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December 15: Gayness Is Not a Disease

Lawrence Bush
December 16, 2009
SPITZER-articleLargeOn this day in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (with Jews making up about 30 percent of its membership) declared that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder” and removed it from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who chaired the DSM committee and wrote the position paper that most facilitated the change, became controversial again in 2001 by publishing research suggesting that deeply religious gay people can change their sexual orientation through force of will. Spitzer’s research has been widely touted by Focus on the Family and other anti-gay groups, despite his numerous clarifications and protests. “Much of the enormous progress and the advances that the gay community has enjoyed over the past decades just simply would not have occurred had we remained a bunch of ‘loonies.’ ” —Dr. Franklin Kameny, co-founder, Mattachine Society of Washington

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.