In 1955 Donald West, psychiatrist and criminologist, published his classic work, Homosexuality, which argued for tolerance at a time when gays in the UK were pariahs socially and criminals legally.
Now, over fifty-five years later, he can write openly as a gay man describing his simultaneous pursuit of a secret, fraught love-life and a precarious professional career. In investigations of the paranormal, researches into the roots of delinquency, studies of sexual crime and of society’s response to sexual abuse, he advances some unorthodox ideas.
A a younger socially withdrawn gay man, he found himself attracted to studies of the psychological problems of sexual and social outcasts – his research among social deviants includes ground-breaking works such as The Habitual Prisoner (1963) and The Young Offender (1967). In 1961, he initiated a fifty year follow-up of the lives of a sample of London boys – the early stages of which were published in The Delinquent Way of Life (1977). Further research sex studies included a survey of London rent boys, Male Prostitution, published in 1992.
Now he gives a raw account of a fraught private life of love and sex, constantly under threat of public exposure, and tells how this interacted with a professional career.
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