The “Trojan Couch”

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2. Homosexuality did not meet the requirements of a psychiatric disorder since it “does not either regularly cause subjective distress or is regularly associated with some generalized impairment in social effectiveness or functionin g [sic].” 3. Marcel T. Saghir and Eli Robins’ recently published Male and Female Homosexuality showed that homosexuality was normal. (Their research-which was astoundingly shoddy-was roundly criticized by colleagues at the time, but no critique was address ed by the presenter or the committee.) 6 Although Spitzer did not say so then, in later correspondence he has said that another important component of the case was the work of Evelyn Hooker. 7 The APA committee, however, failed to reference critical studies , such as Robins’ and Saghir’s suicide studies, and their study that found differences in the behavioral patterns and psychology of homosexuals and heterosexuals. These differences would have complicated Hooker’s findings -at least in the grossly oversimplified and misrepresented form in which Hooker’s findings were presented. Nonetheless, quickly following the advice of the new homosexual advisors, two -thirds of the APA’s Board of Trustees (barely a quorum) voted to remove homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder, with only two abstentions. A few voices formally appealed to the membership at large-scarcely a scientific modus operandi, either. Countering this appeal, every psychiatrist (tens of thousands) received a mailing urging them to support the change, p urportedly for legitimate data-based reasons and apparently “from” the APA, but in fact surreptitiously financed entirely by the National Gay Task Force. Two -thirds of those members who did subsequently vote, voted to support the change-but only one-third of the membership responded (and far from all psychiatrists belonged to the APA to begin with). Four years later a survey in the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality showed that 69 percent of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote, and still considere d homosexuality a disorder. Bayer remarks that the APA: … had fallen victim to the disorder of a tumultuous era, when disruptive conflicts threatened to politicize every aspect of American social life. A furious egalitarianism … had compelled psychiatrists to negotiate the pathological status of homosexuality with homosexuals themselves. The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times.8 Two years later the American Psychological Association-which is three times larger than the APA-voted to follow suit, and soon the National Association of Social Workers did likewise. The seventh printing of the DSM in 1974 placed a special note that announced that the APA had “voted to eliminate Homosexuality per se as a mental disorder and to substitute therefor (sic) a new category titled Sexual Orientation Disturbance.”9 The new entry read as follows: 302.0 Sexual Orientation Disturbance [Homosexuality] This is for individuals whose sexual interests are directed primarily toward people of the same-sex and who are either disturbed by, in conflict with, or wish to change their sexual orientation. This diagnostic category is distinguished f rom homosexuality, which by itself

Footnotes:   6 Robins, E. and Saghir, M.T. Male and female homosexuality: natural history. Comprehensive psychiatry [0010-440X] 6,12:503 (1971) 7 E.g., Personal E-mail to Kathleen Melonakos, M.A., R.N., dated February 5, 2002. 8 Ibid., pp. 3-4. 9 Ibid.