Homosexual panic

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This article is about 'homosexual panic' or 'gay panic' as a mental disorder. For information about the legal defense against accusation of violent crimes, see gay panic defense.

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.[1][2] 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 were said to occur in situations that involve sexual assault by the same sex, such as dormitories or military barracks.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kaplan, H.I. et al. ed. (1980), Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, third edition Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore - London.
  2. ^ Chuang HT, Addington D. (Oct 1988). "Homosexual panic: a review of its concept". Can J Psychiatry. 33 (7): 613–7. PMID 3197016. 
  3. ^ Rosario, Vernon (Fall 1999). "Rise and Fall of the Medical Model; Essay presents medical views on homosexuality from an historical and psychological perspectives". Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review VI: 31. ISSN 1077-6591. "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.""