Homosexuality: The Mental Illness That Went Away

by Phil Hickey on October 8, 2011

Post edited and updated January 2, 2013, to reflect clarifications as a result of interactions with the many people who have left comments.  I thank them for their input.


According to the American Psychiatric Association, until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness.  Freud had alluded to homosexuality numerous times in his writings, and had concluded that paranoia and homosexuality were inseparable.  Other psychiatrists wrote copiously on the subject, and homosexuality was “treated” on a wide basis.  There was little or no suggestion within the psychiatric community that homosexuality might be conceptualized as anything other than a mental illness that needed to be treated.  And, of course, homosexuality was listed as a mental illness in DSM-II.  (The DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – is the APA’s standard classification of their so-called mental disorders, and is used by many mental health workers in the USA and other countries.)

Then in 1970 gay activists protested against the APA convention in San Francisco.  These scenes were repeated in 1971, and as people came out of the “closet” and felt empowered politically and socially, the APA directorate became increasingly uncomfortable with their stance.  In 1973 the APA’s nomenclature task force recommended that homosexuality be declared normal.  The trustees were not prepared to go that far, but they did vote to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses by a vote of 13 to 0, with 2 abstentions.  This decision was confirmed by a vote of the APA membership, and homosexuality was no longer listed in the seventh edition of DSM-II, which was issued in 1974.

What’s noteworthy about this is that the removal of homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses was not triggered by some scientific breakthrough.  There was no new fact or set of facts that stimulated this major change.  Rather, it was the simple reality that gay people started to kick up a fuss.  They gained a voice and began to make themselves heard.  And the APA reacted with truly astonishing speed.  And with good reason. They realized intuitively that a protracted battle would have drawn increasing attention to the spurious nature of their entire taxonomy.  So they quickly “cut loose” the gay community and forestalled any radical scrutiny of the DSM system generally.

The APA claimed that they made the change because new research showed that most homosexual people were content with their sexual orientation, and that as a group, they appeared to be as well-adjusted as heterosexual people.  I suggest, however, that these research findings were simply the APA’s face-saver.  For centuries, perhaps millennia, homosexual people had clung to their sexual orientation despite the most severe persecution and vilification, including imprisonment and death.  Wouldn’t this suggest that they were happy with their orientation?  Do we need research to confirm this?  And if we do, shouldn’t we also need research to confirm that heterosexual people are happy with their orientation?  And if poor adjustment is critical to a diagnosis of mental illness, where was the evidence of this that justified making homosexuality a mental illness in the first place?

Also noteworthy is the fact that the vote of the membership was by no means unanimous.  Only about 55% of the members who voted favored the change.

Of course, the APA put the best spin they could on these events.  The fact is that they altered their taxonomy because of intense pressure from the gay community, but they claimed that the change was prompted by research findings.

So all the people who had this terrible “illness” were “cured” overnight – by a vote!  I remember as a boy reading of the United Nations World Health Organization’s decision to eradicate smallpox.  This was in 1967, and by 1977, after a truly staggering amount of work, the disease was a thing of the past.  Why didn’t they just take a vote?  Because smallpox is a real illness.  The human problems listed in DSM are not.  It’s that simple.  You can say that geese are swans – but in reality they’re still geese.

The overall point being that the APA’s taxonomy is nothing more than self-serving nonsense.  Real illnesses are not banished by voting or by fiat, but by valid science and hard work.  There are no mental illnesses.  Rather, there are people.  We have problems; we have orientations; we have habits; we have perspectives.  Sometimes we do well, other times we make a mess of things.  We are complicated.  Our feelings fluctuate with our circumstances, from the depths of despondency to the pinnacles of bliss.  And perhaps, most of all, we are individuals.  DSM’s facile and self-serving attempt to medicalize human problems is an institutionalized insult to human dignity.  The homosexual community has managed to liberate themselves from psychiatric oppression.  But there are millions of people worldwide who are still being damaged, stigmatized, and disempowered by this pernicious system to this day.

  • Athena Koop


    In the dark, constricted world of Jimmy Quick, you don’t have any rights because only Jimmy Quick has rights. That’s because in his horribly distorted version of Christianity, Jimmy believes he does indeed get a special pass. Jesus gives him carte blanche to behave as uncivilly and as violently as he pleases. Isn’t that nifty?

    Jimmy told me he’d like to beat me up too (I am a heterosexual Christian female), and guess what – Jesus is going to help him!


  • Athena Koop

    So, Jesus will beat up – ME, one of His own followers!? And you want to help Him by finishing me off? Lovely.

    Sounds like according to your sick and distorted version of “Christianity,” Jesus is subservient to you, destroying anyone who has the audacity to refuse to bow down to “Jimmy Quick.”

    Hmmm, who else would twist the role of Jesus so perversely? Could it be . . . . SATAN?!

  • Jack

    I have every right to reply to you.

    Here’s how you can get me to stop — you can’t. BUT, you can stfu and then I’ll have nothing to respond to.

  • Jimmy Quick

    Yes and I knew it all along. You are a follower of Satan, doing all that you can to twist the Word. What you fail to realize is that the elect can not be fooled no matter what you say.

  • Athena Koop

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge other, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
    – Jesus, Matthew 7:1-2

  • Juan del Diablo

    Oh, this is priceless! Great comments, Jimmy. How wonderful that you work so tirelessly to keep alive the popular perception that Christians are all morally and intellectually bankrupt. Good job, Jimmy! It’s a thankless job, but you will most definitely get your reward some day. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

  • Jimmy Quick

    We are all what we are and not what we pretend to be. Like you pretend to be cunning, but in reality your not. And I pretend to care what you think, but in reality I couldn’t care less.

    In the end it is God who will have the final say. The Bible is the tool by which all men will be measured and weighed. All those with Christ will be accepted and all those without will be found wanting.

    So, the question that should be going through your mind right about now is, how are you gonna stand in front of an all knowing, all seeing God and try to justify your sins?

    If your answer is anything less than Jesus, then I’m afraid you are gonna be in a world of hurt and there will be no escape.

    Think before you post here, because it will never be forgotten.

  • Juan del Diablo

    Mmmm Mmmmm, good!

  • Beon

    Homosexuality is a psychological disorder that needs to be treated. It is not something that is normal. People just need to admit this and help those who are homosexual become normal. Just by looking at our bodies, it is obvious that homosexuality isn’t something that is normal

  • Rob Bishop

    God talks to you about me?! You can deny you’re your own worst enemy, as many prefer ignorance to the truth. Your perspective that you and I have nothing in common is silly. Imagine the a cat telling another cat, “We have nothing in common.” That’s just foolishness. Did your religion create your hostile arrogance?

  • Juan del Diablo

    Rob, is that any way to address a modern day prophet? As the self-appointed special emissary of God, Jimmy Quick has authorized himself as the unique mouthpiece of The Most High, as well as special prosecutor, judge, and jury for The Big Guy. Show some respect. I hope you were at least genuflecting as you posted this comment!

  • Jimmy Quick

    No time for dum dum. Bye.

  • Donald English

    Progressives have Lucifer on one shoulder and a personal Hedonistic lifestyle counselor on the other.

  • rippimp

    Nice posts man. Didn’t read all of it, but you covered a lot of stuff that I knew and was discussing to ppl who don’t want to turn away from supporting that stuff…..

    NAMBLA and their takeover. Yes, they are trying to normalize this behavior and yes the ppl who you are debating this issue with WILL support it. They are in denial right now because it is not pushed on mainstream tv yet. However, once a powerful politician, our gov’t, or the APA decides this is normal. Well, the little kiddies will be fair game for the pervs too. Years ago, the gay movement had requested all age restrictions removed so they can have they way with the little ones as well. My personal belief is that this will be done after home-schooling has already been banned. Yes Obama’s homeboy Eric Holder has stated “parents do not have a right to home-school”. If you do home-school after they tell you not to, time to repossess your kids w/ the CPS and put them in a same sex household only to go to a public school to learn more about same sex relationships. All by design…..

    Gays and how they relate to Aids. Btw, I didn’t see you mention it, but the study done by the CDC is incomplete. The last study I seen from them was in 2013 where 67% of gay men or new cases of HIV were brought by gay men. However, what they failed to mention was the bisexual men in this study. Thats why they call it “LBGT” cause they are not the same. The “B’s” (bisexuals) are the ones spreading it to women who therefore pass it on to straight males. They were not included in this study. Because MSM is male sex with male(s). The slang term for that stuff is “down low”…..

    Lets not also mention “Patient Zero”. Huge black eye for the gay movement….

    Effeminizing the military (making them wear colored pumps), repealing DADT, accepting trannys, etc…….

    Children are not exempt either. Pushing this agenda on kids as well is a very big Change. No more gender. Children will be referred as “purple penguins”, “little lions”, adults will be referred to as “Ze” not “He/She”. Parents will no longer be referred to as “Mom/Dad”, but “Parent 1/ Parent 2” instead. They made the changes to the mom/dad terms on passport applications not too long ago. Mind you, when I say kids, I’m referring to just that. The kindergarten kids, elementary kids, middle school kids etc…..

    Pushing this agenda on other countries such as Africa as well, even though their leaders did not want to discuss this issue….

    Another black eye was very well the removal of that stuff from the DSM in 1973-1974 time frame. What I did NOT see mentioned here was that the key player (Miss Evelyn Hooker) was actually befriended by the homosexuals at that time. While the study was going on to determine if homosexuality was a mental illness, the gays were taking her to clubs, bars, parties and confiding in her that they were gay. The “studies” were not done in some laboratory either. The studies were done from her very own home. She had very close relations w/ those gay men. This is why her work was deemed as “homophile” by her own colleagues because she was very close w/ the gays. Also, she was also awarded a grant by (John Eberhart, the head of extramural grants) who gave her the grant because he found her “charming”. *wink wink* If you know what I mean……

    The lies in mainstream about the percentage of Americans “supporting” gays. That is NOT true. They are not supported, they are feared. Because countless time after time, regular Americans who stood up to the agenda have lost, failed, been fined, or sued. If they were supported as the media states, there would be no need for the laws in place to support their activity. The gov’t knows this and has to force Americans to treat this illness as normal. Any sign of disobedience and they will make an example out of you ex: Kim Davis and the many names to add to this list…..

    And quite frankly, this is some of the easy parts. There is so much more…….

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    Take some of your own advice!

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    Your reply is illogical and fraudulent. Where is your proof said person has no gay friends?

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    Radical subjectivist drivel.

  • Rob Bishop

    That’s a typical ego-based reaction to the perspective. It’s not radical. It’s an ancient idea held by millions. The ego thrives on having enemies and making judgments that others are wrong or bad. The price for playing that game is misery.

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    Not a reaction to anything because you have no argument. You are simply are what I said you were a radical subjectivist zealot that prefers anarchy and lawlessness. Move your ass to Somalia!

  • Rob Bishop

    We can establish values and live by them without judging other people as bad.

  • Gabriel Escobar

    If the someone had not written the bible would you have believed in the Judeo-Christian concept of “God?” No. You wouldn’t. You are basing how you treat people and your way of life on a book that your parents told you was the truth. Think before you speak.

  • Jimmy Quick

    When you start from a position of foolish incompetence, the conversation can only go down from there. Good bye.

  • Rob Bishop

    Not the tone of someone who follows the teaching of Jesus.

  • Jimmy Quick

    Not the words of any one who even knows Jesus…

  • ohffs

    Just another example of out of control SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS… They have been at this crap for decades… Using activism to take NATURAL human scientific realities and twist them into iniquities that suit their narratives and agendas. Change scientific facts, get people fired through petitions, ruin the lives of those comfortable with their sex and sexuality with systematic public-school pushed gender-role reversals telling young boys to be in touch with their feminine side and young girls to work like men and put off having a family until it’s damn-near too late..
    SJWs are a plague.

  • Good good

    I like your opinion and appreciate that you have put in a good amount of reasoning to back it up, hiwever, I have a thoght. It may not be a good idea to compare physical illnesses with metal illnesses, because physical illnesses are completely different. They’re immediate, easy to diagnose and need to be treated. However mental illnesses are the brains inner workings defecting in a way, and they don’t have to be fixed if the person is content with themselves. So mental illnesses need personal preference to truly be defined as illnesses, where as physical ones dont. That’s not to say that they aren’t really though. Schizophrenia definitely isn’t like cancer, but it not normal to see or hear shit that’s coming from nowhere.

  • IAmaVegetarian

    That is under the Old Testament rules. Christians are no longer bound by the laws of Leviticus.

  • Athena Koop

    Well, then, what do you have to say about this so-called fundie Christian, Jimmy Quick, preaching here that God says we should put homosexuals to death? And if “Christians are no longer bound by the laws of Leviticus,” are Christians then free to engage in homosexual acts? Are they also free to break the Sabbath, steal, cheat, lie, covet their neighbors’ stuff, dishonor their parents, murder, and commit adultery?

  • IAmaVegetarian

    Jimmy Quick (I have never heard of him) is a fanatic. Breaking the Sabbath, steal, cheating, lying, coveting, dishonoring the ir parents, murder, and adultery are all covered in the Ten Commandments in the Book of Exodus.
    Homosexuality is also banned in the New Testament, yet there was no longer any death decree on them.

  • Athena Koop

    Oh, I see. So Christians can break the laws of Leviticus, but not the laws of Exodus? Interesting. Could you please tell us what Jesus had to say about homosexuality?

  • IAmaVegetarian

    Romans 1

    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d] unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

  • Rob Bishop

    Sounds like pure hatred to me.

  • IAmaVegetarian

    Get over yourself. I don’t want to bother with someone awful like you.

  • Rob Bishop

    It’s clear you don’t follow Jesus.

  • Athena Koop

    I did not ask you what the Apostle Paul had to say in his letter to the Romans. I asked you if you could please tell us what JESUS had to say about homosexuality.
    If you could do that, I would be most appreciative.

  • Athena Koop


  • Sweetie

    The proof is in their anti-gay attitudes. Someone who is virulently against a person cannot be their friend. Moreover, it is an extremely common tactic for a bigot to claim they have friends among the group they target with their bigotry as a rationalization for their bigotry.

  • Sweetie

    Tu quoque fallacy. Impressive.

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    I know like it? Go hang yourself!

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    And gay is good? Go hang yourself! Bigotry is good and healthy! And you are a sex obsessed centric pervert supporter? Go pride yourself with a good piece of hemp and an old oak sweetie cakes!

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    Good anti-Sodomite attitudes are healthy. Death/Sex centric ignorants are headed to an early grave. Enjoy doing the death!

  • MC_Fraud_Waste_&_Abuse

    I have friends who engage in criminal antisocial behavior. If I condemn their behavior am I against them? Sex centric ideology is irrational and foolish.

  • IAmaVegetarian

    Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.

  • IAmaVegetarian

    I follow Jesus. I don’t hate gay people, like what you want to think. You liberals are so intolerant.

  • Athena Koop

    Exactly. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. So why then are the fundie “Christian” fanatics so obsessed with it? Jesus had plenty to say about things like forgiveness, faith, love, materialism, and the hypocrisy of religious authorities. Yet we never hear the fundies harping about THOSE things. Weird.

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