Homosexual panic  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Homosexual panic is a term, first coined by psychiatrist Edward J. Kempf in 1920, describing an acute, brief reactive psychosis suffered by the target of unwanted homosexual advances. Despite the psychotic nature of the disorder, Kempf called it "acute homosexual panic". The disorder is also known in Kempf's honour as "Kempf's disease".

Breakdowns often occur in situations that involve enforced intimacy with the same sex, such as dormitories or military barracks. It was most common during the mass mobilization of World War II when barracks typically provided little privacy with communal showers and often without doors or even cubicles around toilets.

The stresses of war and crowded all-male living conditions seem to have prompted numerous cases of "acute anxiety states" with "homosexual panic." The term first appeared in Dr. Edward Kempf's textbook Psychopathology (1920), which described typical cases in which a young man became convinced that friends or comrades believed he was homosexual, stared at him oddly, whispered insults like "cock sucker," "woman," "fairy," and tried to engage him in fellatio or sodomy. Kempf explained that it resulted from "the pressure of uncontrollable perverse sexual cravings."

This condition has been used in criminal cases as a gay panic defense, though its validity has been challenged in some jurisdictions.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Homosexual panic" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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