13th July 2015, 3:58 PM by Nick Duffy
Martin Luther King addressed homosexuality in an advice column
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once answered a question from a boy who was struggling to cope with his sexuality.
The rights hero openly discussed homosexuality while writing an advice column for Ebony Magazine in 1958 – while the government was still openly discriminating against LGBT people.
According to a transcript released by Stanford University, the boy asked: “My problem is different from the ones most people have.
“I am a boy, but I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do? Is there any place where I can go for help?”
Dr King responded: “Your problem is not at all an uncommon one. However, it does require careful attention. The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired.
“Your reasons for adopting this habit have now been consciously suppressed or unconsciously repressed.
“Therefore, it is necessary to deal with this problem by getting back to some of the experiences and circumstances that lead to the habit.
“In order to do this I would suggest that you see a good psychiatrist who can assist you in bringing to the forefront of conscience all of those experiences and circumstances that lead to the habit.
“You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognise the problem and have a desire to solve it.”
Though his suggestion of psychiatry may seem extreme by modern standards, his response is moderate by the standards of 1958.
US President Barack Obama has previously cited progress on gay rights while paying tribute to Martin Luther King – but King’s niece is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage.