PHOTO: (left to right) Dr. Frank Kameny, Jack Nichols, and Dr. George Weinberg being honored as Grand Marshalls of New York City's 2004 Heritage of Pride Parade. George Weinberg who coined the word 'homophobia' died at age 87. See Dr. George Weinberg, "How Homophobia Became a Word," gaycitynews.nyc posted Mar. 23, 2017 and my essay, Thomas Kraemer, "Reviews: 'Society and teh Healthy Homosexual,' by Dr. George Weinberg, 1972, St. Martin's Press, 150 pages " gaytoday.com posted November 10, 2003, plus the interview by Jack Nichols, "George Weinberg, Ph.D. - Badpuppy's February Interview," gaytoday.com posted Feb. 3, 1997. (Photo courtesy of Randy Wicker -- See previous post Jack Nichols biography with blurb of my book review (2/17/13))
In the essay i wrote for the online publication of Jack Nichols (Thomas Kraemer, "Reviews: 'Society and teh Healthy Homosexual,' by Dr. George Weinberg, 1972, St. Martin's Press, 150 pages " gaytoday.com posted November 10, 2003) pleased Dr. Weinberg so much that he took the time to call me and share much more of his thinking with me. A writer for the New York City "Gay City News" was working with George shortly before his death to write a more comprhensive history of how homophobia developed, and an uncompleted portion of it was printed in the same issue as his death announcement. (Dr. George Weinberg, "How Homophobia Became a Word," gaycitynews.nyc posted Mar. 23, 2017). Some selected quotes from my essay are below:
Dr. George Weinberg is a straight psychologist who is widely credited with coining the term "homophobia" to describe the fear many people express about homosexuals. His book Society and the Healthy Homosexual caringly described the problem of homophobia and it boldly rejected the prevailing medical opinion that homosexuality was a mental illness.
The title of Weinberg's book humorously mocks an archetypical 1953 book Society and the Homosexual by Gordon Westwood (with introduction by Dr. Edward Glover) that proclaimed, "The [homosexual] man determined to break society will be involved in all kinds of psychopathic crimes; these may seem to have no outward connection with his homosexuality, but a number of seemingly unrelated crimes are often found to have a homosexual origin." Westwood's opinions about society and the "unhealthy homosexual" were widely accepted as being true by virtually all psychiatrists of that era. . .
In Weinberg's book (pp. 132-136) he clearly states, "A colleague of mine, Kenneth Smith, who read a paper of mine on homophobia, did one of the first pieces of research on homophobia that I know of." . . I did an exhaustive computerized and physical page-by-page search for homophobia references in over fifty years worth of archival journals (the professional peer-reviewed journals that all university libraries index and expect to keep forever). The first publication of the word "homophobia" in an archival journal does indeed appear to be Smith's paper. However, it is indisputable that it was Weinberg's book that popularized the concept of "homophobia." . . .
Jack Nichols recalled (in a personal communication, November 2003) making up the word homophobia "out of the blue" and using it in the May 23, 1969 SCREW newspaper column titled "He-Man Horseshit," which he co-wrote with Lige Clarke. In this column, they defined homophobia as "fear of being thought attracted to one's own sex," which is slightly different from Weinberg's 1972 definition, "the fear of homosexuals." Nichols emphasizes that he credits Weinberg for coining homophobia because, "'Lige and Jack' were simply being somewhat flip. We simply came up with the word. The column was an early assault on machismo - - one that predated my major work that Lige inspired me to write: Men's Liberation, (Penguin Books, 1975)." . .
Given the recent brouhaha over the privacy of library records, I was amused to find the old library check out card still in the back of the book. Before this library converted to an electronic checkout system in 1987, patrons printed their name and Social Security number on the card, which was then stamped with a due date and kept by the library until the book was returned. The last checkout was in 1981 to a student that lived in a fraternity according to the student directory.
My old college library had a similar publicly visible checkout scheme. I was too scared in 1973 to sign my name and so I recall reading Society and the Healthy Homosexual while sitting in the library. I couldn't "steal" it as many 60's radicals recommended because everybody was physically searched at the exit. Today, electronic tags bound into the book spines will trigger an alarm at the exit. Library records may be "private" now, but government mandated library software programs censor and keep track of everything kids read. This is progress? . . .
one peer-reviewed scientific study found that men who have a negative view of homosexuals get more erections while viewing homosexual pornography than other men. In other words, homophobes are sexually aroused by gay sex. (H.E. Adams, et al., (1996) "Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?" Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 105, 440-445) . . .
Another study tested the hypothesis that aggressive homophobic behavior occurs in men who are conflicted by simultaneous feelings of arousal and anger over homosexuals. This finding may explain why homophobes, such as Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, heatedly demand that homosexuals "keep it private" and stay in the closet. The mere presence of gay people may cause sexual arousal in homophobes, which makes them violently angry. (Jeffrey A. Bernat, et al., (2001). "Homophobia and physical aggression toward homosexual and heterosexual individuals," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 110, 179-187) . . .
A recent study found homophobia to be a "disgust" reaction instead of a "phobia." These researchers believe homophobia is psychologically closer to racism. (University of Arkansas psychologists presented this finding at the June 2002, American Psychological Society convention, New Orleans . . .
Racism and homophobia are equally wrong but are worse when they occur together. U.K. activist Peter Tatchell's essay "Homophobia: Why can blacks bash gays?" (New Statesman, 14 October 2002, pp.14-15) discusses "the crushing strength of black homophobia." Twenty-five mostly black fans of reggae anti-gay lyrics, such as "Kill the batty boy" and "Kill the chi chi men," recently kicked and punched Tatchell for protesting this hate music. . .
Anti-gay religious training also breeds homophobia. A recent scientifically sampled campus-wide study at Texas A&M measured this relationship as part of a larger study about the acceptance of women at this formerly all-male, all-military school. Unlike previous studies, this one looked to see if the 18 to 19 year old students that were raised in more conservative religions were more homophobic than other students. The authors' multi-variable statistically significant results confirmed this hypothesis. However, the authors found highly homophobic persons even in liberal religions, which means that religious training is not the sole cause of homophobia. Consistent with President Bush's beliefs and most religious teaching, homophobic Texas A&M students typically do not support discrimination against gay people, but they also believe that homosexuality is immoral and dangerous to the family. This type of homophobia would explain why so many people oppose gay marriages and gay clerics while they simultaneously oppose discrimination. (Barbara Finlay, Carol S. Walther, "The Relation of Religious Affiliation, Service Attendance, and Other Factors To Homophobic Attitudes Among University Students," Review of Religious Research, Vol. 44, No. 4, June, 2003) . . .
In Chapter 4, "The Healthy Homosexual," Weinberg said that a higher percentage of "gay liberation leaders" had never suffered from guilt. Later research confirmed this idea. (Walter G. Stephan, "Parental relationships and early social experiences of activist male homosexuals and male heterosexuals," Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1973) 52:3, 502-513. The "activists" in this study were gay men in Jack Baker's University of Minnesota FREE (Fight Repression of Erotic Expression) group, which I joined in 1972.) . . .
Also in Chapter 5, Weinberg talks about "Communication with Parents." He quotes the notorious 1968 book by Peter and Barbara Wyden, Growing up Straight, which remains popular with ex-gay groups. The late Peter Wyden is the father of Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. Not long after Wyden wrote this book he committed Ron's brother to a mental institution. (Including a brief stay at the famous Menninger Clinic) It is unclear why Peter Wyden was so obsessed with raising two "straight" sons that he would write a book about it. Are Wyden's sons gay? . .
I would like to share three of the many tributes to George Weinberg that I stumbled across while reviewing thirty years of homophobia literature:
L. Page "Deacon" Maccubbin, who recently purchased the legendary "Oscar Wilde Bookshop" in New York City, told The Washington Post about how he opened his first gay bookstore in 1974. He specifically mentioned George Weinberg's book as being pivotal in his success. He added that gay bookstores were important because regular bookshops didn't carry them and people didn't check out library books - - they stole them. (The Washington Post, "Bookseller's Success Speaks Volumes: Lambda Rising Owner Helped Bring Gay Literature Out of the Closet," April 2, 2003, Nation, page C01)
The second one, a history of the pioneering lesbian group Daughters of Bilitis, credited, among other things, George Weinberg's speech on the dangers of psychoanalysis at the 1965 ECHO (East Coast Homophile Organizations) convention for causing their publication The Ladder to question the illness model of homosexuality and to refocus on "homophobia" as being the primary problem. (Kristin Gay Esterberg, "From Illness to Action: Conceptions of Homosexuality in The Ladder, 1956-1965," The Journal of Sex Research, Feb. 1990, 27:1, pp. 65-80)
The third one, Arthur Evans, who helped start the Gay Activists Alliance in 1969, credited "George Weinberg, a straight psychologist," for regularly attending GAA meetings and for coining the word "homophobia" after watching with fascination the group's "zaps" and "media responses." Evans said this was an "example of how theory can be rooted in practice." (Arthur Evans, "The Logic of Homophobia," Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Summer 2000, 7:3)