Evelyn Hooker Residence | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Bruce Scottow/L.A. Conservancy

Evelyn Hooker Residence

The Colonial Revival-style residence at 400 South Saltair Avenue was home for a number of years to pioneering psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker. Though little is known about her home, her research on the psychology of gay men played a key role in changing public perceptions of homosexuality.

Nebraska-born Evelyn Hooker (1907-1996) first moved to California in the fall of 1934 to teach in the psychology departments of Whittier College and the University of Californa, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. Hooker supported local homophile organizations, including the Mattachine Society. Her passion for social justice arose after witnessing the effects of Nazism in Berlin during the late 1930s, while she was in the country completing a fellowship.

In 1953, Dr. Hooker received a six-month grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a study on levels of adjustment between heterosexual and homosexual men. In her groundbreaking work, "The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual," Dr. Hooker found no difference in adjustment levels between heterosexual and homosexual men.

These results were groundbreaking. They invalidated the popular sentiment that homosexuality was a form of severe mental and emotional illness that stemmed from maladjustment (the inability to cope with changes in life, such as transitioning from one phase of life to the next or facing other obstacles). 

The findings of Dr. Hooker's research also suggested that non-hetersoexual men were actually more likely to be better adjusted then their heterosexual counterparts by virtue of their involvement in homophile organizations such as the Mattachine Society, Knights of the Clock, and advocacy groups such as the Gay Liberation Front.

Numerous organizations involved in the LGBTQ civil rights movement used this research to further their cause.

 

Dr. Evelyn Hooker's work within the academic communinty has had a substantial impact in shaping how non-heterosexuals are viewed within academia and medicine, and how as a collective they are treated by heteronormative society. 

In 1967, Dr. Hooker was appointed head of an NIH study group on homosexuality, which recommended the repeal of sodomy laws and that the public receive more adequate education about homosexuality.

She won the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. She also received the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's highest award for her work in legitimizing homosexuality as a valid field of study.

 

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Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

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