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Moss, D. (2002). Letters. Am. Imago, 59(4):495-498.

(2002). American Imago, 59(4):495-498


Donald Moss

To the Editor:

I am writing to protest what seems to me the blatant homophobia that pervades John Gedo's review (Spring 2002) of Charles B. Strozier's biography, Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst. Dr. Gedo uses the words “homosexual” or “homoerotic” five times in his review, and, in each case, the prefix “homo-” is conceptually gratuitous and serves to make the root word into a pejorative term. I find this unacceptable. What follows are five examples from the review:

(1)  On page 94, Dr. Gedo is addressing the question of Kohut's childhood. He cites four pathogenic, burdensome features of Kohut's early years. The first three are an absent father, the affairs of his parents, and a mother with a “core of psychosis.” The fourth feature, inexplicably, is “a homosexual relationship that he came to regard, on balance, as helpful to him.” What would Dr. Gedo have us conclude from his inclusion of this “helpful” relationship in such a series?

(2)  On page 98, Dr. Gedo writes of Kohut's “perverse (masochistic) fantasies or homosexual behavior with idealized partners or both.” If Dr. Gedo's point is simply to elaborate on Kohut's alleged misuse of people, then surely “sexual behavior” would have been a sufficient description. By saying “homosexual,” however, Dr. Gedo puts same-sex object choice on a par with “perverse” and “masochistic” tendencies. There can be no justification for this association except perhaps Dr. Gedo's private feelings about homosexuality, which are, at best, superfluous and on their face prejudicial.

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