Forty-five years ago tomorrow, (December 15, 1973) the American Psychiatric Association (APA) voted to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The vote was in favor of declassification but was not universally agreed upon with 5,854 (60%) psychiatrists voting to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 (40%) to retain it. Following the vote the APA created a compromise, removing homosexuality from the DSM and putting in place something called a “sexual orientation disturbance” for people who were deemed “in conflict with” their sexual orientation. This bogus compromise was eventually completely discredited by 1987, but its stain lingers. It is this “sexual orientation disturbance” that many in Conversion / Reparative therapy still point to.
We all know the fight to recognize LGBTQ identities as valid and valuable continues. One need only look to the people in the White House to realize how quickly our gains can be taken away and the contempt they hold for the LGBTQ community. It was only last October that Trump was reported joking with staff that VP Mike Pence hates homosexuals so much he wants to “hang all of them.”
So while we should be proud of how far we’ve come in forty-five years, we should not become complacent.