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George Weinberg (May 17, 1929 – March 20, 2017) was a Jewish-American psychologist. He was the author of several books. He coined the term "homophobia" in the 1960s, it first appearing in the press in 1969.
George Weinberg was born on May 17, 1929, to a Jewish family. His father, Frederick Weinberg, was a lawyer while his mother, Lillian Hyman, was a secretary for a law firm. He grew up without his father in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. Weinberg graduated from City College of New York, and went on to earn a master's degree in English from New York University in 1951, where he also studied statistics at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He subsequently earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Weinberg's extensive background in mathematics was reflected in his doctoral thesis, "Clinical versus Statistical Prediction in Psychology", and he later wrote the textbook, Statistics, An Intuitive Approach.
Weinberg coined the term "homophobia". He began contemplating it after remembering having witnessed abhorrence towards a lesbian friend while preparing to deliver a speech in 1965. The word was first printed in Screw on May 5, 1969, followed by Time a few months later. Gay Times stated after his death in 2017 that he invented it in 1965. By 1972, Weinberg explained the use of term in Society and the Healthy Homosexual. He suggested that those who harbor prejudice against homosexuals, and not homosexuals themselves, are suffering from a psychological malady, an irrational state of mind. Weinberg, though heterosexual himself, became a leader in the ultimately successful struggle to have homosexuality removed as a diagnostic category from the DSM, the professional therapeutic handbook. He was instrumental in shifting public perception of homosexuality. Weinberg's widely read, seminal 1984 book, The Heart of Psychotherapy, described innovative therapeutic methods that de-emphasize traditional therapy's approach. He instead presented immediately practical tools that patients can use to help themselves.
Photo by Robert Giard
Weinberg was married to Dianne Rowe. He died of cancer on March 20, 2017.
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