An Italian Public Prosecutor has exonerated Dr. Silvana De Mari of charges of defamation after the physician declared that homosexuality is a pathology.
The LGBT advocacy group Torino Pride brought the accusation of defamation against Dr. De Mari, alleging that she had effectively defamed the character of gays by declaring homosexuality to be an illness.
After months of deliberation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has ruled that the statements by the 64-year-old doctor and author did not constitute defamation because of the impossibility of identifying the individuals who would have possibly suffered injury from the claim.
In her defense, Dr. De Mari said that homosexuality is clearly not a normal condition, while also citing her own expertise in the matter.
“I have three specialties: psychotherapy, medicine and surgery,” De Mari said. “I have been taking care of homosexual persons for 40 years.”
While De Mari’s thesis on the abnormality of homosexuality has been a matter of public record, she gained further notoriety when interviewed on the Italian radio show La Zanzara, during which she declared that “gays live a tragic condition.”
Pro LGBT groups have denounced Dr. De Mari as “homophobic,” insisting that her statements provoke discrimination and “racial hatred.”
Sigmund Freud was famously ambivalent in his evaluation of homosexuality, at times denying it is a pathology and other times seeming to suggest otherwise.
In Freud’s “Letter to a Mother of a Homosexual,” the founder of psychoanalysis wrote to an American woman that homosexuality “is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation,” and that “it cannot be classified as an illness.” Freud then added that the homosexual condition “is produced by a certain arrest of sexual development.”
While strongly opposed to the social intolerance of homosexuals, Freud considered homosexuality to be a “perversion” in the psychoanalytic sense of the term, meaning a condition that includes self-object limitations, narcissism, and an underdeveloped superego.
“The common characteristic of all perversions,” Freud wrote, “is that they have abandoned reproduction as their aim. We term sexual activity perverse when it has renounced the aim of reproduction and follows the pursuit of pleasure as an independent goal.”
Freud was convinced that homosexuality in males arose as a result of familial circumstances that failed to facilitate normal affective maturity, namely an overly attentive mother figure and a distant father figure, asserting that “all the investigations undertaken so far have yielded the same surprising result.”
“In all our male homosexual cases the subjects had had a very intense erotic attachment to a female person, as a rule their mother,” he wrote. “This attachment was evoked or encouraged by too much tenderness on the part of the mother herself, and further reinforced by the small part played by the father during their childhood.”
The lawyer representing the case of Torino Pride, Nicolò Ferraris, has continued to assert that Doctor De Mari had no right to express an idea that many people find offensive.
“The offenses pronounced publicly by De Mari are aimed at LGBT movements and not only at LGBT people, and they are not opinions but offenses,” he said.
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