One of the difficulties with the US Government’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is that when the Department Of Defense (DOD) discharges someone who has been determined to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual, the military has to list a reason why the servicemember in getting discharged on the discharge papers.
Up until a few weeks ago, the military listed homosexuality as a mental disorder — using rationale used by the APA prior to 1973. When members of Congress discovered this they — and the APA –complained, so the military changed how they classify homosexuality.
In June 2006, [Congressman Marty] Meehan and a group of lawmakers joined the APA’s in asking the Defense Department to revise a then-current instruction which classified homosexuality as a mental illness. The Pentagon re-issued the instruction on July 10, 2006. The revised instruction no longer says that being gay is a mental illness. Instead, it includes homosexuality in a list of “conditions, circumstances and defects” alongside bedwetting, alcoholism, personality disorders, mental retardation, and repeated venereal disease infections.
In this week’s letter, the American Psychological Association asked the Pentagon to revise the instruction again so as to “eliminate the continued stigmatization of homosexuality as a defect.” Meehan said that, “it is my strong belief that homosexuality is in no way a defect and that there is no scientific reason to include it in such a list.” And the American Psychiatric Association, which declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, noted that, “homosexuality is not a defect…but could be construed as one by its inclusion in this section.” (emphasis added)
NARTH posted a news article on it’s website last month entitled Pentagon Under Fire For Document Stigmatizing Same-Sex Attraction that listed as additional reading Normality or Disorder: Answering the Question — one needs to consider that the question being asked in that additional reading article is “Is homosexuality a psychopathology?”
I’m disturbed that the Department of Defense has gone from including homosexuality in its lists of mental disorders to now including it within a list of “conditions, circumstances and defects.” I’m concerned about NARTH bootstrapping on how the DOD classifies GLB people to point up that they believe homosexuality is a psychopathology.
And as a 20-year US Navy retiree, I’m disturbed that GLBT people can’t be out of the closet and serve the military — especially when the Army has recently had to lower its standards to get enough recruits to meet their recruiting goals.
Just about everything about this story — minus the APA’s and congressional inquiries about the military classifications of homosexuality — seems senseless to me.