The History of Homosexuality and the DSM
Why the psychological community needs to step up as LGBT+ allies
The diagnosis of homosexuality was taken out of the DSM in 1973 in response to the action shown by queer activists. Activists during this time were trying to show that homosexuality being in the DSM added to the anti-homosexual social stigma. In 1990, the Worlds Health Organization removed homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases. Sadly, conversations about homosexuality since medical and psychiatric acceptance have allowed for debates from religious and governmental perspectives.
People generally accept LGBT+ people in our modern society, even with the conversation around LGBT+ rights becoming more political. This acceptance also allowed people in the medical and psychiatric field to change the questions they were asking from “what causes homosexuality? And “how do we treat it?” to how to support the mental and physical health of the LGBT+ community.
In the first edition of the DSM, homosexuality was considered unnatural, with heterosexuality being the norm. The 1960s, with several civil rights movements happening around the country, especially in New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, encouraged queer activists to stand up to the APA and fight for homosexuality to be taken out of the DSM. Much of the pain towards the LGBT+ community was due to the societal stigma of homosexuality being a mental illness.
People in the LGBT+ community have felt othered throughout history with a greater risk of encountering different forms of violence and struggles with suicidality. The question of how to fix homosexuality has caused so much pain to queer people with varying forms of shame and conversion therapy forced upon them. Additionally, events like the AIDS crisis brought little physical and mental help to those watching their friends die throughout this crisis.
Though the change in the DSM-5 of Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Dysphoria is a step in the right direction, it still poses challenges for members of the trans community.
“As long as gender variance is characterized by the medical field as a mental condition, transgender people will find their identities invalidated by claims that they are…