December 15th 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the historic event of “homosexuality” being removed from DSM ( Diagnostic Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatry Association ) In 2007 I interviewed Dr. Alfred M. Freedman who had been President of the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 when this event occurred. He described the details of […]
On April 17, 2011 Alfred M. Freedman died in New York at the age of 94. Dr. Freedman had been the 102nd President of the American Psychiatric Association and also had been the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at New York Medical College.
There are very few reasons that a psychiatry blog should discuss the recent change in policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” After all, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and this is a case of righting a wrong of discrimination and an example of social justice. However, until 1973 American psychiatry considered homosexuality as a psychiatric diagnosis. The behind the scenes story of how the American Psychiatric Association reversed it’s official policy towards homosexuality is explained in an interview that Dr. Blumenfield had with Dr. Alfred M. Freedman who at the time was President of that organization. There are links to a transcript of that interview as well as a 3 part video broadcast on You-Tube or the entire audio of the interview on Shrinkpod which is a podcast.
President Obama in his State of the Union Address stated that he wanted to abolish the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military service. Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff as well as the President of the Americann Psychiatric Association have issued similar statements. The history of this policy in the 20th century was briefly reviewed. In addition the concerns that have been expressed about letting gays serve openly in the military were discussed as was the experience of other countries where gays serving in the military has not been a problem.