Kurt Freund, born on January 17th, 1914, was a pioneering sexologist in studies of sexual arousal and male sexual orientation. He was one of the first in his field to suggest that homosexuality was congenital rather than the result of early childhood experiences, and his research helped lead to the decriminalization of homosexual behavior in Czechoslovakia in 1961 as well as, arguably, the American Psychiatric Assosiation's subtraction of homosexuality from their list of psychiatric disorders in 1973. His most known work was on the phallometric testing system, penile plethysmography, which is a semi reliable method of determining sexual arousal that can be used in some sexual offense cases. He invented it for the Czechoslovakian government to test the sexuality of men claiming to be homosexual to avoid the draft.
Born in Chudrim, Czechoslovakia, Freund received his M.D. and later his D.Sc. in Prague at Charles University. His major problems with political conflicts started with World War 2, when much of his family was killed during the Holocaust. Then, in 1968, he fled to Germany in the wake of the Prague Spring and moved on to Toronto, Canada later that year. In Toronto, he was made head of the Social Pathology department at the Clarke Instutue of Psychiatry. When he resigned from there in 1995 due to health complications, his patient database was over 8,000 records strong. In 1996, at age 82, he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and commited suicide on October 23rd. His place at the Clarke institute was taken by his protege, Ray Blanchard.