San Diego – Reuters reports that the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) apologized June 21st for previously treating homosexuality as a mental illness, saying its past errors contributed to discrimination and trauma for LGBT people. It may be the first US medical or mental health organization to issue such an apology. Although psychiatrists declassified homosexuality as a disorder in 1973 and psychoanalysts came around nearly 20 years later, the APsaA says it is unaware of any related professional group that had apologized.
“It is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, ‘We are sorry,’” said a statement by Dr. Lee Jaffe, president of APsaA. The group uses that abbreviation to distinguish it from the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Jaffe announced the apology at the opening session of the group’s 109th annual meeting in San Diego, drawing a standing ovation from about 200 people present, witnesses said. Jaffe said his group has long been active in promoting LGBTQ rights but had yet to put its contrition into words.
The change in the medical community’s thinking about homosexuality and the apology both stem from a seminal event in LGBTQ history 50 years ago: the Stonewall uprising. New York police recently apologized for the raid and discriminatory laws of the time, which prompted APsaA to issue its apology. LGBTQ activists disrupted the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in 1970 in San Francisco. The protests upended the convention so much, Drescher said, that by December 1973 the APA’s board removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But APsaA did not change its position until 1991 when, under threat of an anti-discrimination lawsuit, it allowed the training of gay and lesbian psychoanalysts, Drescher said. (Reuters – Daniel Trotta; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Berkrot at Reuters.com/article/us-usa-LGBT-stonewall-psychoanalysts-idUSKCN1TM169)