US Department of Defense Lists Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder
A U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Instruction regarding policies for retiring or separating service members due to physical disability was made public on June 20, 2006. The document, which lists homosexuality as a mental disorder, was made official in 1996 and recertified in 2003. The relevant portion of the document states:
This listing contradicts the 1973 removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The reasoning given by the American Psychiatric Association for removal of homosexuality from the DSM states, in part:
"Homosexuality per se is a form of sexual behavior and, with other forms of sexual behavior which are not by themselves psychiatric disorders, are not listed in this nomenclature." June 7, 1973 Robert L. Spitzer
Member, APA Task Force on Nomenclature and Statistics
In response to the DoD Instruction, James H. Scully, Jr., MD, CEO and Medical Director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), wrote to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. The letter stated, in part:
"I write to respectfully request that you update Department of Defense Instruction number 1332.38, which addresses 'Physical Disability Evaluation', is dated November 14, 1996, and to my knowledge is still in effect. Enclosure 5 of the instruction, in section E22.214.171.124, refers to 'Certain Medical Disorders Including...Homosexuality.' DSM-IV-TR does not include homosexuality as a mental disorder. Based on scientific and medical evidence the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973 -- a position shared by all other major health and mental health organizations based on their own review of the science. I urge you to remove homosexuality from the 'Physical Disability Evaluation' instruction" June 13, 2006 James H. Scully, Jr.
Gwendolyn Puryear Keita, PhD, Executive Director of Public Interest for the American Psychological Association, sent a similar letter to the Assistant Secretary. She wrote, in part:
"...This instruction includes a reference to 'homosexuality' in regard to 'certain medical disorders' which is out of date with the American Psychological Association's position and with general mental health practice. We fully support the actions taken on December 13, 1973, by the American Psychiatric Association, removing homosexuality from that Association's official list of mental disorders and believe that homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities." June 16, 2006 Gwendolyn Puryear Keita
An ad hoc subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee also sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld regarding the DoD Instruction:
"Recently it has come to our attention that an instruction with the Department of Defense regulations regarding the mental health characteristics of service members is outdated. Instruction 1332.38 includes under the heading Developmental Defects and Other Specific Conditions, 'Certain Mental Disorders including:...Homosexuality.' The Department of Defense issued this provision in 1996 and recertified it in 2003.
Our hope is that any inadvertent outdated language can be updated so that military regulations are consistent across the board and in keeping with the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) stance reaffirming that 'homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and vocational capabilities.'" June 19, 2006 House Armed Services Ad Hoc Subcommittee
In response to the APA's concern, the Traditional Values Coalition has issued a call to action on its Web site:
"Fox News reported on June 20 that the Pentagon is under attack from the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military for a military report that classifies homosexual behavior as a mental illness. ... Homosexual advocates point to the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973 and claim that its removal was based on scientific and medical evidence. This is a lie. This lie has been repeated by homosexual activists for more than 30 years.
The truth is that the APA was lobbied by homosexual activists to remove homosexuality as a mental illness and they were aided by APA leader John Spiegel, M.D., who was a closeted homosexual. Spiegel became head of the APA in 1974."
TAKE ACTION: If you have contacts in the Pentagon ... ask that senior health officials in the military ... defend classifying homosexuality as a mentally disordered behavior. June 22, 2006 Traditional Values Coalition
The Department of Defense issued a statement to the Reuters press agency on June 28, 2006 regarding the controversy:
"Homosexuality should not have been characterized as a mental disorder in an appendix of a procedural instruction...
Notwithstanding its inclusion, we find no practical impact since that appendix simply listed factors that do not constitute a physical disability, and homosexuality of course does not." June 28, 2006 Department of Defense