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American Queer, Now and Then
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The first chapter defines how Queer individuals were viewed as deviants by the dominant culture in American society in the early 20th century. A medical journal published in 1916 reflects the professional view of homosexuals as perverts and pederasts. A significant study by Kinsey (1948) was the first empirical research done on sexuality that discussed the notion that male homosexuality was actually more common than believed. This study helped to transform gender roles and perhaps was the start of a declining stigma against sexuality in general. Gay history scholar George Chauncy (1994) wrote a book that focused on the subculture from 1890-1940. Myths include the false belief that men were isolated, invisible to society, and had internalized society's typical view of them as sick. Many derogatory labels were described, some including, queer, homo, dyke, fairy, faggot, prostitute, flamer, trade, and pansy.
The next chapter explores how society has looked at biological sex in comparison to gender identity and roles. In 1968 the DSM II had categories for homosexuals and transsexuals and in the 80's also included gender identity, and gender role disorders. Not only were these individuals not accepted by society, but were viewed as if they could be "cured". It was not until 1973 that experts found that homosexuality did not meet the criteria to be considered a mental illness.Read more ›