queer, see the critiques gathered by John Lauritsen at http://paganpressbooks.com/jpl/QUEER.HTM.)



Garber, Marjorie. Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, New York: Routledge, 1995.

Haeberle, Erwin J. "Bisexuality: History and Dimensions of a Modern Scientific Problem," at http://www.sexarchive.info/GESUND/ARCHIV/SEXOR4.HTM.

Klein, Fred. The Bisexual Option. New York: Arbor House, 1978.

Klein, Fritz, and Timothy J. Wolf, eds., Bisexuality: Theory and Research, New York: Harrington Park Press, 1985 (with bibliography by C. Stear, pp. 235-48).

Rado, Sandor, "A Critical Examination of the Concept of Bisexuality," Psychoanalytic Medicine, 2 (1940), 459-67.

Rieger, Gerulf, Meredith L. Chivers, and J. Michael Bailey, "Sexual Arousal Patterns of Bisexual Men". Psychological Science: APS (2005), 16 (8): 579–84.


Boswell, John, "Revolutions, Universals and Sexual Categories," Salmagundi, 58-59 (1982-83), 89-113.

Halperin, David. How to Do the History of Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

----. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Stein. Edward. ed. Forms of Desire: Sexual Orientation and the Social Constructionist Controversy. New York: Routledge, 1992.


Ahmed, Sara. Queer Phenomenology.  Chapel Hill: Duke University Press, 2006.

Butler, Judith, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex." New York: Routledge, 1993.

——. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.

De Lauretis, Teresa. "Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities."  differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 3, no. 3 (1991): iii–xviii.

Edelman, Lee. Homographesis: Essays in Gay Literary and Cultural Theory. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Giffney, Noreen, and Michael O’Rourke.  The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory.  London: Ashgate, 2009.

Halberstam, Judith.  In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives.  New York: New York University Press, 2005.

Jagose, Annamarie. Queer Theory.  New York: NYU Press, 1996.

Nigianni, Chrysanthi, and  Merl Storr.   Deleuze and Queer Theory.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009,

Preciado, Beatriz.  Manifeste contre-sexuel.  Paris: Balland, 2002.

Probyn, Elspeth. Outside Belongings.  London: Routledge, 1996.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men, New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

----. Epistemology of the Closet, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Sullivan, Nikki.  A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory.  New York: NYU Press, 2003.

Turner, William B. A Genealogy of Queer Theory.  Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000.

Warner, Michael.  Fear Of A Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993. 

Wilchins, Riki.   Queer Theory, Gender Theory: An Instant Primer.  Los Angeles: Alyson, 2006.


Arts Bibliography


These listings are intended to complement those in my book Homosexuality: A Research Guide, New York: Garland, 1987 (See now the electronic version at http://www.sexarchive.info/BIB/ResGde/main.htm).


The following roster has an international and theoretical emphasis. Omitted are monographs on particular performers and directors, as well as dated popular books that simply catalogue films.

Alwood, Edward. Straight News: Gays, Lesbians, and the News Media. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Anger, Kenneth. Hollywood Babylon II. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977.

Benshoff, Harry M. Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997.

Benshoff, Harry M., and Sean Griffin. eds. Queer Cinema: The Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.

______, Queer Images: A History of Gay and Lesbian Film in America. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

Bertelli, Pino. Cinegay: l’omosessualità nella lanterna magica. Rome: Libreria Croce, 2002.

Bocchi, Pier Maria. Mondo Queer: cinema e militanza gay. Turin: Lindau, 2005.

Bryant, Wayne M. Bisexual Characters in Film: From Anaís to Zee. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1997.

Burger, John R. One-Handed Histories: The Eroto-Politics of Gay Male Video Pornography. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1995.

Clum, John. “He’s All Man”: Learning Masculinity, Gayness, and Love from American Movies. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Coyne Kelly, Kathleen, and Tison Pugh. Queer Movie Medievalisms. Farnham, Eng., and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009.

Daniel, Lisa, and Claire Jackson, eds. The Bent Lens: A World Guide to Gay and Lesbian Film. 2nd ed. Los Angeles: Alyson Books, 2003.

Darren, Alison. Lesbian Film Guide (Sexual Politics). New York: Continuum, 2000. [A-Z guide]

Davies, Steven Paul. Out at the Movies: A History of Gay Cinema. Harpenden: Kamera Books, 2008.

Day, James T., ed. Queer Sexualities in French and Francophone Literature and Film. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2007. [conference publication]

DeAngelis, Michael. Gay Fandom and Crossover Stardom: James Dean, Mel Gibson, and Keanu Reeves. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.

Delabre, Anne, and Didier Roth-Bettoni. Le cinėma français et l’homosexualité. Paris: Danger Public, 2009.

Dennis Jeffery P. Queering Teen Culture: All-American Boys and Same-sex Desire in Film and Television. New York Harrington Park Press, 2006.

Doty, Alexander. Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon. London: Routledge, 2000.

_____, Making Things Perfectly Queer: Interpreting Mass Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

_____, and Corey K. Creekmur, eds. Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Essays on Popular Culture. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1995.

Duralde, Alonso. 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. Los Angeles: Advocate Books, 2005.

Dyer, Richard. Now You See It: Studies on Lesbian and Gay Film. New York: Routledge, 1990.
_______. London: BFI Publishing, 1999.

Ehrenstein, David. Open Secret: Gay Hollywood 1928-2000. New York: Perennial, 2000.

Escoffier, Jeffrey. Bigger Than Life: The History of Gay Porn Cinema from Beefcake to Hardcore. Philadelphia: Running Press, 2009.

Garsi, Jean-François. Cinémas homosexuels. Paris: Papyrus, 1983.

Gever, Martha, John Greyson, and Pratihba Parmar, eds. Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Films and Video. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Grosssman, Andrew, ed. Queer Asian Cinema: Shadows in the Shade. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2000.

Hadleigh, Boze. Conversations with My Elders. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986.

Hall, Jeanne. Gay and Lesbian Film Production and Reception. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University School of Film, 1992.

Hanson, Ellis. Outtakes: Essays on Queer Theory and Film. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

Hays, Matthew, ed. The View from Here: Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers. Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007.

Heathcote, Owen, Alex Hughes, and James S Williams. Gay Signatures: Gay and Lesbian Theory, Fiction and Film in France, 1945-1995. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1998.

Hofler, Robert. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005.

Hofmann, Miriam. Weibliche Homosexualität im Spielfilm. Eine Analyse anhand ausgewählter Beispiele. Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag, 2009.

Holmund, Chris, and Cynthia Fuchs. Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

Howes, Keith. Broadcasting It: An Encyclopedia of Homosexuality on Film, Radio, and TV in the Uk 1923-1993. London: Cassell, 1993.

Keller, James R. Queer (Un)friendly film and television. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2002.

Kramer, Gary M. Independent Queer Cinema: Reviews and Interviews. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2006.

Kuzniar, Alice. The Queer German Cinema. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Lang, Robert. Masculine Interests: Homoerotics in Hollywood Films. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Lauretis, Teresa de. The Practice of Love: Lesbian Sexuality and Perverse Desire. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

Leraton, René-Paul. Gay Porn: Le Film porno gay: histoire, représentations et construction d'une sexualité. Béziers: H & O Editions, 2002.

Leung, Helen Hok-Sze. Undercurrents: Queer Culture and Postcolonial Hong Kong. Vancouver: UCB Press, 2008.

Mann, William J. Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, 1910-1969. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.

Melo, Adrián. Otras historias de amor: gays, lesbianas y travestis en el cine argentino. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Lea, 2008.

Mira, Alberto. Miradas insumisas: gays y lesbiana en el cine. Barcelona: Egales, 2008.

Murray, Raymond. Images in the Dark: An Encyclopedia of Gay and Lesbian Film and Video. Philadelphia: TLA Publications, 1994.

Patanè, Vincenzo. 100 classici del cinema gay: i film che cambiano la vita, 1931-1994. Venice: Cicero, 2009.

Peele, Thomas. Queer Popular Culture: Literature, Media, Film, and Television. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Porter, Darwin, and Danforth Prince. Fifty Years of Queer Cinema: 500 of the Best GLBTQ Films Ever Made. Blood Moon Productions, 2010.

Rees-Roberts, Nick. French Queer Cinema. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008.

Roen, Paul. High Camp: A Gay Guide to Camp and Cult Films. Vol. 1. San Francisco: Leyland Publications, 1994,

Roth-Bettoni, Didier, L’homosexualité au cinéma. Paris: Musardine, 2007.

Rowberry, John W. Gay Video: A Guide to Erotica. San Francisco: G.S. Press, 1986.

Russo, Vito. The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies. Rev. ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Saunders, Michael William. Imps of the Perverse: Gay Monsters in Film. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998.

Schinardi, Roberto. Cinema gay, l’ennesimo genere. Fiesole, Italy: Cadmo, 2002.

Schock, Axel. Out im Kino!: das lesbisch-schwule Filmlexicon. Berlin: Querverlag, 2003.

Smith, Paul Julian. Laws of Desire: Questions of Homosexuality in Spanish Writing and Film, 1960-1990. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

Stacey, Jackie, and Sarah Street, eds. Queer Screen: A Screen Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.

Suárez, Juan A. Bike Boys, Drag Queens, and Superstars: Avant-Garde, Mass Culture, and Gay Identities in the 1960s Underground Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

Summers, Claude J., ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of Film and Television. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2005. [articles selected from http://www.glbtq.com]

Treiblmayr, Christopher. Bewegte Männer: Männlichkeit und männliche Homosexualität im deutschen Kino der 1990er Jahre. Cologne: Boehlau, 2011.

Tyler, Parker. Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies. New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1972.

Waldron, Darren. Queering Contemporary French Popular Cinema: Images and their Reception. New York: Peter Lang, 2009.

Wallace, David. A City Comes Out: How Celebrities Made Palm Springs a Gay and Lesbian Paradise. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade, 2008.

Waugh, Thomas. The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writings on Queer Cinema. Durham: Duke University Press, 2000.

______.The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006.

Weiss, Andrea. Violets and Vampires: Lesbians in Film. London: Penguin, 1993.

White, Patricia. Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.


In addition to the following listings, note also” GLSG Newsletter, the Gay & Lesbian Study Group of the American Musicological Society (1991- ).

André, Naomi. Voicing Gender: Castrati, Travesti, and the Second Woman in Early-Nineteenth-Century Italian Opera. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2006.

Andriote, John-Manuel. Hot Stuff: A Brief History of Disco. New York: Harper-Collins, 2001.

Blackmer, Corinne E., and Patricia Juliana Smith, eds. En Travesti: Women, Gender Subversion, Opera. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Brett, Philip, Elizabeth Wood, and Gary C. Thomas, eds. Queering the Pitch: The New Gay and Lesbian Musicology. New York and London: Routledge, 1994.

Freitas, Roger. Portrait of a Castrato: Politics, Patronage, and Music in the Life of Atto Melani. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Fuller, Sophie, and Lloyd Whitesell, eds. Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Gill, John. Queer Noises: Male and Female Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Music. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

Hadley, Boze. The Vinyl Closet: Gays in the Music World. San Diego: Los Hombres Press, 1991.

________. Sing Out: Gays and Lesbians in the Music World. New York: Barricade Books, 1997.

Hubbs, Nadine. The Queer Composition of America’s Sound: Gay Modernists, American Music, and National Identity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Koestenbaum, Wayne. The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.

Kopelson, Kevin. Beethoven's Kiss: Pianism, Perversion, and the Mastery of Desire. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Peraino, Judiith Ann. Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Raber, Ralf J. Wir sind wie wir sind: Ein Jahrhundert homosexuelle Liebe auf Schallplatte und CD. Hamburg: Männerschwarm, 2010.

Smith, Richard. Seduced and Abandoned: Essays on Gay Men and Popular Music. London: Cassel, 1995.

Solie, Ruth, ed. Musicology and Difference: Gender and Sexuality in Music Scholarship. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Studer, Wayne. Rock on the Wild Side: Gay Male Images in Popular Music of the Rock Era. San Francisco: Leyland Publications, 1994.

Summers, Claude J., ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of Music, Dance & Musical Theater. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004. [a selection of entries from http://www.glbtq.com]

Whitely, Sheila, and Jennifer Rycenga, Queering the Popular Pitch. London: Routledge, 2006.


This roster focuses on gay and lesbian art in the Euro-American tradition since the Renaissance, taking the view that Greco-Roman, Islamic, and Asian art are best examined in their own contexts. Also, monographs on individual artists are excluded from the listing.

From the profusion of popular male-nude volumes intended to reach a gay audience, only a small selection is offered here.

Aldrich, Robert, ed. Gay Life and Culture: A World History. London: Thames and Hudson; and New York: Universe, 2006. [contains numerous illustrations selected by Wendy Gay]

Atkins, Robert, and Thomas W. Sokolowski. From Media to Metaphor: Art about AIDS. New York: Independent Curators, 1991.

Betsky, Aaron. Queer Space: Architecture and Same Sex Desire. New York: William Morrow, 1997.

Blake, Nayland, Lawrence Rinder, and Amy Scholder, eds. In a Different Light: Visual Culture, Sexual Identity, Queer Practice. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995.

Borhan, Pierre. Men for Men: Homoeroticism and Male Homosexuality in the History of Photography, 1840-2006. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007.

Bright, Deborah, ed. The Passionate Camera: Photography and the Bodies of Desire. London: Routledge, 1998.

Cameron, Daniel, ed. Extended Sensibilities: Homosexual Presence in Contemporary Art. New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1982.

Cooper, Emmanuel. Fully Exposed: The Male Nude in Photography. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.

______. The Sexual Perspective: Homosexuality and Art in the Last 100 Years in the West. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

Cotter, Holland. "Art after Stonewall: 12 Artists Interviewed." Art in America 82.6 (June 1994), pp. 56-65.

Darriulat, Jacques. Sébastien: Le Renaissant: Sur le martyre de saint Sébastien dans le deuxième moitié du Quattrocento. Paris: Lagune, 1998.

Davis, Whitney. Queer Beauty: Sexuality and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Freud and Beyond. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

Davis, Whitney, editor. Gay and Lesbian Studies in Art History. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1994.

Deitcher, David. Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together, 1840-1919. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2001.

Dubin, Steven C. Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions. London and New York: Routledge, 1992.

Ellenzweig, Allen. The Homoerotic Photograph: Male Images from Durieu / Delacroix to Mapplethorpe. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Falcon, Felix Lance and Thomas Waugh, Gay Art: A Historic Collection. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2006.

Fernandez, Dominique. A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality. Munich: Prestel, 2002.

Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the College Art Association. Bibliography of Gay and Lesbian Art. New York: Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the College Art Association, 1994. [the definitive bibliography up to the date of publication]

Giard, Robert. Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay And Lesbian Writers. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998.

Gott, Peter, ed. Don't Leave Me This Way: Art in the Age of AIDS. London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994.

Hammond, Harmony. Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History. New York: Rizzoli, 2000.

Horne, Peter, and Reina Lewis, eds. Outlooks: Lesbian and Gay Sensibilities and Visual Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.

Katz, Jonathan D., and David C. Ward. Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2010. [catalogue of exhibition at National Portrait Gallery]

Leddick David. The Nude Male: 21st Century Visions. New York: Universe, 2008.

Leszkowicz, Pawel. Art Pride: Gay Art from Poland. Warsaw: Abiekt, 2010.

Lucie-Smith, Edward. Race, Sex, and Gender: In Contemporary Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994.

_____. Ars Erotica: An Arousing History of Erotic Art. New York: Rizzoli, 1997.

Marongiu, Marcella. Il mito di Ganimede prima e dopo Michelangelo. Florence: Mandragora, 2002. [exhibition catalogue, Casa Buonarroti]

Meyer, Richard. Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Miller, James, ed. Fluid Exchanges: Artists and Critics in the AIDS Crisis. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.

Reed, Christopher. Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Saslow, James M. Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in Art and Society. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986.

__________. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1999.

Solomon-Godeau, Abigail. Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation. London: Thames and Hudson, 1999.

Sternweiler, Andreas. Die Lust der Götter: Homosexualität in der italienischen Kunst von Donatello zu Caravaggio. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1993.

Stryker, Susan. Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001.

Summers, Claude J., ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts. San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004. [reprints entries from http://www.glbtq.com]

Triptow, Robert, ed. Gay Comics. New York: Plume, 1989.

Warren, Roz, ed. Dyke Strippers: Lesbian Cartoonists A-Z. Pittsburgh: Cleis Press, 1995.

Waugh, Thomas. Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

_________. Lust Unearthed: Vintage Gay Graphics from the Patrick DuBek Collection. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004

_______. Out/Lines: Gay Underground Erotic Graphics From Before Stonewall. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002.

Weinberg, Jonathan. Male Desire: The Homoerotic in American Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005.

_______. Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Young, Ian. Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps. Toronto: Lester, Mason & Begg, 2007.

Zimet, Jaye, Strange Sisters: The Art of Lesbian Pulp Fiction 1949-1969. London: Studio, 1999.


Bibliography of Gay Literary Studies

Today there is a large volume of GLBT literary studies in the English language. The listings of this kind offered below are selective; for more items, there are various sources (see, for example, Rictor Norton’s Bibliography of Gay and Lesbian History: http://rictornorton.co.uk/bibliog/index.htm.).

What often gets lost in the shuffle, though, is literary studies addressing works in languages other than English. The following compilation is offered as a help in this regard. The emphasis is on general studies with strong literary content. Only a few entries are offered on individual writers, such as Gide and Pasolini, because the items cited have a broader resonance.

Looking over these rosters has suggested some preliminary reflections on the accomplishment of studies of this kind.

It is axiomatic that a first approach to the task must be to gather as many relevant specimens as possible (cf. the pioneering bibliographies of Barbara Grier and Ian Young, cited under “English and American” below). These efforts yield a number of groupings ("canons"), such as those based on national traditions, specific periods, and influential writers and circles.

As we go back in time, the criteria of relevance become murkier. Some authors, wary of censorship, preferred to “tell it slant,” in the evocative phrase of Emily Dickinson. Others have included only one gay or lesbian character, sometimes peripheral. There are also works that seem to evidence a pervasive gay or lesbian sensitivity, without ever risking a positive assertion. Until recently, subterfuge, allusion, and evasion have been prominent strategies for some authors.

There are also recurrent themes, including the relationship between friendship and erotic enactment, coming out, difficulties of self-acceptance, gender conformity (or not), issues of class and race, and the Arcadian motif identified by Byrne Fone.

Thanks for invaluable assistance to Paul Knobel, creator of the definitive, multilingual Encyclopedia of Male Homosexual Poetry, available on CD-ROM from the author at P.O. Box 762, Edgecliff, NSW, Australia.


Bartels, Thijs, and Jos Verstegen, eds. Homo-encyclopedie van Nederland. Amsterdam: Anthos, 2005.

Hafkamp, Hans. "Homoseksualiteit in de Nederlandse Literatur." Spiegel Historiael 17:11 (1982), pp. 584-93.

Hekma, Gert. "The Mystical Body: Frans Kellendonk and the Dutch Literary Response to AIDS." In AIDS: The Literary Response. Emmanuel Nelson, ed. New York: Twayne, 1992, pp. 88-94.

Lieshout, Maurice van. "The Context of Gay Writing and Reading." Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? International Conference on Gay and Lesbian Studies. Amsterdam and London: An Dekker and GMP, 1989, pp. 113-26.

Veeger, Petra. "Tussen Blaman en Burnier. Het beeld van de lesbienne bij Nederlandse schrijfsters, 1940-1970." in Goed Verkeerd: Ein geschiedenis van homoseksuele mannen en lesbische vrouwen in Nederland. Gert Hekma et al., eds. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1989, pp. 115-28.

Warren, Hans. Herenliefde: de beste homo-erotische verhalen uit de Nederlandse literatuur. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 1995.


Adams, Stephen. The Homosexual Hero in Contemporary Fiction. New York: Harper & Row, 1980.

Austen, Roger. Playing the Game: The Homosexual Novel in America. Indianapolis: Bobbs, Merrill, 1977.

Bergman, David. Gaiety Transfigured: Gay Self-Representation in American Literature. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991.

Bosman, Ellen, John P. Bradford, and Robert B. Marks Ridinger. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Literature: a Genre Guide. Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. [lists some 1000 items, mostly of popular literature]

Bristow, Joseph. Effeminate England: Homoerotic Writing after 1885. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.

Bronski, Michael. Gay Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps. New York: St. Martin Griffin, 2003.

Büssing, Sabine. Of Captive Queens and Holy Panthers: Prison Fiction and Male Homoerotic Experience. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1990.

Cardamone, Tom, ed. The Lost Library. New York: Haiduk Press, 2010.

Castle, Terry. The Apparitional Lesbian: Female Homosexuality and Modern Culture. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Clum, John M. Acting Gay: Male Homosexuality in Modern Drama. Revised ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994

Croft-Cooke, Rupert. Feasting with Panthers: A New Consideration of Some Late Victorian Writers. London: W. H. Allen, 1967.

Crompton, Louis. Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th-Century England. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Dellamora, Richard. Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Dollimore, Jonathan. Sexual Dissidence. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.

Drake, Robert. The Gay Canon: Great Books Every Gay Man Should Read. New York: Anchor Books, 1998.

Dynes, Wayne R., and Stephen Donaldson, eds. Homosexual Themes in Literary Studies. New York: Garland, 1992.

Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth- Century America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

_______. Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Morrow, 1981.

Frantzen, Allen J. Before the Closet: Same-Sex Love from Beowulf to Angels in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Frontain, Raymond-Jean, ed. Reclaiming the Sacred: The Bible in Gay and Lesbian Literature. Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press, 2002.

Furtado, Ken, and Nancy Hellner, eds. Gay and Lesbian American Plays: An Annotated Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1993.

Garber, Eric, and Lyn Paleo. Uranian Worlds: A Guide to Alternative Sexuality in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. 2nd ed. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990.

Gifford, James. Dayneford's Library: American Homosexual Writing, 1900-1913. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1995.

Goldberg, Jonathan. Sodometries: Renaissance Texts, Modern Sexualities. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Green, Martin. Children of the Sun: A Narrative of "Decadence" in England after 1918. New York: Basic Books, 1976.

Grier, Barbara, ed. The Lesbian in Literature. 3d ed. Tallahassee, Fla.: Naiad Press, 1981. [important bibliography]

Gunn, Drewey Wayne. The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Biblography. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2005.

_______________ ed. The Golden Age of Gay Fiction. Albion, NY: MLR Press, 2009. [covers the pulp efflorescence, ca. 1966-1980]

Hilliard, David. "Unenglish and Unmanly: Anglo-Catholicism and Homosexuality." Victorian Studies 25 (1982): 181-210.

Hurley, Michael, ed. A Guide to Gay and Lesbian Writing in Australia. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1996.

Lane, Christopher. The Ruling Passion: British Colonial Allegory and the Paradox of Homosexual Desire. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

Levin, James. The Gay Novel in America. New York: Garland, 1991.

Lilly, Mark. Gay Men's Literature in the Twentieth Century. New York: New York University Press, 1993.

Malinowski, Sharon, ed. Gay and Lesbian Literature. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994 [there is a second volume: Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, eds., 1998]

Markowitz, Judith A. The Gay Detective Novel: Lesbian an Gay Main Characters and Themes in Mystery Fiction. Jefferson, N.C.: MacFarland, 2004.

Martin, Robert K. The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979.

McFarlane, Cameron. The Sodomite in Fiction and Satire, 1660-1750. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Meese, Elizabeth, (Sem)erotics: theorizing lesbian writing. New York: New York University Press, 1992.

Meyers, Jeffrey. Homosexuality and Literature, 1890-1930. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1977.

Munt, Sally, ed. New Lesbian Criticism: Literary and Cultural Readings. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Murphy, Timothy F., and Suzanne Poirier, eds. Writing AIDS: Gay Literature, Language, and Analysis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

Nelson, Emmanuel S., ed. AIDS: The Literary Response. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.

_____, ed. Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1992.

_____. ed. Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. 2 vols. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2009. [addressed to young-adult readers]

Norman, Tom. American Gay Erotic Paperbacks: A Bibliography. Burbank, Calif.: Author [?], 1994. [list of 4,471 pulps published between 1954 and 1992]

Pastore, Judith Laurence, ed. Confronting AIDS through Literature: The Responsibilities of Representation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Reade, Brian, ed. Sexual Heretics: Male Homosexuality in English Literature from 1850 to 1900. New York: Coward-McCann, 1971.

Robb, Graham. Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

Román, David. Acts of Intervention: Performance, Gay Culture, and AIDS. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Rule, Jane. Lesbian Images. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975.

Sarotte, Georges-Michel. Like a Brother, Like a Lover: Male Homosexuality in the American Novel and Theatre from Herman Melville to James Baldwin. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1978.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985. [an influential, but controversial postmodernist analysis]

Sinfield, Alan. Cultural Politics: Queer Reading. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994.

_______. Out on Stage: Lesbian and Gay Male Theatre in the Twentieth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.

Slide, Anthony. Gay and Lesbian Characters and Themes in Mystery Novels: A Critical Guide to Over 500 Works in English. Jefferson, N.C. McFarland, 1993.

_______. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2003.

Smith, Bruce. Homosexual Desire in Shakespeare's England. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Smith, Timothy d’Arch. Love in Earnest: Some Notes on the Lives and Writings of English “Uranian” Poets from 1889 to 1930. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970.

Stevens, Hugh,ed. The Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Stryker, Susan. Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2001.

Summers, Claude J. Gay Fictions: Wilde to Stonewall. New York: Continuum, 1990.

_______. ed. The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage. New York: Henry Holt, 1995. [a comprehensive, encyclopedic work]

West, Christopher L. Limp Wrists and Laser Guns: Male Homosexuality and Science Fiction. University of Sussex, 2000.

Whitaker, Rick. The First Time I Met Frank O'Hara: Reading Gay American Writers. New York: Da Capo Press, 2003.

Woodhouse, Reed. Unlimited Embrace: A Canon of Gay Fiction 1943-1995. Northampton: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.

Woods, Gregory. Articulate Flesh: Male Homoeroticism and Modern Poetry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987.

________. A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.

Yingling, Thomas E. Hart Crane and the Homosexual Text. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Young, Ian. The Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography. 2d ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1982 [important bibliography]

__________. Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps. Toronto: Lester, Mason & Begg, 2007.

Zimmerman, Bonnie. The Safe Sea of Women: Lesbian Fiction, 1969-1989. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.


Albert, Nicole G. Renée Vivien à rebours: Etudes pour un centenaire. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2009.

Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986.

Berthier, Philippe. "Balzac du côté de Sodome." In Homosexual Themes in Literary Studies. Wayne R. Dynes and Stephen Donaldson, eds. New York: Garland, 1992, pp. 1-31.

Burgwinkle, William E. Sodomy, Masculinity and Law in Medieval Literature: France and England, 1050-1230. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Cardon, Patrick. Discours littéraires et scientifiques fin-de-siècle: autour de Marc-André Raffalovich. Paris: Orizon, 2008.

Copley, Anthony. Sexual Moralities in France, 1780-1980: New Ideas on the Family, Divorce and Homosexuality. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Courouve, Claude. Dictionnaire de l'homosexualité masculine. Paris: Payot, 1985. [offers many citations from older French literature]

Daniel, Marc. Hommes du Grand Siècle: Etudes sur l'homosexualité sous les règnes de Louis XIII et de Louis XIV. Paris: Arcadie, 1957.

DeJean, Joan. Fictions of Sappho, 1546-1937. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Eribon, Didier, ed. Dictionnaire des cultures gays et lesbiennes. Paris: Larousse, 2003.

Godard, Didier. Histoire des sodomites: l’homosexualité masculine de l’avènement du christianisme à la Révolution Française. 4 vols. Béziers: H & O Editions, 2005-07.

Groupe de Recherches et d'Études sur l'Homosocialité et les Homosexualités (GREH). Actes du colloque international "Homosexualité et lesbianisme: mythes, mémoires, historiographies." 3 vols. Lille: Cahiers Gai-Kitsch-Camp, 1989-1991.

Huas, Jeanine. L'homosexualité au temps de Proust. Dinard: Editions Danclau, 1992.

Ladenson, Elizabeth. Proust's Lesbianism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.

Lagabrielle, Renaud. Représentation des homosexualités dans le roman français pour la jeunesse. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007.

Larivière, Michel, ed. Les Amours masculines. Paris: Lieu commun, 1984.

Lejeune, Philippe. "Autobiographie et homosexualité en France au l9ème siècle." Romantisme 17 (1987), pp. 79-94.

Lever, Maurice. Sade: A Biography. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993.

Mendès-Leite, Rommel, and Pierre-Olivier de Busscher, eds. Studies from the French Cultures. New York: Haworth Press, 1993.

Merrick, Jeffrey, and Michael Sibalis, eds. Homosexuality in French History and Culture. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2001.

Nemer, Monique. Corydon citoyen: essai sur André Gide et l’homosexualité. Paris: Gallimard, 2006.

Nye, Robert. Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Pivert, Benoit. ed. Homosexualité et Littérature (Cahiers de la RALM). Paris: Le chasseur abstrait, 2009.

Poirier, Guy. L'homosexualité dans l'imaginaire de la Renaissance. Paris: Champion, 2000.

Pollard, Patrick. André Gide, Homosexual Moralist. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

Pomeau, René. "Voltaire du côté de Sodome." Revue d'Histoire Littéraire de la France 86 (1986), pp. 235-47.

Povert, Lionel. Dictionnaire gay. Paris: Jacques Grancher, 1994.

Robinson, Christopher. Scandal in the Ink: Male and Female Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century French Literature. London: Cassell, 1995.

Schehr, Lawrence. Alcibiades at the Door: Homosexual Hermeneutics in French Writing. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.

______. French Gay Modernism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Stambolian, George, and Elaine Marks, eds. Homosexualities and French Literature: Cultural Contexts/Critical Texts. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1979.

Stone, Donald. "The Sexual Outlaw in France, 1605." Journal of the History of Sexuality 2 (1992), pp. 597-608.

Tamagne, Florence. A History of Homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, 1919-1939. New York: Algora Publishing, 2004.

Van Casselaer, Catherine. Lot's Wife: Lesbian Paris, 1890-1914. Liverpool: Janus Press, 1986.

Waelti-Walters, Jennifer. Damned Women: Lesbians in French Novels, 1796-1996. Montreal: McGill/Queens University Press, 2000.


Brall, Helmut. "Geschlechtlichkeit, Homosexualität, Freundesliebe: Über mannmännliche Liebe in mittelalterlicher Literatur." Forum Homosexualität und Literatur 13 (1991), pp. 5-27.

Brunner, Andreas, and Hannes Sulzenbacher. Schwules Wien. Vienna: Promedia, 1998.

Busch, Alexandra, Dirck Linck, and Heide Kuhlmann. Frauenliebe, Männerliebe: eine lesbisch-schwule Literaturgeschichte in Porträts. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 1997.

Campe, Joachim, ed. Andere Lieben: Homosexualität in der deutschen Literatur: Ein Lesebuch. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1988.

Derks, Paul. Die Schande der heiligen Päderastie: Homosexualität und Öffentlichkeit in der deutschen Literatur 1750-1850. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1990.

Dynes, Wayne R. "Light in Hellas: How German Classical Philology Engendered Gay Scholarship." Journal of Homosexuality 49, no. 3/4 (2005) pp. 341-56

Faderman, Lillian, and Brigitte Eriksson, ed. Lesbians in Germany: 1890's-1920's. 2d ed. [Original title: Lesbianism-Feminism in Turn-of-the-Century Germany (1980)] Tallahassee, Fla.: Naiad Press, 1990.

Gustafson, Susan E. Men Desiring Men: The Poetry of Same-Sex Identity and Desire in German classicism. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2002.

Hewitt, Andrew. Political Inversions: homosexuality, Fascism, & the Modernist Imaginary. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Hochreiter, Susanne. Queere Lektüren: Queer Theory und deutschsprachige Literatur/Wissenschaft. Stuttgart: UTS, 2011.

Homann, Joachim S., ed. Der heimliche Sexus: Homosexuelle Belletristik in Deutschland von 1900 bis heute. Frankfurt am Main: Foerster, 1979.

Jones, James W. "We of the Third Sex”: Literary Representations of Homosexuality in Wilhelmine Germany. New York: Peter Lang, 1990.

Keilson-Lauritz, Marita. Die Geschichte der eigenen Geschichte: Literatur und Literaturkritik in den Anfängen der Schwulenbewegung am Beispiel des Jahrbuchs für sexuelle Zwischenstufen und der Zeitschrift Der Eigene. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1997.

Kuzniar, Alice A. Outing Goethe and His Age. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.

Lorey, Christoph, and John Plews, eds. Queering the Canon: Defying Sights in German Literature and Culture. Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1998.

Marti, Madeleine. Hinterlegte Botschaften: die Darstellung lesbischer Frauen in der deutschsprachigen Literatur seit 1945. 2d ed. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 1992.

Mayer, Hans. Outsiders: A Study in Life and Letters. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1984.

Müller, Klaus. Aber in meinem Herzen sprach eine Stimme so laut: homosexuelle Autobiographien und medizinische Pathographien im neuzehnten Jahrhundert. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1991.

Ott, Volker. Homotropie und die Figur des Homotropen in der Literatur des zwantzigsten Jahrhunderts. Frankfurt: Peter D. Lang, 1979.

Popp, Wolfgang. Männerliebe: Homosexualität und Literatur. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 1992.

Prickett, David James."The Soldier Figure in Discourses on Masculinity in Wilhelmine and Weimar Germany." Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, 44, no. 1 (2008), 68-86.

Puff, Helmut. Sodomy in Renaissance Germany and Switzerland 1400-1600. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Puhlfürst, Sabine. Mehr als blosse Schwärmerei: die Darstellung von Liebesbeziehungen zwischen Mädchen/jüngen Frauen im Spiegel der deutschsprachigen Frauenliteratur des 20. Jahrhunderts. Essen: Verlag die Blaue Eule, 2002.

Schmitt, Gary. The Nazi Abduction of Ganymede: Representations of Male Homosexuality in Postwar German Literature. Oxford and New York: P. Lang, 2003.

Tamagne, Florence. A History of Homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, 1919-1939. New York: Algora Publishing, 2004.

Tobin, Robert D. Warm Brothers: Queer Theory and the Age of Goethe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

Vollhaber, Tomas. Das Nichts. Die Angst. Die Erfahrung: Untersuchung zur zeitgenössischen schwulen Literatur. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1987.


Benadusi, Lorenzo. Il nemico dell'uomo nuovo: L'omosessualità nell'esperimento totalitario fascista. Milano: Feltrinelli, 2005.

Casi, Stefano, ed. Cupo d’amore: l’omosessualità nell’opera di Pasolini. Bologna: Il Cassero, 1987.

Cestaro, Gary. Queer Italia: Same-Sex Desire in Italian Literature and Film. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.

Dall’Orto, Giovanni. Leggere omosessuale: bibliografia. Torino: Gruppo Abel, 1984.

Duncan, Derek. Reading and Writing Italian Homosexuality: A Case of Possible Difference. London: Ashgate, 2005.

Gargano, Claudio. Ernesto e gli altri: l’omosessualità nella narrativa italiana del Novecento. Rome: Editori Riuniti, 2002.

Giartosio, Tommaso. Perché non possiamo non dirci: letterature, omosessualità, mondo. Milan: Feltrinelli, 2004.

Gnerre, Francesco. L’eroe negato: Omosessualità e letteratura nel Novecento italiano. Milan: Baldini & Castoldi, 2000. [Standard work on the twentieth century; much enlarged and recast version of his 1981 monograph with the same title]

Pecora, Elio, ed. Sandro Penna poeta a Roma: una strana gioia di vivere. Milan: Electa, 1997.

LATIN AMERICAN (including Chicano/a)

Acevedo, Zelmar. Homosexualidad: hacia la destrucción de los mitos. Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Ser, 1985.

Almaguer, Tomás. "Chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual Identity and Behavior." différences 3:2 (Summer 1991), pp. 75-100.

Bazán, Osvaldo. Historia de la homosexualidad en la Argentina: De la conquista de Amėrica al siglo XXI. Buenos Aires, 2006.

Bejel, Emilio. Gay Cuban Nation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Bruce-Novoa, Juan. "Homosexuality and the Chicano Novel." Confluencia; revista hispánica de cultura y literatura 2:1 (1986), pp. 69-87. Also in European Perspectives on Hispanic Literature of the United States. Genevieve Fabre, ed. Houston: Arte Público Press, 1988, pp. 98-106.

Chávez-Silverman, Susana, and Librada Hernández, eds. Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American and Spanish Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.

Foster, David William. Gay and Lesbian Themes in Latin American Literature. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.

Foster, Stephen Wayne. “Latin American Studies.” Cabirion and Gay Books Bulletin, no. 11, 1984, pp. 2-7, 29. [discusses several Central American and Chilean novelists]

Fry, Peter. "Da hierarquia á igualdade: a construção histórica da homossexualidade." In: Para inglês ver; identidade e política na cultura brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 1982, pp. 87-115.

_____. "Léonie, Pompinha, Amaro e Aleixo, prostituição, homossexualidade e raça em dois romances naturalistas." Caminhos cruzados; linguagem, antropologia e ciências naturais. São Paulo, 1982, pp. 33-51.

Horswell, Michael J. Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.

Howes, Robert. "The Literature of Outsiders: the Literature of the Gay Community in Latin America." Latin American Masses and Minorities: Their Images and Realities. Dan C. Hazen, ed. SALALM no. 30. Madison: SALALM Secretariat, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin, 1985. 1:288--304; 580-591.

Jáuregui, Carlos Luis. La homosexualidad en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Tarso, 1978.

Jockl, Alejandro. Ahora, Los gay. Buenos Aires: Ediciones de la Pluma, 1984.

Leyland, Winston, ed. My Deep Dark Pain is Love; a Collection of Latin American Gay Fiction. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1983.

_____. Now the Volcano; an Anthology of Latin American Gay Literature. Trans. by Erskine Lane, Franklin D. Blanton, and Simon Karlinsky. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1979.

Lumsden, Ian. Homosexualidad: sociedad y estado en México. Mexico City: Solediciones; Toronto: Canadian Gay Archives, 1991.

Moraga, Cherríe. Loving in the War Years: lo que nunca pasó por sus labios. Boston: South End Press, 1983.

Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds. This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1981.

Mott, Luiz. Escravidão, homossexualidade e demonologia. São Paulo: Icone, 1988.

Murray, Stephen O., author and ed. Latin American Male Homosexualities. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.

Parker, Richard G. Bodies, Pleasures, and Passions; Sexual Culture in Contemporary Brazil. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.

Perpetusa-Seva, Inmaculada, and Lourdes Torres, eds. Tortilleras: Hispanic and U.S. Latina Lesbian Expression. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003.

Posso, Karl. Artful Seduction: Homosexuality and the Problematics of Exile. Leeds: Legenda Press, 2003. [on two Brazilian writers]

Ramos, Juanita, ed. Compañeras: Latina Lesbians (an Anthology). New York: Latina Lesbian History Project, 1987.

Schaefer-Rodríguez, Claudia. "The Power of Subversive Imagination: Homosexual Utopian Discourse in Contemporary Mexican Literature." Latin American Literary Review 33 (1989), pp. 29-41.

Schwartz, Kessel. "Homosexuality as a Theme in Representative Contemporary Spanish American Novels." Kentucky Romance Quarterly 22 (1975), pp. 247-57.

Trevisan, João S. Perverts in Paradise. Trans. Martin Foreman. London: GMP Publications, 1986. [Originally published as Devassos no paraíso (1986)].

Trujillo, Carla, ed.. Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1991.

Young, Allen. Gays under the Cuban Revolution. San Francisco: Grey Fox Press, 1981.


Almeida, São José, and Teresa Pizarro Beleza. Homosexuais no Estado Novo. Lisbon: Sextante Editora, 2010.

Johnson, Harold, and Francis A. Dutra (eds.). Pelo Vaso Traseiro: Sodomy and Sodomites in Luso-Brazilian History. Tucson: Fenestra, 2007. [thirteen translated studies]

Mott, Luiz, and Aroldo Assunção. "Love's Labors Lost: Five Letters from a Seventeenth-Century Portuguese Sodomite." in The Pursuit of Sodomy: Male Homosexuality in the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Kent Gerard and Gert Hekma, eds. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1989, pp. 91-101.


Baer, Brian James. Other Russias: Homosexuality and the Crisis of Post-Soviet Identity. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.

Burgin, Diana Lewis. "Laid Out in Lavender: Perception of Lesbian Love in Russian Literature and Criticism of the Silver Age, 1893-1917." In Sexuality and the Body in Russian Culture. Jane T. Costlow, Stephanie Sandler, and Judith Vowles, eds. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993: 177-203.

Hopkins, William. "Lermontov's Hussar Poems." Russian Literature Triquarterly 14 (1976) pp. 36-47.

Karlinsky, Simon. Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, Her World and Her Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

_____. "Russia's Gay Literature and Culture: The Impact of the October Revolution." Hidden from History. Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. Martin Bauml Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr., eds. New York: New American Library, 1989, pp. 348-64.

_____. "Russia's Gay History and Literature. (11th-20th Centuries)." Gay Sunshine 29-30 (1976): 1-7. Reprinted in Gay Roots. Twenty Years of Gay Sunshine. Winston Leyland, ed. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1991. pp. 81-104.

_____. The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976. Paperback reissue, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Healey, Dan. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Kirsanov, Vladimir. Russkaia gei-proza, 2008. Moscow: 000 "Kvir," 2008.

Klein, L. S. Drugaia liubov’: priroda cheloveka i gomoseksual’nost.’ St. Petersburg: Folio-Press, 2000.

______. Drugaia storona svetila : neobychnaia liubov’ vydaiushchikhsia liudei: rossiiskoe sozvezdie. St. Petersburg: Folio-Press, 2020.

Kozlovskii, Vladimir. Argo russkoi gomoseksual'noi subku'tury [The Slang of Russian Homosexual Subculture]. Benson, Vt.: Chalidze Publications, 1986.

Malmstad, John, and Nikolay Bogomolov. Mikhail Kuzmin: A Life in Art. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999,

Moss, Kevin, ed. Out of the Blue: Russia's Hidden Gay Literature: An Anthology. San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1997.

Zlobin, Vladimir. A Difficult Soul. Zinaida Gippius. Simon Karlinsky, ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.


Bech, Henning. "A Dung Beetle in Distress: Hans Christian Andersen Meets Karl Maria Kertbeny, Geneva, 1860." in Scandinavian Homosexualities. Essays on Gay and Lesbian Studies. Jan Löfström, ed. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1998, pp. 139-61.

Bjørby, Pål: "The Prison House of Sexuality: Homosexuality in Herman Bang Scholarship." Scandinavian Studies, 58 (1986), pp. 321-45.

Bjorby, Pål, and Anka Ryall. Queering Norway. London: Routledge, 2008.

Brantenberg, Gerd et al. På sporet av den tapte lyst: Kjærlighet mellom kvinner som litterært motiv. Oslo: Aschehoug, 1986.

Gade, Kari Ellen. "Homosexuality and the Rape of Males in Old Norse Law and Literature.” Scandinavian Studies 58 (1986), pp. 124-41

Gatland, Jan Olav. Mellom linjene: Homofile tema i norsk litteratur. Oslo: Aschehoug, 1990.

_____. Skeive skrifter. Bibliografi over homofile tema i norsk litteratur. Oslo: Biblioteksentralen, 1996.

Hansen, Bent. Nordisk bibliografi: Homoseksualitet. Copenhagen: Forlaget Pan, 1984.

Homosexuella och samhället. Betänkande av utredningen om homosexuellas situation i samhället (Homosexuals and Society. Report from the Official Investigation of the Situation of Homosexuals in Society). Stockholm: Liber/Allmänna Förlaget, 1984.

Lofström, Jan, ed. Scandinavian Homosexualities: Essays on Gay and Lesbian Studies. London: Routledge, 1998.

Magnusson, Jan. "Från tragiskt öde till fritt vald livsstil. Bögar och lesbiska i det sena nittonhundratalets svenska litteratur." Homo i folkhemmet. Homo- och bisexuella i Sverige 1950-2000. Martin Andreasson, ed. Göteborg: Anamma, 2000 pp. 59-75.

Meulengracht Sorensen, Preben. The Unmanly Man: Concepts of Sexual Defamation in Early Northern Society. Odense: Odense University Press, 1983.

Rydström, Jens. Sinners and Citizens: Bestiality and Homosexuality in Sweden, 1880-1950. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Söderström, Göran, ed. Sympatiens hemlighetsfulla makt. Stockholms homosexuella 1860-1960. Stockholm: Stockholmia Förlag, 1999.

Stenberg, Lisbeth. "'en lifsmakt för qvinnan': Hur en begynnande diskurs om relationer mellan kvinnor tystnar under 1880-talets skandinaviska sedlighetsdebatt." Lambda Nordica 4:2 (1998), pp. 6-32.


Altmann, Werner, Cecilia Dreymüller, and Arno Gimber. Dissidenten der Geschlechtsordnung: schwule und lesbische Literatur auf der iberischen Halbinsel. Berlin: Verlag Frey, 2001.

Álvarez, Enrique. Dentro/fuera: el espacio homosexual masculino en la poesía española del siglo XX. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2010.

Berco, Cristian. Sexual Hierarchies, Public Status: Men, Sodomy and Society in Spain’s Golden Age. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

Bergmann, Emilie L., and Paul Julian Smith, eds. ¿Entiendes? Queer Readings, Hispanic Writings. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

Blackmore, Josiah, and Gregory S. Hutcheson, eds. Queer Iberia: Sexuality, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

Cleminson, Richard, and Francisco Vázquez García. ‘Los Invisibles’: A History of Male Homosexuality in Spain, 1850-1940. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007.

Cull, John T. "Androgyny in the Spanish Pastoral Novels." Hispanic Review 57 (1989), pp. 317-34.

Delgado, María José, and Alain Saint-Saens. Lesbianism and Homosexuality in Early Modern Spain. Sewanee: University of the South Press, 2000.

Ellis, Robert R. The Hispanic Homograph: Gay Self-Representation in Contemporary Spanish Autobiography. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Fernández, Josep-Antón. Another Country: Sexuality and National Identity in Catalan Gay Fiction. Leeds: Maney Foundation for Modern Humanities Research Association, 2000.

Foster, David W. Spanish Writers on Gay and Lesbian Themes: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1999.

Garlinger, Patrick Paul. Confessions of the Letter Closet: Epistolary Fiction and Queer Desire in Modern Spain. Minneapolis; University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

Hagius, Hugh. Alberto Nin Frias: Vida y Obras. New York: Bibliogay, 2009.

Mira, Alberto. De Sodoma a Chueca: una historia cultural de la homosexualidad en España en el siglo XX. Barcelona: Egales, 1994.

Molloy, Sylvia, and Robert McKee Irwin, eds. Hispanisms and Homosexualities. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998. [thirteen essays on Spanish and Latin American writers]

Olmeda, Fernando. El látigo y la pluma: homosexuales in la España de Franco. Madrid: Oberon, 2004.

Pėrez-Sánchez, Gema. Queer Transitions in Contemporary Spanish Culture: From Franco to La Movida. Binghamton: State University of New York, 2007.

Robins, Jill, Crossing through Chueca: Lesbian Literary Culture in Queer Madrid. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

Sahuquillo, Angel. Federico García Lorca and the Culture of Male Homosexualty. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2007.

Smith, Paul Julian. The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Narrative. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

_______________. Laws of Desire: Questions of Homosexuality in Spanish Writing and Film 1960-1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992,

Stroud, Matthew. Plot Twists and Critical Turns: Queer Approaches to Early Modern Spanish Theater. Bucknell: Bucknell University Press, 2007.

Thompson, Peter E. The Triumphant Juan Rana: A Gay Actor of the Spanish Golden Age: Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

Ugarte, Michael. "Luis Cernuda and the Poetics of Exile." Monographic Review 2 (1986), pp. 84-100.

Velasco, Sherry. Male Delivery: Reproduction, Effeminacy, and Pregnant Men in Early Modern Spain. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2006.

Vilaseca, David. Queer Events: Post-Deconstructive Subjectivities in Spanish Writing and Film, 1960s to 1990s. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011.