Politics AKA political correctness, rather than science, was the chief reason for removal.
By Broadside Opinion Columnist Michael Gryboski
Pride Alliance is a large organization that receives recognition by George Mason University’s administration as a legit outfit.
Other student organizations see the agenda of Pride Alliance and the overall gay rights movement to be quite valid, with Hillel co-sponsoring a Pride Alliance event last semester called “Twice Blessed,” the implication being that to be homosexual is just as much a blessing as to be part of the Chosen People.
However, being homosexual is far from an equivalent to Judaism, as evidenced by psychology. Although not widely acknowledged, homosexuality does fit its former status as a paraphilia, or mental disorder pertaining to sexual arousal.
Those who have kept track of homosexuality’s status in American society know that homosexuality was taken out of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM list of mental disorders back in 1973. This laconic defense ignores problems with the decision.
Even sympathizers with the APA’s decision admit that politics, rather than science, was the chief reason for removal.
Gay gene proponent Simon LeVay concedes, “Gay activism was clearly the force that propelled the APA to declassify homosexuality.”
Also, the final tally was not impressive. The vote was 5,584 to 3,810 out of about 30,000 APA members, meaning that only about 37 percent of the APA took part in the decision.
In total, only approximately 20 percent of the organization actually said yes to removal, meaning that as much as 80 percent of the APA in 1973 might have opposed removal.
Furthermore, the decision did not fully eradicate psychology’s condemnation of this now acceptable act, as “ego-dystonic homosexuality” remained on the books until the 1980s. Yet, as Dr. David S. Holmes noted, “because of changes in social norms and strong political pressures … homosexuality was not listed as a disorder.”
In other words, not science, but politics, was the chief factor.
Even APA elites condemn that portion of the political intrusion into psychology, with the current APA President Gerald P. Koocher stating at a town hall meeting, “APA has no conflict with psychologists who help those distressed by unwanted homosexual attraction."
Many have said homosexuality is acceptable because the homosexual does not feel distress over his or her sexual orientation. From the 1973 decision and to this very day, that argument has been used extensively and advanced continually as seen with gay parades, movies and of course organizations who name themselves “Pride” Alliance.
However, just because an individual does not directly feel distress over a disorder does not make the disorder normal. There are a whole host of mental disorders known as ego-syntonic disorders.
An ego-syntonic disorder is a mental disorder in which the sufferer considers their disorder to be crucial to their sense of self. Individuals who suffer from an ego-syntonic disorder seldom feel distress directly. Homosexuality would not be the only ego-syntonic paraphilia, as frotteurism and voyeurism have ego-syntonic variations.
Others have argued that homosexuality is genetic and therefore cannot be any more unnatural than being red-haired or black. Now, the argument of a genetic origin for homosexuality is dubious unto itself, but assuming the claim is true would make no difference. Several disorders, including Down syndrome, depression and schizophrenia, have genetic origins. None of these disorders are being taken out of the current DSM-IV.
So, if these various reasons for keeping homosexuality out of the DSM list of paraphilias are poor, are there good reasons for putting it back? There are three characteristics found in every mental disorder: extent of distress, impairment in life and abnormality of behavior.
Granted these earmarks for disorder are often socially constructed, but still one can feasibly have homosexuality fit all three. Regarding distress, there are plenty of homosexuals who do not desire their sexual orientation.
On the ego-syntonic level, homosexuality has been shown to be co-morbid with borderline personality disorder and gender identity disorder. Impairment would involve social requirements being missed.
This can be applied to individuals who are able to perform the cross-culturally required reproduction and continuation of the community but do not because they feel mentally unable to.
Abnormality of behavior is obvious, given the strong correlates with counterculture, various drug excesses, and Gender Identity Disorder, or as I like to name it, the next disorder to be taken out of the DSM because of politics.
Pride Alliance has a great acceptance here on campus, especially from university administration and fellow student organizations. Its agenda has a growing popularity and its Pride Week gets on the school calendars each academic year without fail. Hopefully people will come to understand that being widely accepted does not make it accurate.