Humphrey's Tearoom Trade

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Although Laud Humphreys Tearoom Trade, the public sex act between two anonymous men, resulted in a social movement, his entire research method was unethical. Because of Laud Humphreys Tearoom Trade, many stereotypes of homosexuals were destroyed, but the research did not follow proper procedure.

Laud Humphrey was an American sociologist and author. He was born on October 16, 1930, and later died on August 23, 1988 from lung cancer complications. Laud Humphrey was born as Robert Allan Humphreys, but took the name of "Laud" from the seventeenth century Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, when he was baptized again to enter into the Episcopal Church. Humphreys learned young that after his step-mother died in 1953, his father began making regular trip to New Orleans in order to have sex with men; such acts of homosexuality were not expected out of a Politician in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The new information that Humphreys learned of his father caused him great interest in the subject, and led to the hypothesis of his empirical research. (Anonymous, 2006)

Humphreys graduated from Chickasha High School in Oklahoma in 1948, Colorado College in 1952, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois in 1955, and then found interest in graduate work in the sociology field at Washington University in Saint Louis in 1965. In 1968, Humphreys was to research male on male sex in public restrooms around the Saint Louis area. Humphreys' Ph.D. research was supervised by Lee Rainwater, a professor at Washington University in Saint Louis. (Sullivan, 1999) In 1968, when Humphreys began his research, the norm was that people believed there were no gays, and Humphreys wanted to prove that gays do exist; he wanted for society to have at least an understanding of gay men and what caused them to feel as though that had to seek out quick and impersonal sex. Humphreys began his research primarily in the restrooms of public parks within a large city. He would...
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