Tag Archives: LGBT civil rights

A Recent History of Lesbian and Gay Psychology: From Homophobia to LGBT

Forthcoming from Routledge is a new volume exploring psychology’s history with gay and lesbian movements over the past half century. Peter Hegarty’s A Recent History of Lesbian and Gay Psychology: From Homophobia to LGBT is described as:

This ground-breaking text explores the contemporary history of how psychological research, practice, and theory has engaged with gay and lesbian movements in the United States and beyond, over the last 50 years. Peter Hegarty examines the main strands of research in lesbian and gay psychology that have emerged since the de-pathologizing of homosexuality in the 1970s that followed from the recognition of homophobia and societal prejudice.

The author details the expansion of ‘lesbian and gay psychology’ to ‘LGB’ to ‘LGBT psychology’ via its paradigm shifts, legal activism, shifts in policy makers’ and mental health professionals’ goals in regard to sexual and gender minorities. For the first time, the origins of the concepts, debates, and major research programs that have made up the field of LGBT psychology have been drawn together in a single historical narrative, making this a unique resource. A case is made that psychology has only very lately come to consider the needs and issues of transgender and intersex people, and that LGB paradigms need to be critically interrogated to understand how they can be best brokered to bring about social change for such groups.

A Recent History of Lesbian and Gay Psychology will serve as an advanced historical introduction to this field’s recent history and current concerns, and will inform both those who have been a part of this history and students who are new to the field.

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Barbara Gittings, Gay Rights, and DSM Reform

Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, and John E. Fryer in disguise as Dr. H. Anonymous. Photo by Kay Tobin Lahusen

The Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health has just published a review of the recent book Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer. As Jack Drescher notes in his review Gittings, as part of a lifetime of LGBT activist efforts, pushed to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Drescher notes,

Gittings, at Lahusen’s suggestion, sought an openly gay psychiatrist to present at a 1972 APA symposium entitled “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to Homosexuals? A Dialogue.” Along with Gittings and [Frank]  Kameny, the panel included a gay-friendly heterosexual analyst, Judd Marmor. As none of the gay psychiatrists she knew would appear openly gay in public—at the time, one could lose one’s medical license because homosexuality was illegal in almost every U.S. state—Barbara Gittings convinced John Fryer to appear in disguise as Dr. H. Anonymous.

Fryer, wearing an oversized tuxedo, a rubber Richard Nixon Halloween mask, and a fright wig, explained to his fellow psychiatrists the pain of the professional closet. [Kay Tobin] Lahusen’s photograph of the masked Dr. H Anonymous, now gone viral on the Internet, is a chilling, yet humorous, iconic moment in the history of the LGBT civil rights movement. Further, the panel and the hard work of Gittings, Lahusen, Kameny, and Fryer led to the APA’s removing “homosexuality” from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-II) the following year.

More on Gittings and Tracy Baim’s biography can be found here.

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