A Letter from Freud (to a mother of a homosexual)

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April 9th 1935
PROF. DR Freud

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 no-
thing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degrad-
ation, 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 homosex-
uals, 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 cruelty too. If you do not be-
lieve me, read the books of Havelock Ellis.

By asking me if I can help, you mean,
I suppose, if I can abolish homosex-
uality and make normal heterosex-
uality take its place. The answer is, in
a general way, we cannot promise
to achieve this. 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 longer possible. It

Facsimile page 2

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 in 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

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


HEREWITH I enclose a letter from a Great and Good man
which you may retain.

From a Grateful Mother

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The author died in 1939, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Works published in 1951 would have had to renew their copyright in either 1978 or 1979, i.e. at least 27 years after it was first published / registered but not later than 31 December(31 December) in the 28th year. As it was not renewed, it entered the public domain on 1 January 1980(1 January 1980).