A crucial turning point in the history of LGBT political activism was the decision by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 to declare that homosexuality was no longer considered a mental disorder.
The late Dr Charles Socarides, clinical professor of psychiatry and a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, documented in detail the history behind the APA decision from a firsthand-witness vantage point. Along with a few other prominent psychiatrists including Irving Bieber, he tried to prevent the APA change, but their attempts were ignored or dismissed. All of the psychiatrists understood the motivating force that drove the decision-- particularly, empathy for a population that was suffering from social discrimination-- but they also knew that the decision, although motivated by benign impulses, would have unintended and far-reaching consequences.
Forty-five years ago, Dr Socarides predicted that if homosexuality was removed, the consequences would include:
- Our understanding of what is healthy, normal or abnormal sexual behavior would have to be altered.
- Sex education would have to teach homosexual conduct as normal.
- Homosexuals wanting help would be in despair, because all of sudden, they wouldn't have a condition that would justify treatment.
- Dissatisfied homosexuals would be dissuaded from seeking therapy.
- Suicides among persons with gender-identity disorder might increase.
- Other medical disciplines would be affected, such as pediatrics.
- Student doctors with a traditional understanding of sexuality would be unwilling to enter psychiatry out of fear of being branded bigoted.
How true were his predictions?
Socarides, Charles, "Sexual Politics and Scientific Logic: The Issue of Homosexuality," 1992.