Affordable Access

Publisher Website

Attitudes to Male Homosexuality Within the British Medical Association in the 1950s.

Authors
  • Sefton-Minns, Lydia1
  • Johnson, Martin H2
  • 1 Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK.
  • 2 Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Anatomy School and Centre for Trophoblast Research, Cambridge, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of homosexuality
Publication Date
Feb 23, 2024
Volume
71
Issue
3
Pages
545–573
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2022.2131131
PMID: 37144918
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The British Government appointed a departmental committee to review anti-homosexuality laws in 1954 following a marked increase in the number of arrests for homosexuality after World War II. The committee invited the British Medical Association (BMA) and other institutions to provide scientific and medical evidence relating to homosexuality. In 1954, the BMA established the Committee on Homosexuality and Prostitution to present its view on how the law impacted upon homosexuals and society. This paper analyses the BMA's attitudes to homosexuality by examining its submission to the Departmental Committee. Whilst the BMA supported implicitly the decriminalization of certain homosexual acts, it remained strongly opposed to homosexuality from a moral perspective and insisted that it was an illness. It is concluded that the BMA's submission was driven primarily by a desire to control the "unnatural deviant" behavior of homosexuals and to protect society from that behavior rather than to protect homosexuals.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times