chapter  10
21 Pages

Normalizing Sexuality

Historian Vern L. Bullough has argued that what differentiated earlytwentieth-century sex research in America from that in Britain and Europe was its focus on heterosexual problems.1 Obviously there are exceptions to Bullough's generalization. American psychiatrists and criminologists, such as Frank Lydston, Adolf Meyer and William Healy, were at the forefront of investigations into degeneracy, delinquency and sexual psychopathology. There were also major American studies of 'perversions', notably the 1935 New York Sex Variants survey.2 Moreover, continuing media fascination with sexual notoriety, such as the transsexual Christine Jorgensen's famous announcement in 1952 that she had undergone sex change surgery, kept 'deviancy' in the news.3