Date Thesis Awarded

2012

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

History

Advisor

Leisa D. Meyer

Committee Member

Chandos Michael Brown

Committee Member

Nancy Gray

Abstract

During the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s, gay and lesbian activists cited Alfred C. Kinsey's 1948 and 1953 reports on American sexual behavior as a critical source of knowledge to argue that gay men and lesbians constituted a substantial minority of the American population. Beginning in the 1970s, some activists conflated Kinsey's findings on sexual behavior with identity to argue that 10 percent of the population was gay or lesbian. In the mid-to-late 1980s and early 90s, new estimates of the gay and lesbian population challenged Kinsey's status as an authority on American sexual behavior as well as the validity of the 10 percent estimate, leading activists to abandon the reports and the estimate they had derived from them as useful foundations for political arguments. Despite this, Kinsey's most significant ideological legacy to the gay and lesbian rights movement remains his claim that a substantial portion of the American population has engaged in same-sex sexual behavior and that individuals who practice this behavior can be found in every segment of society.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Comments

Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

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