Homosexuality and Science

A Guide to the Debates

by Vernon A. Rosario


Is homosexuality perfectly normal? A sin? A medical problem? A psychological problem? For 200 years, scientists have searched for objective answers to these questions. Yet even today, scientific thinking about homosexuality remains entangled in social values and political currents.

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Cover image for Homosexuality and Science

April 2002


Pages 323
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics LGBTQ Studies
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    Hardcover: £73.00/79,00€/A$121.00

This comprehensive resource explores the role of science and scientific discovery in the nature versus pathology debate surrounding homosexuality.

Homosexuality and Science is the compelling history of this intense, ongoing scientific controversy. The story begins in the Victorian era, when doctors were horrified to discover that homosexuality, which they called "sexual perversion" was widespread—probably the result of childhood masturbation, they theorized, and sure to result in mental weakness and blindness for generations to come. The story progresses to a world where gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual scientists are involved in sexuality research, but where the AIDS pandemic has given rise to "reparative therapy" and ministries that claim to "cure" homosexuality.

This high-interest title shows how our understanding of homosexuality has been shaped not only by theories of evolution, eugenics, endocrinology, neurobiology, molecular biology, psychology, genetics, anthropology, and sexology, but also by the values of the times.


  • Chronicles the evolution of scientific opinion about gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual people from the Victorian era to the new millennium
  • Offers a detailed chronology of turning points in the evolution of scientific thinking about homosexuality


  • Includes information about biological evidence used to support the normality of homosexuality, such as twin studies, molecular genetics, and other recent research
  • Includes first-person accounts of gay people mistreated by medical science in attempts to change their sexual orientation
  • Includes important and, in many cases, rare documents on the treatment of homosexuality
Author Info

Vernon A. Rosario is a child psychiatry fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of the University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.



"Librarians in larger high school and public libraries should include this text with others in the Controversies in Science series. College-level instructors tackling social debates as justified by scientific positions should review this work before selecting the textbooks they will assign. Rosario's excellent scholarship provides a fine model for students researching any complex topic."—VOYA

"[A] scholarly but highly readable history of the relationship in Western culture (principally American) between various branches of science and the study of homosexuality . . . This worthy addition to the Controversies in Science series will be useful in both public and academic libraries in either the reference or circulating collections."—American Reference Books Annual

"This intellectual survey will be useful to advanced high school students taking courses in gender studies and the history of science."—School Library Journal

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Human Evolution cover imageThe Great Dinosaur Controversy cover imageConsciousness cover image
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