A Natural History of Homosexuality
The result is A Natural History of Homosexuality, a generous work that synthesizes research in biology, history, psychology, and politics to explain how homosexuality has been understood and defined from ancient times until the present. Mondimore narrates tales of love and courage as well as discrimination and bigotry in settings as diverse as ancient Greece and Victorian England, early America and fin de siecle Vienna. He also tells fascinating stories about societies which accepted, incorporated, or institutionalized homosexuality into mainstream culture, stories illustrating that same-sex eroticism was often accepted as a normal aspect of human sexuality. In twentieth-century America, researchers first recognized that homosexuality might not be "pathological" when Alfred Kinsey and Evelyn Hooker conducted the first studies of sexuality not biased by preconceived notions of "normal" sexual behavior.
After exploring sexual development in the human fetus, Mondimore reviews current biological research into the nature of sexual orientation and examines recent scientific findings on the role of heredity and hormones, as well as Simon LeVay's 1991 brain studies. He then turns to a very important focus: on people and their individual experiences. He explores "what happens between childhood and adulthood in an individual that makes him or her come to identify himself or herself as having a sexual orientation." He also explains our current understanding of bisexuality and the transgender phenomena of transsexualism and transvestism.
Finally, Mondimore analyzes the circumstances of such prominent scandals as the anti-homosexual trials of Oscar Wilde and Philip von Eulenberg, and recounts the Nazi persecution of homosexuals during the Holocaust. This far-reaching discussion includes a description of the ex-gay ministries and reparative therapy as well as the Stonewall riots and AIDS, ending with the emergence of gay pride and community.
About the Author
"Expressly meant for those not in the know on subjects like the historical persecution of gays, the psychology and biology of homosexuality, social issues like 'stigma management,' and even the thorny problems of transsexualism and transvestitism . . . A valuably balanced study written in clear language."—Publishers Weekly
"Mondimore, a psychiatrist and author of Depression, the Mood Disease, adds this unique and thoughtful study of the growing number of titles on the subject of Homosexuality. . .what is unique is the author's ability to distill a vast array of data to create cogent, readable prose. . .Given the current level of discourse in our culture on this issue, Mondimore adds an important and reasonable, voice to the mix, and his work deserves wide readership."—Library Journal
"This book is informative, concise, simple to read, and an excellent resource book."—Rev. Dale PritchardPh.d, Lambda Book Report
"This book will serve as an excellent introduction for students. The practicing physician can recommend it to patients . . . Dr. Mondimore has packed an impressive amount of information into 250 pages; the result is the best overall presentation of homosexuality that I have seen."—Richard Pillard, M.D., The New England Journal of Medicine
"A book of special value to youth in search of sexual self-affirmation."—John Money, author of Gay, Straight, and In-Between
Other Titles by Francis Mark Mondimore, MD
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies