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Faculty Publication: Associate Professor of History Anita Kurimay

April 21, 2023

From Hormone Shots to Cruising Tips: Hungarian Experts and Homosexuality in Late State-Socialism

Author: Anita Kurimay

Source: Contemporary European History, Article Number: PII S0960777322000947, DOI: 10.1017/S0960777322000947, March 2023

Type of Publication: Article

Abstract: This paper is about a remarkable file, 'Interviews with Homosexuals', in the bequest of Laszlo Cseh-Szombathy (1925-2007), who was internationally renowned and one of Hungary's most celebrated sociologists. Looking at the ways in which the interviews and the conceptual framework of the questions asked by Cseh-Szombathy were crafted, along with the interviewees' answers to those questions, the article investigates the interaction of sexual experts and male homosexuals in late socialist-state Hungary. The author contends that, at the same time as sexual experts had historically fuelled and contributed to homophobia, sexual experts during late state-socialism also became the primary agents who started to speak out against the pathologisation of homosexuality and played a crucial role in facilitating homosexual men's exploration of sexual identity and self-acceptance. The paper highlights how Hungarian sexological experts engaged in productive dialogue with their patients and interview subjects, which shaped sexological expertise on homosexuality.

Anita Kurimay is an associate professor of history and director of gender and sexuality studies.

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