Queer Ink: The Rorschach and Gay Liberation at Freud Museum London

Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens
Event time
Patron of the Museum
Friend of the Museum
31 Aug 2019

The Rorschach ink blot test is one of the most famous psychological tests and it has a surprisingly queer history. In mapping this history, author Katherine Hubbard will outline how this test, once used to detect and diagnose ‘homosexuality’, was later used by some psychologists and activists to fight for gay liberation. This talk will specifically explore the Rorschach in yet another way, as a lens through which we can reveal a queer feminist, and woman-centric history of Psychology.

Arguments and findings from Queer Ink: A Blotted History Towards Liberation (in press) will detail several key historical moments where ink blots and gay rights activists came into contact. This includes: which ‘signs’ in the Rorschach were thought to indicate ‘homosexuality’; the psychological research which utilised ink blots to show lesbians were not pathological; and the use of ink blots on the cover of Arena Three, Britain’s first lesbian magazine.

Katherine A. Hubbard is a feminist academic in the Sociology department at the University of Surrey. Her book Queer Ink: A Blotted History Towards Liberation  is an accumulation of doctoral and post-doctoral research about the Rorschach inkblot test and gay liberation in Britain. She has a wide range of interests including the history of Psychology, the sociology of Gender, LGBTQ Psychology, and queer feminist history. Her current research project is looking at the experiences of queer women working in Psychology in the mid 20th Century.