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This American Life: The Declassifying of Homosexuality as a Disease

March 22, 2010

Listening to NPR’s This American Life on my commute today, I found a really fascinating story that was recently re-aired called “81 Words.”  It’s the story of how the American Psychiatric Association (APA) came to the decision in 1973 that being gay should not be listed as a mental illness.  For me, one of the most interesting elements of the story is how the change came from a culmination of advocates pushing the APA from the outside, the quiet maneuvering by gay members of the APA within the organization, visibility of gay people, and the key role played by straight allies.  We often focus on only one of these at a time, but pressure from all sides is key.

Click here to listen.  You can download the podcast on iTunes.

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