Homosexuality No Longer "A Mental Illness"

"I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist.”

– Dr. John Fryer anonymously in disguise at the 1972 APA annual meeting alongside Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny

In 1953 the National Institute of Mental Health granted funds to do a series of projective personality tests on 30 gay men and 30 straight men. As there was no appreciable difference between the two groups in terms of psychological adjustment, the findings – evaluated by three independent experts – dramatically contradicted the then-current position of American psychology which held that homosexuality was a form of “mental illness”. The results were first published in The Mattachine Review in 1955 and presented at several American Psychiatric Association (APA) conferences from 1954 to 1956. Although most mental health professionals were slow to take notice, the research eventually compelled many influential psychiatrists to revise their views on homosexuality. Between 1970 and 1973 gay-rights activists Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny – and a small number of brave psychiatric professionals who risked their credentials to testify – protested against the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder at APA offices and annual meetings. As a result of their efforts, the APA Board of Trustees voted to formally remove homosexuality from the official list of psychological disorders on December 15, 1973. Today both research and clinical literature reflect the longstanding consensus of the behavioral/social sciences and the mental health profession that homosexuality is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.

Lesson Plan


Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Homophile Movement (1945-1969) Information Age (1970-present) Stonewall Era (1969-1974)


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