Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Richard C. Friedman (1941–2020), doctor who showed homosexuality was biological
Gerald Slater

Richard C. Friedman (1941–2020), doctor who showed homosexuality was biological

by Linnea Crowther

Richard C. Friedman was a psychiatrist whose groundbreaking 1988 book, “Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytic Perspective,” showed that homosexuality was largely biological, rather than a perversion that needed to be cured.

Motivated by science

Friedman built his work on scientific study of LGBTQ people, using studies of identical twins to investigate sexual orientation as a biological phenomenon. His conclusion was supported by the American Psychiatric Association, which had stopped referring to homosexuality as a disorder more than a decade before Friedman’s study. But in everyday practice, many psychiatrists still held the Freudian view that homosexuality was a pathology. Friedman’s book changed the world for the LGBTQ community, leading to a sea change in the way psychiatrists worked with their LGBTQ patients.

What people said about him

Full obituary: The New York Times

Advertisement

More Stories