Psychoanalists Apologize for Treating Homosexuality as Illness

by Sam Cronin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday June 24, 2019

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) has apologized publicly for its previous classification of homosexuality as a mental illness, according to Reuters.

The association said its past error contributed to increased discrimination and trauma for LGBTQ people. Dr. Lee Jaffe, president of the APsaA announced the apology in a statement on Friday at the opening of the group's annual meeting in San Diego. The announcement reportedly drew a standing ovation from the crowd of about 200 people.

"It's hard to admit that one has been so wrong," Jaffe said.

LA-based analyst Dr. Justin Shubert told Reuters that the apology "felt like a watershed moment."

The association removed homosexuality from its list of illnesses in 1991, under pressure of an anti-discrimination lawsuit. For context, the American Psychological Association (APA) removed the classification in 1973 under great external pressure from activists. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the APA kept on record a condition called ego-dystonic homosexuality until 1987, according to Psychology Today.

The APsaA apology comes shortly after the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the seminal LGBTQ historical event which spurred on decades of Pride festivals, and comes on the heels of the NYPD's apology for the raid which prompted the Uprising.

APsaA member Dr. Jack Drescher said the apology was inspired by the recent NYPD apology and said: "They did the work of apologizing but they did not say the words. If the police commissioner of New York City could do it, why couldn't we do something similar?"

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