How The Homosexuality Movement Politicized Science? 6 min read

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In 1963 the New York Academy of Medicine charged its Committee on Public Health to report on the subject of homosexuality, prompted by concern that homosexual behavior seemed to be increasing. The Committee reported that: 

“Homosexuality is indeed an illness. The homosexual is an emotionally disturbed individual who has not acquired the normal capacity to develop satisfying heterosexual relation.” It also noted that: “some homosexuals have gone beyond the plane of defensiveness and now argue that deviancy is a “desirable, noble, preferable way of life.”*  

However, if the influential American Psychiatric Association (APA) could be convinced to redefine homosexuality, the other guilds would follow shortly thereafter and then so would the rest of society. And this was indeed the plan!  

Just ten years later—with no significant new scientific evidence—the homosexual activists’ argument became the new standard within psychiatry. In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association voted to exclude homosexuality from the officially approved list of psychiatric illnesses. How did this occur? Normally a scientific consensus is reached over the course of many years, resulting from the accumulated weight of many properly designed studies. But in the case of homosexuality, scientific research has only recently begun, years after the question was decided. 

The APA vote to normalize homosexuality was driven by politics, not science. Even sympathizers acknowledged this. Ronald Bayer was then a Fellow at the Hastings Institute in New York. He reported how in 1970 the leadership of a homosexual faction within the APA planned a “systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association.”+ They defended this method of “influence” on the grounds that the APA represented “psychiatry as a social institution” rather than a scientific body or professional guild. At the 1970 meetings, Irving Bieber, an eminent psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was presenting a paper on “homosexuality and transsexualism.” He was abruptly challenged: [Bieber’s] efforts to explain his position … were met with derisive laughter…. [One] protester called him a ______ and said “I’ve read your book, Dr. Bieber, and if that book talked about black people the way it talks about homosexuals, you’d be drawn and quartered and you’d deserve it.”  

The tactics worked. Acceding to pressure, the organizers of the following APA conference in 1971 agreed to sponsor a special panel not on homosexuality, but by homosexuals!. The panel was not enough. Bayer continues: 

“Despite the agreement to allow homosexuals to conduct their own panel discussion at the 1971 convention, gay activists in Washington felt that they had to provide yet another jolt to the psychiatric profession…. Too smooth a transition … would have deprived the movement of its most important weapon—the threat of disorder…. [They] turned to a Gay Liberation Front collective in Washington to plan the May 1971 demonstration. Together with the collective [they] developed a detailed strategy for disruption, paying attention to the most intricate logistical details. On May 3, 1971, the protesting psychiatrists broke into a meeting of distinguished members of the profession. They grabbed the microphone and turned it over to an outside activist, who declared: 

“Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you…. We’re rejecting you all as our owners.” 

The activists then secured an appearance before the APA’s Committee on Nomenclature. Its chairman allowed that perhaps homosexual behavior was not a sign of psychiatric disorder. When the committee met formally to consider the issue in 1973 the outcome had already been arranged behind closed doors. No new data was introduced, and objectors were given only fifteen minutes to present a rebuttal that summarized seventy years of psychiatric and psychoanalytic opinion. When the committee voted as planned, a few voices formally appealed to the membership at large, which can overrule committee decisions even on “scientific” matters. 

The activists responded swiftly and effectively. They drafted a letter and sent it to the over thirty thousand members of the APA, urging them “to vote to retain the nomenclature change.” How could the activists afford such a mailing? They purchased the APA membership mailing list after the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) sent out a fund-raising appeal to their membership. 

Because a majority of the APA members who responded voted to support the change in the classification of homosexuality, the decision of the Board of Trustees was allowed to stand. But in fact only one-third of the membership did respond. Two years later the American Psychological Association—the professional psychology guild that is three times larger than the APA—voted to follow suit. 

Twenty years later, The scientific process continues to be affected by political pressure today. In 1994 the Board of Trustees of the APA decided to consider altering the code of ethics. The proposed change (presented by a man who is a prominent and vocal gay-activist psychiatrist and chairman of the APA’s Committee on the Abuse and Misuse of Psychiatry) would make it a violation of professional conduct for a psychiatrist to help a homosexual patient become heterosexual even at the patient’s request. This is despite the fact that one of the association’s own professional standards holds that psychiatrists need to accept a patient’s own goals in treatment so as to “foster maximum self-determination on the part of clients.” The final version read, 

“The APA does not endorse any psychiatric treatment which is based either upon a psychiatrist’s assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or a psychiatrist’s intent to change a person’s sexual orientation.” The Board approved the statement and sent it to the APA Assembly—its legislative body—for final approval. 

The APA is not the only guild affected by political pressure. The National Association of Social Workers, which accredits the largest body of mental health practitioners in the country, also continues to be influenced by gay activists. The NASW Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues has lobbied the NASW to declare that the use of reparative therapies is a violation of the NASW Code of Ethics. The committee issued a paper in 1992 stating that: Efforts to “convert” people through irresponsible therapies … can be more accurately called brainwashing, shaming or coercion…. The assumptions and directions of reparative therapies are theoretically and morally wrong. 

From the thread above we can see how gay activists actually fall into lawful crime by ruining science and deceiving publicity before even scientists talk. That’s of course beside the moral sin of homosexuality. 

* Cited in C. W. Socarides, “Sexual Politics and Scientific Logic: The Issue of Homosexuality,” The Journal of Psychohistory 10, no. 3 of 1992. 

+ R. Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (New York: Basic Books, 1981)] 

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