Wednesday, February 13, 2008


About a month ago, I was busy pointing out that not all of us went to Harvard. Yes, I know that probably qualifies for the most Blatantly Obvious Statement of the Year, even for the internet, but it seemed to make sense to me at the time...

Today, I ran across this. It was published under the pseudonym "Prof. X" as an appendix to the book Sexual Inversion (1896), by Symonds and Ellis:

Professor X., the writer of the following letter which has come into my hands, and an American of eminence, who holds a scientific professorship in one of the first universities of the world, has carried to the furthest extent the theory of sexual indifference of the genital impulse, and the consequently normal nature of homosexuality. He writes:

I have considered and inquired into this question for many years; and it has long been my settled conviction that no breach of morality is involved in homosexual love; that, like every other passion, it tends, when duly understood and controlled by spiritual feeling, to the physical and moral health of the individual and the race, and that it is only its brutal perversions which are immoral. I have known many persons more or less the subjects of this passion, and I have found them a particularly high-minded, upright, refined, and (I must add) pure-minded class of men.

In view of what everybody knows of the vile influence on society of the [heterosexual] passion, as it actually exists in the world, making men and women sensual, low-minded, false, every way unprincipled and grossly selfish, and this especially in those nations which self-righteously reject homosexual love, it seems a travesty of morality to invest the one with divine attributes and denounce the other as infamous and unnatural.

There is an error in the view that feminine love is that which is directed to a man, and masculine love that which is directed to a woman... we ought to think and speak of homosexual love not as `inverted' or `abnormal', as a sort of color-blindness of the genital sense, as a lamentable mark of inferior development, or as an unhappy fault, a `masculine body with a feminine soul,' but as being in itself a natural pure, and sound passion, as worthy of the reverence of all fine natures as the honorable devotion of husband and wife, or the ardor of bride and groom.

There is an element of special pleading here, perhaps, but it's heartfelt. It's a little sad to think that 110 years have not brought us very far... of course, students have been putting on drag shows at the Ivies for years, but Harvard has apparently come pretty far, indeed: this year the GLBT organization on campus is hosting the "Sex Workers' Art Show," which would have set the administration on the boil at any college, let alone one of the first universities of the world, in my day, anyway, back when dinosaurs roamed Manhattan, and before I did...

Hang in there, all.
I keep trying.

1 comment:

  1. I am going to tag you - you have to pass it on ...

    The rules for the meme are:
    1. Link to the person who tagged you.
    2. Post the rules on your blog.
    3. Share six non important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
    4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
    5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.