Jack Drescher, MD, one of the world’s experts on the psychology of gay men, lectured at FIT last week about the history of psychiatric views on homosexuality. (He was invited by Daniel Levinson Wilk, Associate Professor of American History. )
Turns out Hue didn’t know nearly as much as we thought we did. For example:
1. Pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud considered homosexuality to be a result of “developmental arrest,” and nigh impossible to treat, but he didn’t judge it as perversion. Only later did psychiatrists pass judgment on it.
2. At the American Psychiatric Association convention In 1972, Dr. John Fryer spoke to the membership about his life as a gay psychiatrist. At that time, a psychiatrist could lose his or her license for being gay, so to conceal his identity, he spoke through a microphone that distorted his voice, and he wore an oversized suit and mask. Creepy!
3. When the APA voted in 1973 to remove homosexuality from the DSM (the official list of mental disorders), it was the first and only time the membership has voted on a scientific matter.
4. Conversion therapy, the effort to change the sexuality of gay people, is now illegal in some places because it is considered consumer fraud. In other words, any claim that it can be “successful” is false.
Hue plans on reading Drescher’s book, Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man, to learn more.