The Letter Sigmund Freud Wrote Which Is A Surprisingly Evolved Take On Homosexuality

1000509261001_1980656760001_BIO-Biography-Sigmund-Freud-LFLondon’s Museum of Sexology has unearthed a largely forgotten letter penned by Sigmund Freud in 1935 in which he makes his views on homosexuality quite clear.

Responding to a mother’s concern over having a gay son, Freud writes that it’s “nothing to be ashamed of,” and that it “cannot be classified as an illness.”

He references noted gay people throughout history — Plato, Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, assuring the mother that, “It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime – and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.”

The letter eventually ended up in the possession of Alfred Kinsey, and was published in a 1951 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry. Since then it has largely remained a footnote.

Here is the original letter:Frued-P1Freud-P2

It reads:

Dear Mrs [Erased],

I gather from your letter that your son is a homosexual. I am most impressed by the fact that you do not mention this term yourself in your information about him. May I question you why you avoid it? Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness; we consider it to be a variation of the sexual function, produced by a certain arrest of sexual development. Many highly respectable individuals of ancient and modern times have been homosexuals, several of the greatest men among them. (Plato, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, etc). It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime – and a cruelty, too. If you do not believe me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

By asking me if I can help, you mean, I suppose, if I can abolish homosexuality and make normal heterosexuality take its place. The answer is, in a general way we cannot promise to achieve it. In a certain number of cases we succeed in developing the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which are present in every homosexual in the majority of cases it is no more possible. It is a question of the quality and the age of the individual. The result of treatment cannot be predicted.

What analysis can do for your son runs on a different line. If he is unhappy, neurotic, torn by conflicts, inhibited in his social life, analysis may bring him harmony, peace of mind, full efficiency, whether he remains a homosexual or gets changed. If you make up your mind he should have analysis with me — I don’t expect you will — he has to come over to Vienna. I have no intention of leaving here. However, don’t neglect to give me your answer.

Sincerely yours with best wishes,


P.s. I did not find it difficult to read your handwriting. Hope you will not find my writing and my English a harder task.

44 thoughts on “The Letter Sigmund Freud Wrote Which Is A Surprisingly Evolved Take On Homosexuality

  1. This underscores what was known pewviously… being gay is a positive variation of sexual behaviour….. It came from an authority in psychology/psychiatry abi??
    Now how can that letter get to our ignorant leaders?

    • I disagree with Pa cerebral Freud, on small account of tht homosexuality stems from arrest of certain sexual….. but at his time, there were barely in depth knowledge in human sexuality. so pa u too much, being among the 1st to make such inroads. His approach it’s still in use, u can only help by highlighting the heterosexual character in the individual and allow the person to make his decision. But importantly is to settle the personality conflicts and allow the individual to have peace of mind… serious scholars never at any time equated homosexuality to mental illness rather deviation.. nice digging pinky..

  2. So how come it was still listed as mental illness even though Freud had this view.

    Sensei care to explain? Cos I remember I was told in school that it was de-listed as mental illness in the 50s

  3. Freud has always been years ahead of his contemporaries in his methods. in fact his method of psychoanalysis has become the standard in the various schools and practices of psychology. it is surprising however that in this day and age, a host of psychologists despite haven studied Freud still engage in the ill famed sexual reversal therapy.
    guess they still have a lot more years of catching up to do before they get to the level of enlightenment Freud had decades ago.

      • Hahaha.. You’ll be surprised how mothers will equate whatever happens in your life to being gay. If I fall sick it’s maybe cause I’m gay, if I say I don’t don’t want to go to to church it’s cause I’m gay, I don’t have a lot of friends cause I’m gay.. So it’s very possible his sexuality is what is making his mum think he’s a hooligan.

      • In that case, the only way out is to develop a thick skin. Always give Mum her due respects and regards and do that which you know is honorable at all times. Time shall surely tell.

      • If you like all my comments it’s a very bad sign. I’m happy. Again, whenever a mere comment makes you angry,try not to allow your anger to grow

  4. “… the blighted germs of heterosexual tendencies, which ARE present in every homosexual..”. I love this. Some people have to tender apologies for trying to mislead us in the past on KD. Thanks Pinky for not hiding this treasure

  5. This gave me an intense braingasm not just cus of its content but how it was written. The author is clearly very intelligent, and articulate and has a very good mastery of English. Can tops take notes from this man? when chatting a bottom up online or in person, it helps to be eloquent and Dot ur I’s and cross your Ts . A man who has profound mastery of English language..deserves to be properly fellated just for that vry reason alone. And pls bottoms too, pick up a book and read sometimes.

    k abt the content. Love how he pointed out that Homosexuality is a disadvantage…we could write a whole thesis based on how insightful that one statement is, and I couldn’t agree more!

    • Oga Chizzie,
      that Freud said homosexuality is not an advantage doesn’t mean he said it is a disadvantage. If that was what he meant, he would have said so in clear-cut terms.

      • if something isn’t an advantage then what is it? he meant being a homosexual doesn’t exactly give you the upper hand as far as society is concerned because homosexuals are in the minority and most societies then as at now are homophobic. He was being honest, but there’s a clause to that statement – he adds that its nothing to be ashamed of and it is by no means a degrading quality. In otherwards just because the general consensus implies something is wrong, doesn’t mean it is

    • read that particular sentence in the context of the earlier sentence.
      He was asking why the boy’s mother didn’t use the word ‘homosexuality’ in her letter, asking her why she avoided it.

      He was implying that even though homosexuality isn’t something to be worn proudly as a laurel, it still doesn’t mean it is something to be ashamed of.

      If he really meant to say it was a disadvantage, there wouldn’t have been any need for him to emphasize that there have been great men in history who were gay ( he even used the expression: “highly respectable”).

  6. “Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage”, I’m looking at the meaning of that phrase from the perspective of evolution. I think he’s trying to say homosexuality doesn’t help further the human race and therefore it is not advantageous.

  7. Thank you Justjames!
    I could not have said it any better…

    Mr Gad you tried it but plsssssss!
    How do you equate me hanging out with my friends(no drinks,no drugs,no sex…..the kinda ”Declan gurls time out” at night which does not exceed a 10pm curfew with Hooliganism?

    • If your parents frown @ you staying out before 10pm simply adjust to their timing till when you are independent and in your own house,you will be free to do what you like. You must be enjoying a lot of luxury. When my son and my younger relations where still living with me, you don’t stay out beyond 6pm except if you have gone for choir practice or youth fellowship meetings which ends @ 8Pm. Anyday it exceeds 8pm the choir master knows that he will have me to contend with. So my dear,you have a lot of “luxury” if I should call it that.

  8. I believe every parent/guardian want the best for their offspring. The company we keep reflect on our own character whether we notice it or not. Need i say anymore.

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