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← Homosexual In Our Society : A Panel Discussion

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Showing Revision 4 created 06/28/2014 by Jonathan Duelfer.

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    "Mr. Coal I think we will begin with our first questions directed toward you.
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    You are, I believe, the editor of the Madachine Review
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    which is a publication put out by the Madachine Society
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    is that correct?
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    Could you tell us something about what the Madachine Society
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    is, what its general purposes are?"
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    "Yes
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    the Madachine Society is an incorporated
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    non-profit organization
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    that is engaged in
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    examining and doing something about the problems
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    that face the homosexual
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    in our country today."
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    "Is it confined to the San Francisco area
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    or is it a national publication,
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    and society?"
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    "Well it's a membership organization
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    that is actually spread very thinly now
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    from coast to coast
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    The magazine is national,
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    in fact it circulates also in eighteen foreign countries."
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    "And, approximately
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    how many members are there in the Madachine society?"
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    "Right now we have
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    about 117 members.
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    Probably by the end of the year, that will increase to 150.
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    The interest in our subject
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    is very great, but people are quite loathe to join.
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    All of the members are over 21 years of age."
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    "But the magazine itself would have a wider coverage than that,
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    I presume."
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    "Yes indeed,
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    it circulates at about 2,500 copies each monthly issue."
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    "I see...
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    and the purposes are,
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    as you state them,
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    to bring about a better understanding of the problem
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    of the person who is classified by our society
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    as a homosexual."
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    "Yes, that is the primary purpose,
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    actually this interest in this field that the Medachine has
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    extends to inclued
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    other forms of sex variation
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    particularly those forms of
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    varied sex behavior that we believe
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    do not constitute any real harm to our social order."
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    "I see...
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    well there are many ways that this subject could be discussed.
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    One I would say, broadly speaking, is the problem of the individual
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    who falls into this category,
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    and the other one would be
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    the problem of what society's attitude toward that individual
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    should ideally be.
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    Would the members of the panel agree with that?"
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    "Yes I think they would."
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    "Well, supposing we start out with our doctor
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    and perhaps she could tell us what the state of knowledge is,
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    scientifically speaking.
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    Is the homosexual classified as a medical case,
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    as a psychological case?
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    Let's have some general statement of what your interpretation would be
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    of what produces
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    that particular type of approach to life."
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    "Well this is a quite controversial subject
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    even in the medical profession.
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    There are many, many outstanding theories
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    and I think there are many individual variations
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    in the interpretation of those basic theories.
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    For instance, there are those positions who feel
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    that this is definitely a neurotic problem.
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    There are others who feel that it is a glandular problem.
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    Many feel it's hereditary,
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    others feel it may be caused by other factors.
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    Now, for myself I feel, from the many years of work and intense
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    specialization in understanding of homosexuals,
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    I feel that a homosexual is, first of all,
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    a human being.
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    Now that may seem to be a rather elementary statement,
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    but I very much believe in the individual adjustment problem
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    and I think that homosexuality many have many different kinds of causes,
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    and each individual case needs to be studied and interpreted in its own merits.
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    And I do not look upon homosexuality as a neurotic problem,
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    but more a basic personality pattern reaction.
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    Just as some people prefer blonds,
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    and others prefer brunettes,
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    I think the fact that a given person may prefer
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    a love of the same sex
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    is their personal business.
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    Now that doesn't mean that homosexuals may not become neurotic,
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    I believe that they often do because society is so hostile to them,
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    and their own families do not understand them,
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    so they are subject to a great many pressures,
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    and a great deal of unhappiness.
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    I know that other psychiatrists would not agree with me,
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    but this is my own personal interpretation."
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    "I see...
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    Would you say that the majority of people
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    in the medical profession, or in your own profession,
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    do disagree with you?
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    I mean would you say that your attitude,
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    in other words is a minority attitude where the medical profession is concerned?"
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    "I suspect that it's pretty much a minority,
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    I know several psychiatrists who have somewhat similar views,
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    but I couldn't speak for the group,
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    because psychiatrists are just about as individualistic as any group I know.
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    And, I do believe though, that the actual viewpoint
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    is pretty generally hostile,
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    in that the homosexual is looked upon
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    as a poor risk by psychiatrists,
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    and I know for a fact..."
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    "And about science, can one be hostile about science?
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    Is there any acceptable medical evidence in your view
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    for the fact that this is, partially, at least,
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    a physical predisposition,
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    rather than the psychological one?"
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    "Well there has been a great deal of work done on this,
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    but I don't believe that there has ever been any conclusive finding.
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    I know that the attempts that I have read
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    will describe all varieties,
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    and you wind up by just seeing different kinds of human beings.
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    That is, there will be some research which tends to show
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    that homosexuals are tall and skinny.
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    And other researches will show
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    that they are more short and fat with feminine curves.
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    And then there are others
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    that show them to be muscular..."
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    "Is this the glandular theory?"
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    "No, I don't know that this is glandular,
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    but you asked for a physical evaluation,
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    and there have been studies made.
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    For a long time, there has been research made on them.
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    And, as far as I can read,
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    they are dealing with just a broad cross-section of the population.
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    And I don't think they are actually measuring the factors
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    that do contribute to homosexuality."
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    "And I would like the rest of you to enter into this dicussion.
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    What do you think some of those factors are?"
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    "Well, I believe that those lie deep in the individual's nature,
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    and my own views are that it's a very deep, personal psychological problem
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    that there are many factors in the early childhood
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    which affect a person.
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    And the basic thing that I am aware of,
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    is that all human beings have both maleness and femaleness in them.
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    Now in America,
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    where is the only place I know,
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    we have too much the attitude that a person is either male or female.
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    And as I find it,
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    all the people I work with are mixed!
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    Male and female.
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    And when there are certain experiences in early childhood,
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    it tends to throw a person more toward the male side
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    or more toward the female side.
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    And subsequent patterns develop from that."
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    "Well certainly Dr. Freud and William James
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    would go along with you on that.
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    Freud, I think, said that all men are basically bisexual.
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    And, William James even said that most men are potential homosexuals."
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    "Yes, well the Freudian position, as I understand it, as a late person,
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    is that there are a series of sexual attitudes towards life,
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    which every individual goes through in some form or another:
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    the self-love, the homosexual, and the heterosexual.
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    And you can correct me Dr. Baker, if I'm wrong...
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    the Freudian position was
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    that the individual that remains within the homosexual bracket,
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    has failed to take another step forward
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    in what would be considered a sort of "normal growth"
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    in their relationship with life.
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    That is as I understand it...the Freudian position.
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    Mr. Coal, you seem to have something to say."
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    "Well I was going to add that
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    I think that this whole business of homosexualism
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    is just one of the things that exists in nature.
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    It always has been with us, as far as we know,
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    and it always will be, as far as we expect.
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    It seems that no laws or no attitudes of any culture that we've looked into in the past,
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    have ever been able to stamp it out, or even essentially curb it.
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    The laws, and the enforcement of laws against homosexuality
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    merely cases it out of sight.
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    Of course, we also believe along here
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    that the sexuality of all people, is something that should be a private matter,
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    and not, of course, a public thing."
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    "Yes, I appreciate that as a viewpoint,
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    but I don't think that the fact that a thing has always existed
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    obviates the fact that, in this particular instance,
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    it does create vital problems for the individuals involved.
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    And also because of centuries of discussion, and of hostilities, and so on,
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    it also creates a problem for the society.
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    So that I think today, what we are trying to establish
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    is what that problem is, and how it can be most constructively handled
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    from every standpoint.
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    You mentioned Ms. Gailey,
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    that you had become a member of the society because your son was a member.
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    Perhaps you could tell us something about the problem regarding
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    this manifestation of expression, from the standpoint of a parent."
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    "I think my first reaction would be a universal one.
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    It was shock.
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    Here was ostracism facing me.
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    Ostracism for me and for my son.
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    And it was shock.
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    Well, basically I loved my son.
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    I wasn't about to put him out of the family circle
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    just because he happened to have a different sexual attitude.
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    So, I decided I wouldn't try to understand it.
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    And you know, in fear,
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    a big part of fear is the unknown.
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    As soon as you start to understand, some of the fear leaves.
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    Isn't that so, Dr. Baker?"
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    "Oh I so appreciate what you said."
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    "And the problem is a very challenging one.
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    The more I got into it, the more I studied, the more I read,
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    incidentally there is much literature on the Layman level
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    for anyone to read, if they will, and if they are interested.
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    Much of it.
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    Many people are frightened because they think they have to go to the medical journals
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    which they won't understand.
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    But there is very much on the Layman level that they can read to understand.
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    And, as far as I'm concerned,
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    it is just a matter of understanding and accepting."
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    "And what did your understanding come to?
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    I think that would be an interesting point,
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    that you discovered that you didn't really have a feeling of shock and hostility any longer?
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    Or simply because it was something that you loved another human being
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    that you were willing to accept?"
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    "Very much. That's just about it."
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    "I would like to throw in right here
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    this idea that the problem of homosexuality,
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    or the existence of homosexual people,
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    is very often much closer to all of us than most of us realize.
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    The person on the job next to you,
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    or the neighbor in the apartment, or in the house next door,
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    may, very often be homosexual,
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    because as far as we have been able to learn from the statistics the experts have handed out,
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    approximately every tenth adult in our culture today
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    may be predominantly homosexual.
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    So, it isn't one of those scourges that has just visited on someone here and there,
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    it is quite general in our culture,
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    and it spreads throughout our entire population
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    with no respect to economic or intellectual standing.
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    It covers the entire strata of our society."
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    "Hall, don't you think that the claims that are made,
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    that homosexuality is on the increase,
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    is more or less an optical illusion?"
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    "Yes, it actually is this.
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    We've brought about a greater awareness of the existence of homosexuality
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    in this country and in the world,
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    but particularly in the United States since the end of World War II.
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    The pressures of the wartime period
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    plus the movements of large groups of population,
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    and plus possibly throwing many family relationships out of a so-called "ordinary balance,"
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    and putting great groups of men together here and there
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    created an awareness or increased the discovery
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    of the existence of homosexuality in probably a good many people,
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    who probably would have never otherwise discovered it."
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    "There is one thing that I'd like to put on the table for discussion:
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    do you feel that the attitude of the person involved
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    is conditioned by society's pressure,
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    or is it intrinsic to his own situation?
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    I mean, does he find himself, or does she find herself,
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    in a situation where they themselves have a certain amount of hostility and resentment and fear
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    regarding their own attitudes.
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    Is that purely produced, do you think,
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    by the society, or is there a real problem involved for the individual
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    in facing their own inclinations?"
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    "I think the individual, the homosexual individual,
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    adopts a lot of his attitudes and his own hostilities
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    as a result of the mores or the attitudes of the society in which he lives.
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    And, maybe he even adopts certain mannerisms as a result,
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    or which reflect this hostility
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    and this lack of self-acceptance.
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    Because he feels that no one else accepts him,
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    he is reluctant perhaps to understand and accept his own and true nature.
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    And it's certainly, if it's a homosexual orientation,
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    it's something that he cannot advertise.
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    If anything, he has to live a double life and hide it.
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    That is, he has to be homosexual, privately if at all,
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    and otherwise appear like a "normal" or "average" person
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    in all of his other contacts."
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    "Wouldn't you say that there was some of both,
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    in that both the individual and the result of society...
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    certainly there is a great fear.
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    That is the most widespread reaction of homosexuals...is fear from society.
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    But, I think there is also guilt and shame within himself.
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    He has both to face.
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    Would you say that was true Dr. Baker?"
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    "Well I certainly agree with you Layla.
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    The major factor is this fear of the unknown that you have mentioned,
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    and people have such concepts of homosexuality
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    that make them have all kinds of grizzly fear.
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    And I would like to say also
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    that one of the factors that I think is so important to realize,
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    is the fear that it may be in us.
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    We have little indications,
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    maybe we've been a little too exuberant in expressions that we were surprised at.
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    And so, we will often persecute a person
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    because we don't want to face the truth in ourselves."
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    "Yes, but that's an attitude on the part of the person on the outside.
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    What I was trying to have some more light on, was this:
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    a child grows up in an environment where, insofar as his knowledge goes, largely,
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    he's in a heterosexual society
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    and if he suddenly begins to discover in himself
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    a tendency which doesn't coincide with the family life
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    and what he knows of the social life around him,
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    isn't that in itself an opening wedge of fear and confusion?
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    Particularly when he may be afraid to turn to anyone else."
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    "Well yes, he feels that he is "different.""
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    "Yes, and people feel a sense of terror almost
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    at the discovery of any major difference in their attitudes
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    from that of the society surrounding them.
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    I think that any human being has had that experience
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    if they have gone off on their own in any direction:
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    religiously, philosophically, politically, in any way you like...
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    so that perhaps that is one of the factors that sets up the original difficulty for the individual."
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    "That is very evident when you work with these individuals
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    that they have been hurt so early in life by this persecutory attitude.
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    They pick it up very quickly and they are very much afraid
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    to share their outlook.
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    They are even afraid that if they approach another potentially homesexual person,
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    they may be making a mistake.
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    So, one of the first things that I do in working with a person that has homosexual tendencies,
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    is to begin the process of self-acceptance in him.
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    And as he accepts himself,
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    he becomes more relaxed and more comfortable,
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    and then he can meet people on a more peaceful basis
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    and doesn't have to put on a lot of these mannerisms
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    which are quite often the hostility showing...
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    his own reaction to this hostility from other people that I've spoken of."
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