Ethical Issues

The practice of medicine involves a body of knowledge, a body of practitioners, and the people who seek healthcare services. Homosexuality is of moral interest to medicine in all these areas. The term homosexuality was coined in 1869 by Karoly Maria Benkert to refer to same-sex eroticism, and it has prevailed over other proposed names, such as sodomy, contrary sexual feeling, inversion, and Uranism (Kennedy). To be sure, same-sex eroticism predates contemporary terminology and has a long—if contested—cultural history. The relationship between medicine and homosexuality has reflected both cultural prejudices as well as scientific advances.

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