American Psychiatric Association CEO Reflects on Homosexuality’s Removal From DSM on 40th Anniversary
On December 15, 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) courageously decided to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In this video (below), APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., recognizes the 40th anniversary of this historic move by thanking APA for its foresight at that time. By recognizing homosexuality as a normal variant of human sexuality it created a path to giving gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender individuals the marital and employment protections they deserve.
There is a fascinating documentary about this historic event called “81 Words: the inside story of psychiatry and homosexuality”. You can listen to Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
Before the APA’s landmark decision in 1973, health professionals ‘treatment’, to cure men of their homosexuality, included aversion therapies such as electric shocks or injections with vomit inducing drugs, lobotomies and castration. Many gay men submitted to years of these treatments, motivated by the fear that if ever they were caught with another man they would be publicly shamed, scandalised and imprisoned. Be cured or incarcerated was a strong motivation. Tragically in some cultures and places around the globe the motivation still exists.
There are also those still in religious circles today who see gays and lesbians as sick and believe they can be cured.
Currently Russia has legislated against gay people. Only last week, India’s Supreme Court re-introduced homosexuality as a criminal offence and for some time now, Uganda has been considering introducing the death penalty for repeat offenders.
Yes…so celebrate but also be aware there is still much to do.
© Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b, Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’, details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award. He is also the founder and director of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.