Elusive handwritten letter from Sigmund Freud on homosexuality: "I cannot agree with your calling homosexuality a vice or a crime. It is neither...several of the greatest men in history were homosexuals"
ALS in German, signed “Prof. Freud,” one page both sides, 8.75 x 11.25, personal letterhead, December 6, 1938. A handwritten letter addressed from his London home at 20 Maresfield Gardens, in full (translated): “I'm happy to provide some clarifications as well as I can. I cannot agree with your calling homosexuality a vice or a crime. It is neither, regardless of the legislation in different countries. But it is an unfortunate trait, and efforts to overcome it are justified. If only it were achieved so easily!
Psychoanalysis has helped overcome it in rare cases; in numerous others it succeeded in reinforcing simultaneously existing heterosexual instincts to the point where the subjects were able to live bisexually. In most cases [psychoanalysis] has no influence over the abnormal tendency. Since this psychological treatment takes extended time and is costly as well, it will probably not provide you the answer you are looking for. The case may be different for your friend. Since he is so much younger, his decision may not be definitive yet, and you assume a degree of responsibility if you settle him with degeneration which will only reinforce his homosexuality. Advice will get you nowhere. The two of you will have to wait and see which inclination is stronger. The homosexual's case in today's society is not as hopeless as it may seem to you. In every country there is a large number of such individuals who, while outside of the norm in that one point, in all others pass muster and distinguish themselves through remarkable accomplishments, as evidenced by the fact that several of the greatest men in history were homosexuals. Even more frequently you will see men for a period of their lives follow one sexual inclination only to trade it in later on for the other. But they also often remain receptive to both sexes — meaning they remain bisexual. It is important not to overlook the fact that a certain degree of propensity toward the homosexual object is part and parcel of the constitution of the so-called normal man. Instead of the requested advice, I hope these thoughts will enlighten you.” In fine condition.
Accompanied by a 2003 letter from Erica Davies, the director of the Freud Museum, who notes that the letter “was written at a time when, despite his age and his terrible illness Freud, was remarkably active. On the day he wrote the letter, Tuesday 6 December, his beloved dog, Lün Yi, returned from quarantine. In the evening he attended a concert given at Maresfield Gardens by the Icelandic singer, Engel Lund.” Davies concludes by offering to display the letter as part of an exhibition at the museum.