Friday, November 20, 2009

The Homosexual Matrix

The late C. A. Tripp’s The Homosexual Matrix was one of the first publications to treat homosexuality in a matter-of-fact way.

Tripp showed an impressive grasp of sources and information. The calm sanity of tone, the enormous breadth of information, the continual insistence on the variety of the human is very impressive.

He attempted to tackle the question of what causes heterosexuality and homosexuality—surely the right approach. Alas, there was simply not sufficient scientific information for him to use. And, alas, he accepts John Money’s claims about the pliability of gender assignment that have since been comprehensively discredited.

The coverage of historical and anthropological data is very impressive—I was amused by the passages detailing how standard translations of Plato take the homosexual references out. Tripp very much brings home, in his discussion of the rich variety of human social forms, what an outrageous lie the claims that repression of homosexuals and homosexuality is needed to “protect” the family and procreation are. (There is even evidence that positively correlates fertility rates with homosexual activity.)

Tripp is very critical of much psychiatry and therapy, regarding it as either poorly supported by scientific evidence or flatly contradictory to it. His background in sex research makes him particularly scathing about the lack of evidentiary basis. Often, he suggests, it is not much more than the rationalisation and enforcement of conventional mores. He is particularly scathing on the matter of “cures” for homosexuality (which remain as mythical now as then, despite earnest attempts to believe in them).

Tripp discusses inversion (not a concept much used nowadays) and effeminacy, but mainly to distinguish them from homosexuality. He contains quite discussion of various forms of psychological resistance, both with reference to sexual performance as well as evidence and information. His discussion of the reactions to Kinsey’s research is quite enlightening.

While some of the book is outdated, there is still much useful information. The general tone of sanity and simple humanity is not the least of The Homosexual Matrix virtues.


  1. Not only Tripp's and your wise observations, but there is such a dearth of science relating to the formation of sexual orientation that the vast majority of it is hypothesizing.

    When we don't know, we should admit it. What we don't know should powerfully caution us against claims of contra-knowldge. Agnosco! But let's look at what we do know. Homosexuality is as real as heterosexuality. Usual coital styles and baby production are the only real differences.

    When we are experienced, knowledgeable, and, above all, open minded, that is, honest, it is the reality of variety in gender orientation that matters, and the ignorant and nasty practices of a large majority against a minority simply because of number differences is always ignorant and wrong. Also, biologically, psychologically, and/or sociologically, the causes of homosexuality are no less real or important than the ways those factors play in the development of heterosexuality.

    After all, homosexuals are born to and raised by heterosexuals. Are they to be considered trash and eliminated to dumps?

    1. Well put. The science of sexual orientation is advancing, but slowly.