Short Portrait: Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg

Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg
Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg

Gisela Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg (born August 2, 1929), M. A., Ph.D., is a German sociologist, ethnologist, sexologist, and writer further specializing into the fields of psychology, Indo-European studies, religious studies, and philosophy, since 1980 also increasingly anthropology. As Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg uses these approaches in research particularly in the fields of sexology, homophobia, and prejudice studies, the US Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (SOLGA; formerly Anthropology Research Group on Homosexuality, ARGOH)[1] of the American Anthropological Association ranked Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg's works on homophobia as internationally outstanding

Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg studied sociology, psychology, ethnology, religious studies, philosophy and Indogermanistik (an interdisciplinarian German subject, not identical with purely linguistic Indo-European studies in Anglophone countries, consisting of historical, sociological, cultural, religious, ethnological, philological, and linguistic study relating to Proto-Indo-European and Indo-European peoples and Indo-European languages) in Bonn.[3]

In 1969, Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg graduated at the University of Bonn, receiving her Magister artium (comparable to a Master's degree in the Anglo-American educational system) for her thesis Homosexualität und Transvestition im Schamanismus ("Homosexuality and transvestition in shamanism"). In 1970, she received her Ph.D. for her doctoral dissertation on Sexuelle Abartigkeit im Urteil der abendländischen Religions-, Geistes-, und Rechtsgeschichte im Zusammenhang mit der Gesellschaftsentwicklung ("The religious, philosophical, and legal construction of sexual deviance in interdependence with the development of Western society").

After university studies Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg became a scientific assistant at the Sociological Institute of Bonn University, and worked as a sociologist, writer, and independent journalist, holding memberships in a number of scientific and political organizations. She was a leading member of German Society for Social-Scientific Sexuality Research. During the late 1980s, Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg was a member of the German-parliament commissioned Enquetekommission AIDS, an inquiry commission researching into the disease's social, legal, and public health care consequences and challenges, a cooperation which spawned her 1989 book Angst und Vorurteil (see below).

Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg is married and lives in Germany.

Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg's main works consist of the following publications:
1978 (reprinted 1981): Tabu Homosexualität - Die Geschichte eines Vorurteils ("The taboo of homosexuality: The history of a prejudice"),
1980 (reprinted 1985): Mannbarkeitsriten: Zur institutionellen Päderastie bei Papuas und Melanesiern ("Rites of passage into manhood: On institutional paederasty in Papuas and Melanesians"),
1984: Der Weibmann - Kultischer Geschlechtswechsel im Schamanismus, eine Studie zur Transvestition und Transsexualität bei Naturvölkern ("Androgynous: Cultic sex change in shamanism, a study on transvestism and transsexualism in primitives"; enlarged version of Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg's 1969 MA thesis)
1985: Der pädophile Impuls - Wie lernt ein junger Mensch Sexualität? (published enlarged in English in 1988, reprint 1997, as The paedophile impulse: Toward the Development of an Aetiology of Child-Adult Sexual Contacts from an Ethological and Ethnological Viewpoint)
1986: Preface to the German edition Pädosexuelle Erlebnisse: Aus einer Untersuchung der Reichsuniversität Utrecht über Sexualität in pädophilen Beziehungen (published by the German family planning/sex ed organization Pro Familia) of the first preliminary report to Theo Sandfort's Dutch long-term research study published in English as The sexual aspect of paedosexual relations: The experiences of 25 boys with men (1981, English edition 1st reprint 1983, 2nd reprint 1987; further publicated update reports by Sandfort on the on-going long-term study in 1987,[6] 1992,[7] 1994,[8] 2000[9])
1989: Angst und Vorurteil - AIDS-Ängste als Gegenstand der Vorurteilsforschung ("Fear and prejudice: AIDS paranoia analyzed by the field of academic prejudice studies")
1990: Vom Schmetterling zur Doppelaxt - Die Umwertung von Weiblichkeit in unserer Kultur ("From butterfly to battle-axe: The degradation of the female in Western culture")

Of interest to Anglophone readers might also be Bleibtreu-Ehrenberg's English-language publications not mentioned above:
1987: New research into the Greek institution of pederasty, in: One-off Publication of the International Scientific Conference on Gay and Lesbian Studies "Homosexuality: Which Homosexuality?", Amsterdam.
1990: Pederasty among primitives: Institutionalized initiation and cultic prostitution, in: Journal of Homosexuality, no. 20. Reprinted in: Theo Sandfort, Edward Brongersma, Alex van Naerssen (eds.). Male intergenerational intimacy - Historical, socio-psychological, and legal perspectives, Harrington Park Press, New York and London. ISBN 0-918393-78-7

(source: text taken over from Wikipedia, Dec 2012; photo source: