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Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI

Chapter 4

Even More Hidden from History?
Male Homosexuality and Medicine in Turn-of-the-Century Australia

Lisa Featherstone

In the final years of the nineteenth century, the surgeon Paul Ward Farmer was briefly institutionalised in the Kew Lunatic Asylum, Melbourne. Determined to expose the chronically miserable conditions of the asylum, Farmer wrote a gripping tale of institutional life, a warts-and-all exposé of life amongst the poor and the mad. He chronicled the treatments meted out to inmates, as well as the peculiar and often repulsive behaviour of the mentally ill men, with understanding, humanity and grace.1

Where his general benevolence fell, however, was when Farmer witnessed male same-sex desire. Despite his medical training, Farmer was amazed to find homosexuality within the asylum. He recorded:

One day I noticed a case here which struck me most forcibly, and that was the desire of one man to embrace another. I fear this is a crime not unknown outside from something I saw on visiting a patient in Bourke-street [sic] a little while ago. The idea of such a thing to a sane man is, of course, revolting, and I devoutly hope it is not common in our midst.2

Farmer was a trained medical man, yet had no language to describe homosexuality, and no concrete idea of its existence, until a chance encounter with a patient. Homosexuality was almost entirely outside of his educational and moral framework, so much so that he was not quite sure of its very existence.

It is clear that there were emerging, nascent beats and subcultures in urban Australia during this period.3 Yet it is less clear whether or not understandings of sodomy or homosexuality were widespread or integrated into broader colonial culture.4 Even amongst medical professionals, knowledge about homosexuality could be very limited. Certainly, in the late nineteenth century, the British sexologist Havelock Ellis claimed that even experienced medical men had no experience of inversion.5 When considering medical training at Sydney University, there appears to be no mention of homosexuality or sodomy, or indeed even any space where they might have been discussed. The lack of training might have led to unworldly doctors never conceiving of homosexuality. Dr Farmer felt not only a lack of knowledge, but a clear loathing towards what he discovered: for a man who took most of the aspects of living in Kew Asylum in his stride, and who had a resounding sympathy for his fellow inmates, he was notably repulsed by the very idea of same-sex desire.

The memoir of Dr Farmer raises a broader question: was there a general blindness to sodomy and/or homosexuality amongst medical men? This chapter will explore male homosexuality in late nineteenth century medical discourse in Australia. It will suggest that the Australian experience is in stark contrast to the European frameworks we are familiar with, where medicine was key in defining, marginalising and pathologising the homosexual in the late nineteenth century. It was at this point the homosexual (as opposed to the sodomite) was to become a medicalised type, a ‘person with unique psychical and somatic characteristics’, rather than simply a person who engaged in the act of sodomy.6 In Foucault’s famous line, the homosexual was now a ‘species’.7 This has not been uncontested, of course, with some historians suggesting medicine was not necessarily central to the construction of the homosexual as a deviant.8 Yet this very contestation indicates a need for further investigation, of which this article is only one small contribution.

That mid- to late nineteenth century Western medicine produced a plethora of texts examining the homosexual is undeniable. First, the homosexual could be conceived as a degenerative body, one that was pathological, primitive and deviant. Homosexuality was, then, linked to disease, in particular nervous disorders, and, embodied in Oscar Wilde, the term came to act as shorthand for all forms of degeneration, insanity and the decadence of modernity.9 Second (and alternatively, even oppositionally), sexologists read the homosexual as a kind of ‘third sex’. Initially the German Karl Ulrichs had constructed the sodomite as a female mind in a man’s body. Over time, Edward Carpenter, Magnus Hirschfeld and others developed the idea of a third, intermediate sex.10 This concept focused less on pathology, and more on difference, with some of the leading sexologists calling for rights for homosexual people. This idea of inversion (where the homosexual took on traits of the opposite sex) was common, and continued to dominate until Freud’s focus on the mind, rather than the body, shifted the emphasis to newer, more psychological explanations.11

Yet in the Australian colonies, this medical and cultural preoccupation with male homosexuality – that has been seen as one of the defining points of European culture at the turn of the century – was largely absent. There was certainly an outpouring of information on male sexuality in this period. As I have argued elsewhere, the majority of this centred around male sexual excess, with a particular focus on masturbation.12 Within medical journals, text-books and medical self help guides, auto-eroticism was an ever-present concern, with most local doctors continuing to argue that masturbation was probably medically harmful. There was also frequent medical commentary on other aspects of male sexuality, including rape, sexual excess and nocturnal emissions. Yet in medical writings, there was little on either sodomy or homosexuality. There was plenty of evidence of homosexuality elsewhere – in biographies and memoirs, in low-end rags such as the Truth, and of course in legal sources, which have been well mined by a range of historians in Australia. Indeed, doctors were frequently involved in court cases against sodomites, indicating a theoretical and practical understanding amongst some doctors at least.13 But in sources written by medical men, homosexuality was almost but not quite absent.

This is, in the main, the challenge of even writing on homosexuality and medicine in turn-of-the-century Australia – we are writing on the silences and absences, as much as on empirical evidence. This is probably why Australian historians have focused less on medicine, and more on the law. While scholars such as Denise Thompson have indicated the importance of the medical model in developing and constructing the homosexual in Australia, there has been little attempt to understand how the international literature interacted with the local scene, and how it was read, absorbed, ignored or rejected by Australian doctors. This work, then, feeds into a more general literature that suggests that medicine was not as important in the construction of homosexuality as might be expected. Nonetheless, it is a relationship worthy of further consideration, particularly in the Australian context. This chapter will therefore offer a more detailed examination of the formation (or lack thereof) of concepts of homosexuality in Antipodean medicine. It is, even so, built from a far from sturdy body of literature – glimpses of the homosexual man in Australian medicine were always brief, but nonetheless tantalising.

The Case Studies

More broadly, in Australian medical literature, heterosexuality was simply assumed, as if there were no options or alternatives. Doctors with a specific interest in sexology may have sought out reading on homosexuality in the international literature and a few grains of knowledge seeped into local publications. For instance, in the maverick George Beaney’s magnum opus, The Generative Organs (1883), there was a brief, oblique mention of male same-sex unions. In a large text devoted to sex, the brevity of the mention is surprising. It was rare of Beaney to shy away from controversy – he was a doctor most famous as a sex writer, and for his controversial involvement with illegal abortions.14 Yet, here, this sole mention of homosexuality (unnamed) was written only as an aside on lesbianism.15 In a chapter that details ideas and case studies about ‘unnatural feeling in women’ Beaney suggests men too could be guilty of same sex desire:

‘Voltaire, Rabelais and other writers, like Juvenal and Martial under the Roman Empire, make several allusions to these practices [in men], showing that even monarchs – for instance Frederick the Great – were habitually guilty of them, and this proves they must exist to a considerable extent. Evils of such gravity point to a serious want of reverence for Nature, and demand a much more earnest treatment than either jesting allusions, or impotent avoidance of the subject.’

This shows how much the unnatural vice has been, and still is, indulged in by man.16

Like Farmer, Beaney appears to want to remain unaware of homosexuality for he cannot bear to think it through. The first part of his commentary is a quote from an unnamed source, and so only the last line is a Beaney’s own prose. From a man who wrote extensively on a range of sexual disorders, this is intriguing. Nor does he have the vocabulary to describe homosexuality, nor any kind of framework through which to examine it. Further, Beaney has no clinical cases to back up his thoughts (he does in his examination of lesbians), nor any local evidence. He simply knows it is unnatural, and hence assumes it to be perverse. Beaney really only knows enough to condemn it, even if he is not quite sure what ‘it’ is.

This research into medical sources uncovered only one other commentary on homosexuality written by an Australian doctor. In 1884, the energetic Sydney doctor-about-town John Springthorpe published a rare article on sexuality in the prestigious local journal The Australasian Medical Gazette (the forerunner to the Medical Journal of Australia). Springthorpe was not a specialist sexologist, rather he had a wide range of socio-medical interests including various forms of preventative health and hygiene. This article was his attempt to grapple with the new Freudian concepts of sexuality.

In this period, Freud was a marginal, controversial theorist, and few colonial doctors engaged seriously with his frameworks or psychological concepts. Most greeted Freud’s theories on sex and life with skepticism and fear, even derision. Yet Springthorpe, though hardly a radical in other ways, engaged rigorously with Freudian concepts, in particular the shocking idea that sex and propagation were central tenants of human existence. The foregrounding of sex was in itself controversial: for the Victorian medical profession, sex was generally something unseemly, unspeakable. In his article, however, Springthorpe found sex worthy of a proper, scientific examination. It was, he suggested, a key to understanding humanity. Yet if sex was central to human existence, this did not render it unproblematic. Rather, suggested Springthorpe, the problems of sex urgently needed both definition and deciphering. Sex, like any other scientific conundrum in the Victorian period, was something to be untangled and resolved, preferably by the appropriate medical authorities.

Most important to Springthorpe and other medics was the idea that sexuality had to be controlled and regulated. If the male body and the male sex initiative was naturally strong and active, the social order required it to be tamed. The Victorian man had to be taught sexual restraint, much as he would learn social and fiscal restraint.17 Male sexuality, then, was constructed as urgent, impetuous, even volatile – and these functions would have to be curtailed.18 The challenge for most men was that the Victorian economy demanded late marriage, and hence a long period of (generally theoretical) chastity. If men could not control their urges, Springthorpe claimed that social and psychological disorder would follow. There would be a range of ‘terrors for the individual and the race, beginning with masturbation and prostitution, and ending with sodomy, wantonness, birth control and polygamy’.19

In Springthorpe’s construction of social and sexual deviance, sodomy is but briefly mentioned as one of the possible outcomes of sexual excess. In his understanding, homosexuality is not considered as a form of desire, as a sexual choice, or a sexual identity. Rather sodomy was simply one option, one form of pathology that might overtake a man who allowed himself to indulge. Springthorpe suggested that sodomy was part of a continuum of sexual perversity: beginning with masturbation and prostitution, which would slip, if allowed, into the worst of sexual excesses, including contraception, sodomy and multiple wives. Springthorpe’s writing, then, could be read as less a comment about sodomy per se, than as a more general diatribe against uncontrollable sexuality. Male-to-male sex was constructed as but one of a number of pathologies, though perhaps at the more serious end.

If Springthorpe’s analysis of sodomy was brief and unsatisfying, there was little else written in Australia in this period. Literate, wealthy doctors may have had some access to international books that mentioned homosexuality, including professional journals, guides and jurisprudence texts. Yet rarely were these texts readily available on the local market. One exception was an inexpensive self-help guide, written by an American doctor, M. Lafayette Byrn, from the University of Louisville. His small book was published in Sydney, and hence there is an assumption that he could have been more widely read in Australia. It is not necessarily evidence of a distinct Antipodean thought, but is rather a suggestion of what the colonists may have digested.

Byrn skirted, very tentatively, around the issue of homosexuality:

It is my belief that naturally – I mean in the state of pure and unperverted nature, but developed, cultivated and refined by education – every man loves womanhood itself, and all women so far as they approximate to his ideal; and that, in the same way, every woman loves manhood, and is attracted and charmed by all its gentle, noble and heroic manifestations.20

Thus in this case, homosexuality (un-named of course!) is effectively written out. There is not more than a hint here that there might be other options, that heterosexuality may not be the only choice. While the canny or knowledgeable reader may have been able to interpret his text, for the more naïve, the concept of homosexuality would probably have remained elusive.

Thus in this period, research has so far revealed little Antipodean analysis on homosexuality by the medical profession, in scholarly books, medical journals or self-help texts. If this was a period when concepts of homosexuality were, in Europe, medicalised, pathologised and institutionalised as deviant, the same cannot necessarily be said of Australia. Further there is scant evidence to suggest that wider medical concepts were absorbed (perhaps unconsciously) in the Antipodes, as part of the European intellectual legacy. The vast majority of publications did not write on sex or desire, nor on same-sex desire.

Nonetheless, evidence of engagement with broader Western models of sexuality appeared in the most improbable of places. In 1900 the Bulletin, the masculinist institution of turn-of-the-century Australia, included a surprisingly pithy commentary on Krafft-Ebing’s mammoth work on sexual pathology, Psychopathia Sexualis (1886). It is possibly true that the Bulletin was an eclectic paper which published all manner of unexpected articles, some of which were contradictory. Even so, this article, deeply embedded with European sexology, is unexpected in a journal that was often homosocial, but far from homosexual.21 In this article, the issue of sex was constructed as ‘a subject of paramount importance not only to the English, but to humanity’.22 Further, the article drew closely on Krafft-Ebing’s work, suggesting a familiarity with the specific sexological text and the wider examples of scientific writing on sex. But it was not necessarily quite so pathologising as Krafft-Ebing’s chronicle of perversity. It commented most explicitly on homosexuality, and it is worth noting these comments in full:

The best current hypothesis holds that at the time previous to birth when sex is decided, there is a strife between male and female germ-elements; and though the prepotent [sic] elements gain the victory, the elements of the vanquished sex are only subordinated, never destroyed. Every man has a latent woman in him; every woman has a latent man in her. Individuals are placed at varying points along the sliding-scale of sex. At one end the male victory is complete… at the other the female victory is complete… in the middle there has been a drawn battle, and you have the sex-invert, with the body of one sex, and the inner nature of another.23

The newer, less critical, less pathologising concept of inversion had clearly won the day for this anonymous writer. Indeed, while purporting to discuss Krafft-Ebing’s work, the author actually relied more heavily on models of inversion and the third sex, developed initially by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, and refined by sexologists and activists including Magnus Hirschfeld and Havelock Ellis. Within these theories of sexual inversion, homosexuality was constructed as innate and biological, and hence natural and acceptable. This was in direct contrast to Krafft-Ebing, who ultimately viewed homosexuality as degenerative, regressive and hence pathological.24

One can only wonder at how the readers received this article, for the peculiarity of such a close reading of medicalised sexological writings in a bush nationalist newspaper cannot be underestimated. And it is difficult to say whether this sole article is representative of a wider understanding of sexological theory. It would seem too optimistic to suggest that The Bulletin article is indicative of a wide acceptance of more tolerant theories of homosexuality, or to read this as evidence as a wide cultural shift towards understandings of inversion, rather than pathology. This article, rather, seems to be an anomaly in a society which more generally refused a discursive engagement with homosexuality, even within medicine. For, as we have seen, more generally, doctors, medical writers and popular considerations of health and medicine seem to have knowingly chosen not to write about male-to-male sex. It is clear from medical evidence at trials that many doctors were aware of the possibilities of sodomy. It is clear also in texts on medical jurisprudence.25 But they were not recording it in general commentaries on sex. The rest of this article is an attempt to explore reasons why this might be so.

Why So Hidden?

As Shirleene Robinson’s recent collection on homophobia suggests, there is generally no simple or linear response to homosexuality: there may be multiple levels of fear, ignorance, avoidance, anxiety and (sometimes) tolerance co-existing.26 It is likely therefore that medicine’s avoidance of homosexuality was complex, and here we will examine a number of possible reasons. Perhaps it is all simply a matter of timing: it is possible the Australian doctors were simply running behind the most cutting edge European scholarship. This is likely, given the fact that the British medical profession largely ignored homosexuality in the 1880s.27 Thus even as other European nations fruitfully engaged with the development of sophisticated scientific theories of sex and gender, colonial doctors probably followed the British model. This is unsurprising, given that most local doctors in this period were still educated in England and Scotland, and were influenced by British journals and training bodies, such as the local branches of the British Medical Association.28

Nonetheless, while British doctors became slowly more interested in alternative forms of sexuality, Australian doctors still lagged. There were, in the colonies, only a few doctors writing about sex – and many of these, like Beaney, were not always seen as quite respectable. The specific forms of medical expertise developed in the colonies can begin to explain the avoidance of sodomy in medical discourses. Doctors were still establishing themselves as scientific authorities, slowly but surely, and tended then to prefer areas of work that were respectable, safe and with tangible rewards. Further, there were substantial shortages of medical care in some areas, in particular in regional areas. In Queensland, even as late as 1897 there were only two hundred doctors covering half a million residents.29 This ensured that doctors were engaged with the most pragmatic work, with only the more elite urban professionals having the time or energy to explore more psychological or philosophical leanings.

So too, even when doctors did write about sex, they focused on the one form of socially respectable sex: the monogamous, heterosexual, married relationship. One of the key anxieties of the late nineteenth century was the declining birth rate.30 The few local sex guides in this period largely focused on educating citizens to ensure proper propagation, with pleasure coming a very distinct second to obligation. That myriad social, economic, political and medical anxieties coalesced on the importance of reproduction ensured the continued exclusion of alternative sexualities from national and authoritative discourses such as medicine. This resolute focus on reproduction and on the determined continuation of White Australia meant there was little room for discussion of other forms of desire.

It is not surprising then, that Australia produced no major sexologist until Norman Haire in the twentieth century. Nevertheless, there appears to be something rather more cultural in the continuing avoidance of homosexuality. If homosexuality was to some extent ‘unspeakable’ in England, it was much more so in Australia.31 The links between our colonial convict past and a fear of homosexuality have been well noted by historians: in the male dominated culture of the early colonies, sodomy appears to have been both common and anxiety producing.32 For those wanting to build an ‘Australia unlimited’ at the turn of the century, convictism (and its many evils) was best left far behind: any reminder of a convict heritage was silenced.

Yet colonial society retained at least a partial convict heritage. In particular, it remained a male dominated society, numerically and socially. At the turn into the twentieth century, colonial culture remained ostensibly homosocial. As historians have noted, the key social institutions and symbols of ‘Australianness’ were united in a theory of mateship. Mateship was predicated, in art and in practice, on the desire for masculine company and on the specific exclusion of women.33 Unsurprisingly, mateship can be readily linked to the homosocial and the homoerotic: we cannot be sure when the (homoerotic) mateship turns to (homosexual) desire. Yet ironically, the former – homoerotic mateship – seems to have silenced same-sex desire. In a Derridean conjuring trick, where one effectively negates – yet inherently requires – the other, homosexuality is hidden and silenced behind the broader appeal of mateship. As Australia sought a new and unique national identity before and at Federation in 1901, the emphasis was on the rugged masculinity of white frontier society, and all it had ‘achieved’. Again, this stress on a certain kind of masculinity – the bushman, and later the Anzac – unofficially censored other forms of masculinity, including homosexuality. So sodomy was to become great taboo: practiced, yet silent and absent in so many of the sources. The forms of masculinity idealised by the emerging Australian nation did not, could not, celebrate the homoerotic, effectively erasing both sodomy and homosexuality as a potential. It is notable too, that such a taboo was reflected in medicine: science, as always, was culturally informed in deep and often unexamined ways.


Most Australian accounts of sodomy and homosexuality prioritise legal sources. This is not surprising, for it is in the law courts that sodomy is most visible. This article is an attempt to broaden this analysis, to consider the medical understandings of sodomy outside of the courts. This has not been altogether successful – there is so much silence in the texts themselves. The Australian evidence suggests that the concept of homosexuality was not a focus in turn-of-the-century medical knowledge or practice. It is clear that many doctors had some awareness of homosexuality, and some may have had sophisticated understandings. Yet the sources suggest that at least some doctors had only a hazy knowledge of same-sex practices. If in Europe, sexology was key to defining and discussing the homosexual, in Australia medicine was (in this period at least) generally far less voluble.

Endnotes - Chapter 4

1 Dr Paul Ward Farmer, Three Weeks in the Kew Lunatic Asylum, Melbourne: John J. Halligan, 1900. In his chronicle of his incarceration, Farmer suggested his wife and nurse had conspired to institutionalise him, but it appears more likely that he was declared insane after cutting open a number of quite healthy patients.

2 Farmer, Three Weeks, p. 24.

3 Yorick Smaal, ‘Coding Desire: The Emergence of a Homosexual Subculture in Queensland, 1890–1914’, in Yorick Smaal and Belinda McKay, eds, Queer Queensland, Special Edition, Queensland Review, vol. 14, no. 2 (2007), pp. 13–28; Clive Moore, ‘That Abominable Crime: First Steps Towards a Social History of Male Homosexuals in Colonial Queensland, 1859–1900’, in Robert Aldrich, ed., Gay Perspectives II: More Essays In Australian Gay Culture, Sydney: Department of Economic History with the Australian Centre for Gay and Lesbian Research, University of Sydney, 1994, pp. 131–135; Bruce Baskerville, ‘“Agreed to Without Debate”: Silencing Sodomy in Colonial Western Australia’, in Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds, Gay and Lesbian Perspectives IV: Studies in Australian Culture, Sydney: Department of Economic History and Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research, University of Sydney, 1998, pp. 95–115.

4 There is some evidence to suggest that homosexuality was widely understood. For example, in court cases uncovered by Jill Bavin-Mizzi, some witnesses showed a clear knowledge of ‘buggery’ or at least of behaviour they felt to be sexually suspect. Yet Bavin-Mizzi also notes that crimes involving sodomy were often unreported in local presses, with newspapers reluctant to give specific details as they would for heterosexual crimes (though the Truth might be an exception here). Certainly oral histories from later in the century suggest at least some men and women did not have even a basic understanding of homosexuality. This debate over public knowledge does deserve further research. See, Jill Bavin-Mizzi, ‘An Unnatural Offence: Sodomy in Western Australia from 1880 to 1900’, Studies in Western Australian History, vol. xiv (1993), pp. 102–120. Oral histories that question non-homosexuals on their knowledge of homosexuality include interviews with Frank Campbell Opie and Dorothy Nosworthy, Mortlock Library of South Australia, J. D. Somerville Oral History Collection, verbatim transcript, 1982, Australia 1938 Oral History Project.

5 Havelock Ellis, ‘Preface to the First Edition’ [1901], Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversion, 2nd edn, Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 1913, p. v.

6 David F. Greenberg, The Construction of Homosexuality, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988, pp. 397–433; Jennifer Terry, An American Obsession: Science, Medicine and Homosexuality in Modern Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 40; Jonathan Katz, The Invention of Heterosexuality, New York: Dutton Books, 1995, p. 82; Jennifer Terry, ‘Anxious Slippages between “Us” and “Them”: A Brief History of the Scientific Search for Homosexual Bodies’, in Jennifer Terry and Jacqueline Urla Bloomington, eds, Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Differences in Science and Popular Culture, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995, p. 130.

7 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Volume I: An Introduction, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1987, p. 43.

8 Chauncey suggests, for example, that while ‘medical discourse was one of the most powerful anti-gay forces in American culture’, it had less influence before the mid-twentieth century. See, George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890–1940, New York: Basic Books, 1995, pp. 5, 125; See also, Joseph Bristow, ‘Remapping the Sites of Modern Gay History: Legal Reform, Medico-Legal Thought, Homosexual Scandal, Erotic Geography’, Journal of British Studies, vol. 46 (2007), pp. 116–142.

9 Terry, ‘Anxious Slippages’, pp. 131–132; Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle, London: Virago, 1992. There is a vast literature on Wilde.

10 Terry, ‘Anxious Slippages’, pp. 134–135.

11 ibid., p. 135.

12 Lisa Featherstone, ‘Pathologising White Male Sexuality in Late Nineteenth Century Australia through the Medical Prism of Excess and Constraint’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 41, no. 3 (2010), pp. 337–351.

13 See, on doctors in court cases, Bavin-Mizzi, ‘An Unnatural Offence’, pp. 108–109, 112; Adam Carr, ‘Policing the “Abominable Crime” in Nineteenth Century Victoria’, in David L. Phillips and Graham Willett, eds, Australia’s Homosexual Histories: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives V, Melbourne: Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research and the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 2000, p. 28; Yorick Smaal and Clive Moore, ‘Homophobia in Fin de Siècle Colonial Queensland’, in Shirleene Robinson, ed., Homophobia: An Australian History, Annandale, NSW: The Federation Press, 2008, pp. 76–78.

14 See, Bryan Gandevia, ‘James George Beaney’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, p. 125; C. Craig, ‘The Egrarious Dr Beaney of the Beaney Scholarships’, Medical Journal of Australia (MJA), vol. 1 (6 May 1950), pp. 593–598.

15 James George Beaney, The Generative System and its Functions in Health and Disease, Melbourne: F. F. Bailliere, 1875, pp. 331–332. For analysis of constructions of lesbians in Beaney, see, Lucy Chesser, ‘“What They Were Doing With Their Clothes Off I Don’t Know”: Homophobia, Lesbian History and Responses to “Lesbian-Like” Relationships, 1860s–1890s’, in Robinson, ed., Homophobia, pp. 45–46.

16 Beaney, The Generative System, pp. 331–332.

17 See, Ben Barker-Benfield, ‘The Spermatic Economy: A Nineteenth Century View of Sexuality’, Feminist Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (1972), pp. 45–74.

18 John William Springthorpe, ‘On the Psychological Aspect of the Sexual Appetite’, Australasian Medical Gazette (AMG) (October 1884), p. 9.

19 ibid.

20 Dr M. Lafayette Byrn, The Book of Nature: A Full and Explicit Explanation of all that can or ought to be known of the Structure and Uses of The Organs of Life and Generation in Man and Woman intended especially for the Married or Those Intending to Marry, Sydney: The Modern Medical Publishing Company, 1890, p. 44.

21 For broader ideas on this, see, Lisa Featherstone, ‘Sex and the Australian Legend: Masculinity and the White Man’s Body’, in Frank Bongiorno and David Andrew Roberts, eds, Russel Ward: Reflections on a Legend, Special Edition, Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. 10, no. 2 (2008), pp. 73–90.

22 ‘Sex’, The Red Page, Bulletin, 9 June 1900, p. 33.

23 ibid.

24 For a more detailed discussion of this, see, Terry, An American Obsession, pp. 43–47.

25 Bavin-Mizzi, ‘An Unnatural Offence’, pp. 131, 135.

26 Robinson, ed., Homophobia.

27 Lesley A. Hall, Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain Since 1880, Houndsmills: Macmillan Press, 2000, p. 34.

28 T. S. Pensabene, The Rise of the Medical Practitioner in Victoria, Canberra: The Australian National University, 1980, p. 57.

29 C. F. Marks, ‘Address in Medicine as a Department of State – A Suggestion’, AMG, February 1897, p. 89.

30 Lisa Featherstone, Breeding and Feeding: A Social History of Mothers and Medicine in Australia, 1880–1925, PhD Thesis, Macquarie University 2004; Neville Hicks, ‘This Sin and Scandal’: Australia’s Population Debate 1891–1911, Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1978.

31 Harry Cocks, ‘Calmus in Bolton: Spirituality and Homosexual Desire in Late Victorian England’, Gender and History, vol. 13, no. 2 (2001), p. 191.

32 Including Craig Johnston and Robert Johnston, ‘The Making of Homosexual Men’, in Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee, eds, Staining the Wattle: A People’s History of Australia since 1788, Melbourne: McPhee Gribble, 1988, pp. 90–91; Robert Aldrich, ‘Gay and Lesbian History’, in Robert Aldrich, ed., Gay Life and Culture: A World History, London: Thames and Hudson, 2006, pp. 19–20; Robert Aldrich, Colonialism and Homosexuality, London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 218–220.

33 Johnston and Johnston, ‘The Making of Homosexual Men’, p. 88; Linzi Murrie, ‘The Australian Legend: Writing Masculinity/Writing “Australian Masculine”’, Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 56 (1998), pp. 68–77; Clive Moore, ‘The Frontier Makes Strange Bedfellows: Masculinity, Mateship and Homosexuality in Colonial Queensland’, in Garry Wotherspoon, ed., Gay and Lesbian Perspectives III, Sydney: University of Sydney, 1996, pp. 25–30; Aldrich, Colonialism and Homosexuality, pp. 240–241.

Cite this chapter as: Featherstone, Lisa. 2011. ‘Even More Hidden from History? Male Homosexuality and Medicine in Turn-of-the-Century Australia’, in Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI, edited by Smaal, Yorick; Willett, Graham. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing. pp. 56–68.

Out Here: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives VI

   by Yorick Smaal, Graham Willett