Evelyn Hooker's Remarks
on the Occasion of the
First Placek Awards

(August 1995)
Now, for the first time in history, a gay man has left a large fortune for research to "increase the understanding of the general public of gay and lesbian lives, and the decrease the stress under which they live." Today we celebrate the first research awards. Some of you will be asking "Who was Wayne F. Placek?"

He was the gay son of a wealthy Nebraska agribusinessman. Thus he could travel, and frequently did, to Southern California where he enjoyed life in the gay community, and was well known at One, Inc. He also volunteered for my research project in the late fifties. Many years later, in his mid-eighties, he asked me to name a committee which would be responsible for locating the large bequest which would become availble on his death. Of the original names on that committee only Steve Morin and I survive.

Today we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Steve Morin and Douglas Kimmel who worked very hard with Lisa Straus, the director of the American Psychological Foundation, in locating the research funds there. Finally, all of us who have worked on APF committees here know what a pleasure and privilege it is to work with Lisa Straus.

Note: Because of her frail health, Evelyn Hooker was unable to attend the 1995 convention of the American Psychological Association, where the first winners of the annual Placek Award (Lee Badgett and Josh Gamson) were announced. However, she sent the above comments to Gregory Herek, chairperson of the Scientific Review Committee, to be read aloud. In an accompanying note, she wrote "How I would love to be there! Say that for me." In that note, she also reflected on having helped to review the 1995 award applications the previous week and explained why she framed her comments as she did:
I am so much aware of the history and the achievements by gays and lesbians in the last 30-35 years, and of my hopes for them, that I could not refrain from making this occasion symbolic of that achievement. From where I sit, and sat last weeked, that achievement is really of heroic dimensions. It is 40 years since I began. And then it would have been unthinkable that a gay or lesbian person could dare to propose on his or her own predicament. And lo and behold – here in 1995 are 25 good research proposals for money provided by one of their own. I don't know of an analogy. There may be one. I am profoundly moved by thinking about how marvelous it is that we have come this far – by we I mean our society as a whole and the gay and lesbian community in particulr. Do give my congratulations to Dr. Badgett and Dr. Gamson.
  About Evelyn Hooker
  Recipients of the Wayne F. Placek Award 1995-2007
  American Psychological Foundation Awards
  Call for Proposals: Wayne F. Placek Award
  Call for Proposals: Placek Small Grant
  Contact the American Psychological Foundation
  Other funding sources
Home  |  Hate Crimes  |  AIDS  |  Sacramento  |  The Facts  |  Military  |  Sexual Prejudice

Blog   |   Contents   |   Publications   |   Library   |   Site Search   |   Contact Us   |   Useful Links   |   APF Awards