Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Homosexuals

The Advocate has an article about a 1967 CBS News Special Report titled "The Homosexuals"

There is a growing concern about homosexuals in society; about their increasing visibility. In preparing this broadcast, CBS News commissioned a survey by The Opinion Research Corporation in the public attitudes towards homosexuality. We discovered that Americans consider homosexuality more harmful to society than adultury, abortion or prostitution

Homosexuality is, in fact, a mental illness.

The average homosexual, if there is such, is promiscuous.  He is not interested in or capable of a lasting relationship like that of a heterosexual marriage.

The aim of a homosexual act, paradoxically enough, is to seek masculinity.

The church has a great deal of sympathy for those who are handicapped in this way.

[Being a homosexual] automatically rules out that [the man in question] will remain happy.

Hmmm, sounds like stuff I might hear at church - I'm starting to wonder how much progress we've actually made in the last 43 years.


Other Species said...

Well, let's see.

Indicators of progress:
1. I don't think American society as a whole thinks any longer that homosexuality is worse than abortion, adultery, prostitution, etc.

2. American society, overall, are basically aware that homosexuality is not a mental illness. That's not even the LDS church's position anymore.

Where we still need some work on:

1. The perception of promiscuity is still evident.

2. We, overall, tend to still think that gay men seek some masculinity that has eluded them in childhood.

3. There is still a perception that non-heterosexuals can ever be truly happy.

So, I think, as compared to 1967, we have made a few steps forward, but we haven't reached the goal yet.

Bravone said...

Damn that pink shirt. I knew better. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.

I swore I would never wear a pink shirt or paisley tie, and that darn sister-in-law of mine gave me a pink shirt and paisley tie for Christmas the very next year. At first I despised them, then tolerated them, then embraced them. Sad story.

Now I have three pink shirts of my own choosing. What next?

Abelard Enigma said...

Other Species - I agree that society, in general, has moved beyond the attitude of the 60's - what I'm not so sure about is Mormon society.

Braveone - pink shirt AND a paisley tie? There's no hope for you - you might as well add a feather boa to your ensemble :)

austin said...

For being so dated and a product of its times, I think it was pretty well balanced. Of course, the predominant view of the time was that homosexuality was a mental illness, and that view was the focus of most of the piece, but they also acknowledged that there were psychiatrists who disagreed with that view and said it was normal. They also had Gore Vidal going on about how being gay is just like having blond hair or brown eyes. It was also good to hear the priest who, in addition to admitting that he had dealt with homosexual feelings in his youth, telling the nation that churches are sinning by not accepting and loving people just because they are attracted to members of the same sex. Of course, it was also extremely painful to see the misunderstandings, prejudices, and repression that were so often expressed as well, but on balance I think CBS did about as fair a job as could be expected at that time.

Also, I often forget that gays were open enough in the 60s to have large societies, to picket the white house, and to go on the news and speak about it. I tend to think of these sort of things as relatively recent developments, as in since the mid-90's, so it's good to remember that this is a movement that has been growing for a lot longer than that.

As for Mormon culture, I'm afraid a lot of the assertions made in the piece (that gays can never be happy if they act on their feelings, that homosexuality is a mental illness, that it is caused by a domineering mother and distant father, etc) are still commonly held among Mormons. Still a long way to go.

Thanks for this fascinating piece of history that shows a snapshot of what things were like to compare to today!

cj said...

Sheesh, that movie is poison! No wonder some early church leaders had it so wrong.