LGBT+ History: Declassifying Homosexuality

In 1992 the World Health Organisation finally declassified same-sex attraction as a mental illness, with the publication of ICD-10.  ICD-10 still holds an entry for ‘ego-dystonic sexual orientation’.  In this condition, a person is in no doubt of their sexual orientation, but wishes it were different ‘because of associated psychological and behavioural disorders.’  It is important to note that the entry does state that “Sexual orientation by itself is not to be regarded as a disorder.”(F66*)

This followed the decision by the Board of Directors of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders back in 1973.  First published in 1968, the DSM II listed homosexuality as a mental illness. Whilst they removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, they replaced it with an entry for ‘sexual orientation disturbance.’ for people in conflict with their sexual orientation.  Not until 1987 did homosexuality come completely out of the DSM.

While subsequent revisions to the document have been welcomed the new revision is set to further declassify diseases relating to sexual orientation if accepted.  The proposed revision to ICD-11 had the recommendation of:

“The Working Group recommends that the F66 grouping of categories entitled “Psychological and behavioural disorders associated with sexual development and orientation” be deleted in its entirety from ICD-11. Both concerns about gender identity and sexual orientation difficulties can well be addressed using other ICD categories.”(ICD-11 Proposal)

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