It is astonishing to know that, for nearly a century, the American Psychiatric Association held that homosexuality was a mental disorder and identified it as such in the DSM. It wasn’t until 1973 that it was removed from DSM III, just 48 years ago. That reversal was the result of gay activism that stemmed from the 1969 Stonewall Riots, along with the speech given anonymously by 34-year-old gay psychiatrist Dr. John Fryer at the annual 1972 APA convention in Dallas, TX. What followed was the unraveling of a legal basis for discrimination.
Unfortunately, the United States still has no federal law prohibiting discrimination nationwide other than from federal executive orders, which have a more limited scope than protections through federal legislation. And across the nation, anti-LGBTQ+ laws are being proposed and codified. We know that being LGBTQ+ is not pathological, but politicizing people’s identities and discrimination has a negative impact on mental health. Organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association and Mental Health America have educational resources and toolkits for working with LGBTQ+ patients. If you missed it last month, keep an eye out for COM-T’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Med Safe Zone Training, which covers terms and concepts relevant to LGBTQ+ identities, an exercise on the different lived experiences for LGBTQ+ populations, and how to become a better ally.
For further reading, see the PBS page Milestones in the American Gay Right Movement.
Friday, June 17, 2022 - 3:45pm