My parents had discarded some “anti-social” books that had been popular in the 1950s

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When I was growing up, through the 1950s, my parents had many books in the den case, including a set of 1950 World Book Encyclopedias (I remember the salesman’s visit just after we moved into the Drogheda house in late 1949) with wonderful color-coded elevation maps of U.S. states and Canadian provinces, that TWB did not continue printing in later editions. I wonder why.
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We had some books that my parents later decided were problematic, after the expulsion from William and Mary and later the stint at NIH in 1962. One was “Education for Death” by Gregor Ziemer, which now is sold only as an expensive collector’s item by resellers on Amazon. The book inspired a short animated film “Education for Death: The Making of a Nazi”, directed by Clyde Geronimi, from Walt Disney Studios, in 1943 (my birth year). That book disappeared in the 1960s from the shelf.
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Another book that had been there was “Facts of Life and Love, for Teen-agers”, by Evelyn Millis Duvall, originally published in 1953 for the YMCA Associated Press. That disappeared, and the paperback (Popular Library) was pubbed for 25 cents in 1954. It’s mainly about dating and petting, and preparing teenagers to accept a life where sexuality will live only inside marriage producing children. Actually, it had a lot stuff about how girls and boys mature physically, like on p. 33, where she describes the significance not only of the beard but of chest and leg hair (writing for a segregated white audience, and not too concerned about aging many years later). But the most controversial passage in the book may occur on page 65 where she, in talking about homosexuality, separates “overt” from “latent” homosexuality. That has become be basis of my declaration of “latent homosexuality” to the Dean of Men at William and Mary, and it was a bone of controversy at NIH, seen as a deliberately divisive ploy to rationalize ideas that others were used to seeing as immoral. Duvall tries to write reassurance for boys who don’t develop as fully (and girls), and even says “We learn to love as we grow up with other people” (p. 66). The implication of this line of thinking otherwise (very much evident at NIH in 1962) was that the path I followed mentally could mean there was no place at all in the world (of marriage, at least) for less competitive men and women. And two decades before, we had been fighting a world war over this idea, in part.
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The most notorious book like this was probably “Growing Up Straight”, by Peter and Barbara Wyden, republished by Signet and available from resellers in paper, subtitle, “What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know about Homosexuality”.  (The back cover reads “A book that talks frankly about a parent’s great unspoken fear.”) This book came out (pun) in 1968, one year before Stonewall, and one year after the notorious 1967 CBS News broadcast “The Homosexuals” with Mike Wallace. It has a foreword by Stanley F. Yolles at NIH (where I had been a “patient’ in 1962 (link ). He mentions an NIH psychologist, Howard Moss, whereas I remember a psychiatrist named Maas. One gets the impression that this whole charade is a self-serving exercise for “professionals” to make money with their “expertise” on sexuality – regarding homosexuality as mental illness could make some people money (including pastors). Today we have amateurism.
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The authors write as if public opprobrium against homosexuality were alone enough reason to try to prevent it, ignoring the obvious circularity of the reasoning. In fact, the first chapter is “Why talk about it?” On p. 21 he states his purpose, “The homosexual life today entails truly fearful penalties”. At various times, he admits that something about this is over-the-top and not completely rational. On p. 153, he talks about some legal cases where the government tried to ban homosexual immigrants, as if to admit something is self-serving for those who enforce these ideas.
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Nevertheless, the Wyden’s pander to the stereotypes, with characterizations of the “pre-homosexual child” (like me), and how parents inadvertently raise homosexual sons and daughters. They want everyone to grow up to be “sexually normal” and sexually “safe”. There is a lot of discussion that modern culture inhibits boys from becoming manly and makes them fearful of performing with girls. (The comments by certain Dr. Bettelheim.) That naturally leads to the idea (which used to be feared in boarding schools, dorms, and the military) that the mere presence of homosexual men makes marginally straight men less sure of themselves. In one passage, around p. 83, the “experts” explore the idea of fear of getting hurt in sports (which, today, given the concussion scandals in football, seem justified after the fact), as well as physical frailness, or less-than-normal physical development, such as a high-pitched voice or the lack of body hair (which would apply to white men – this was a segregated world). Even so, the book offers no “solutions” for the less “well endowed”. Somehow, they are to be encourage to court women anyway and give their parents grandchildren, and women (who in past generations needed economic support) are supposed to go along with these men and accept them as potential marriage partners anyway. “You do the best you can” and not more. It’s easy to see how the sports metaphor took on moral overtones in earlier generations, when in earlier wars, women had to do the support work so that the men could do the fighting.

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There is actually another book with the same title, “Growing Up Straight” and subtitle “What Every Family Should Know about Homosexuality“, by. Dr. George A. Rekers, 1982, published by the Moody Press of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  Out of morbid curiosity, I ordered a used copy from “Sunrise”, which came with a thank-you note. The copy was heavily underlined, as if used as a text in a Bible class at one time.  The book makes no pretense of any non-circular reason for objecting to homosexuality, and not much interest in science, beyond religious authority.  To give it some credit, it mentions the health risks (like Hepatitis B) of some male homosexual conduct in the years immediately before the AIDS epidemic became big news and a huge political risk to all the gains from Stonewall.
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I do recall a book in 1987 by Richard Green, “The Sissy Boy Syndrome: The Development of Homosexuality”, from the Institute for Social and Policy Studies, actually published by Yale University Press.
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On Blogspot, I reviewed a book on this topic authored by Joseph Ncicolosi as late as 2002, “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality”, link.
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Forcing people to conform to the gender debts imposed on them by others used to be “big business” that some political “conservatives” still want to defend.
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(Posted: Monday February 15, 2016 at1:45 PM EST)

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