Tag Archives: APA

Gay History – August 1965: Washington Post Reports Federal Workers Can Claim Disability For Being Gay

In July of 1950, Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina conducted a full-scale Congressional inquiry into homosexuals in the government. The content of the testimony heard by the committee was ambiguous about the dangers posed by homosexual individuals and provided no instances of homosexuals who had been blackmailed into revealing American secrets; however, as Johnson writes, “The Hoey Committee’s final report, issued in December 1950, ignored this ambiguity and stated emphatically that all of the intelligence agencies of the government that testified ‘are in complete agreement that sex perverts in the Government constitute security risks.’ It asserted that Russian intelligence agents had been given orders to find weaknesses in the private lives of American government workers. And, while acknowledging that other weaknesses might pose as much of a threat, it asserted that such comparisons were beyond the committee’s mandate. Through the Hoey Committee’s final report, the notion that homosexuals threatened national security received the imprimatur of the US Congress and became accepted as official fact.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration further expanded and routinized the hunt for homosexuals in the federal government. His Executive Order 10450, signed in April 1953, affirmed that “[a]n individual would be disqualified for employment for ‘any behavior which suggests the individual is not reliable or trustworthy.’” While proscriptions of “criminal” and “immoral” conduct were already written into civil service policies, and were already in use to bar homosexuals from federal employment, “the inclusion of the more specific reference to ‘sexual perversion’ was unprecedented.” The Executive Order “effectively expanded the security authority originally given to the State Department and a few military agencies at the start of the Cold War to the entire federal government.” Since “security risk” was, as Johnson argues, a term that applied almost exclusively to gay men and lesbians, Executive Order 10450 put even more emphasis on finding and expelling homosexual employees from federal service.

The changes in Civil Service Commission policies and Executive Order 10450 affected millions of American employees, whether or not they were federally employed. Johnson estimates that “as many as five thousand suspected gay or lesbian employees may have lost their jobs with the federal government during the early days of the Cold War.” The use of the term “security risk” to describe firings means that arriving at a precise figure is nearly impossible since, while this term was applied almost exclusively to gay men and lesbians, it also included other types of “undesirable” employees. Many employees preemptively resigned when news reached them about an investigation into their sexuality, and no figures were kept about how many of these apparently voluntary separations resulted from impending charges of homosexuality. Finally, the estimate of five thousand federal employees does not take into account the individuals who were never hired because their pre-employment background checks raised suspicions about their sexuality, or the number of individuals who did not even apply for federal jobs for fear of having their homosexuality discovered.

In 1965. Jerry Kluttz, writing for the Washington Post’s “Federal Diary” column, revealed that more than fifty alcoholic Federal employees, who would have normally been fired, were instead placed on retirement “for physical disability” which Kluttz described as “a more liberal approach to their problems.” He also noted that the program was also available for gay employees because of their “disability”.

At that time the Government policy to fire overt homosexuals remained unchanged under the policy that their conduct tends to discredit the Federal service. Known homosexuals would probably be ousted before the could be retired on either physical or mental disabilities.

Fired employees, Kluttz stated, had the year following their dismissal to file for disability retirement, and “several sex deviates have taken advantage of this provision”.

The civil service had previously ruled “unconventional sex behavior” as willful misconduct, and were thus ineligible for disability retirements under federal law. But with the commission’s new openness to extend disability retirement benefits for those suffering from mental illnesses, gay employees were increasingly falling under that category in accordance with the APA’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness. But that would change in 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990.

In 1975 the Civil Service Commission formally reversed its discriminatory hiring policy against gays and lesbians. In 1995, President Clinton issued an executive order forbidding the US government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation in granting security clearances. Three years later, he banned anti-gay discrimination against all federal civilian employees.

Gay History - April 8: The APA Removes Homosexuality As "Sickness" and Remembering Ryan White.

Gay History – April 8: The APA Removes Homosexuality As “Sickness” and Remembering Ryan White.

April 8, 1974 – The American Psychiatric Association remove its “sickness” definition of homosexuality and outrages homophobic bigots across America. 

Until then homosexuality was seen as a mental disorder and those “afflicted” could be confined to a mental institutions, undergo crude conversion therapy techniques, castration, and the possibility of being lobotomized.

“We object to the sickness theory of homosexuality tenaciously held with utter disregard for the disastrous consequences of this theory to the homosexual, based as it is on poor science,” wrote Frank Kameny in a letter to the editor of Psychiatric News published in the July 7, 1971

One of the most memorable moments in APA history came when the 1972 Annual Meeting in Dallas included a certain “Dr. H. Anonymous,” his face hidden behind a rubber Halloween mask, in the session “Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to the Homosexual? A Dialogue.”

“I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist. My greatest loss is my honest humanity,” he said. “How incredible that we homosexual psychiatrists cannot be honest in a profession that calls itself compassionate and helping.”

April 8, 1990 – Ryan White at age 18 dies of AIDS after a five-year battle with the disease.  Ryan became the national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school in Kokomo Indiana because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, Ryan lived five years longer than predicted but died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation the discrimination it brought upon him and his family. – Watch Ryan’s story in the short documentary below.

Gay Hollywood Agent Tyler Grasham Fired After Sexual Assault Allegations


Two men have have come forward and accused Tyler Grasham a talent agent at APA of sexually assaulting them. 

Via Deadline:

Former child actor Blaise Godbe Lipman, 28, says agent Tyler Grasham assaulted him 10 years ago when he was seeking representation. “Tyler Grasham, under the pretense of a business meeting regarding potential agency representation at APA Agency, fed me alcohol while I was underage and sexually assaulted me,” he wrote Monday on Facebook. 

Lucas Ozarowski, a 27-year-old film and TV editor, says he also was assaulted by Grasham. He said he has contacted Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer with the story and will file a report with the LAPD today.

Lipman posted that the recent revelations about Harvey Weinstein gave him the courage to finally come forward with his story.

“The positive thing about the attention the Weinstein scandal has had, is it’s no longer about Harvey,” he wrote. “The conversation has moved on to the size of this epidemic and how to dismantle the system that protects these predators. And it’s given space and courage for victims to speak up, against their abuse. This is bigger than Weinstein.”

A spokesman for APA Agency confirmed the termination Friday. “Tyler Grasham’s employment has been terminated with APA effective immediately,” 

One employee noted that it “has been a hard few days at the agency,” but they are indeed trying to place Grasham’s clients with other agents inside APA.

American Psychological Association Goes After Donald Trump on Trans Military Ban: You Lie.

The American Psychological Association questioned President Trump’s announced ban on transgender people serving “in any capacity” in the U.S. military, a reversal of the previous administration’s decision to allow transgender military personnel to serve openly.  

“The American Psychological Association questions the reasoning behind President Trump’s call to bar transgender people from the military. We’ve seen no scientific evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the armed forces has had an adverse impact on our military readiness or unit cohesion. Therefore, we ask that transgender individuals continue to be allowed to serve their country,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD.

Trump’s concerns about the “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail” echo arguments underlying the Defense Department’s previous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, Puente said. He cited research by Aaron Belkin, PhD, a leading scholar and director of the Palm Center, which has found no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.  “Indeed, Dr. Belkin has found that the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell appears to have enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission,” Puente added.

2016 RAND report commissioned by DoD found that the health care costs of letting transgender people serve openly in the military would increase by no more than a mere 0.13 percent. 

Research has shown that discrimination is a significant source of stress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderpeople and has substantial adverse effects on their health and well-being.  For decades, APA has been engaged in applying psychological science to improve the health and well-being of LGBT people. Learn more. APA has urged psychologists to take a leading role in ending discrimination based on gender identity and has called for more research into all aspects of gender identity and expression. APA’s governing Council of Representatives adopted a resolution in 2008 supporting full equality for transgender and gender-variant people and legal and social recognition of transgender individuals.  – via Press Release

Dr. Robert Spitzer, Psychiatrist Credited With Removing “Gay” From List Of Mental Disorders, Dies at 83

Dr Robert Spitzer

Dr. Robert Spitzer — a psychiatrist who played a leading role in establishing agreed-upon standards to describe mental disorders and eliminating homosexuality’s designation as one — died Friday in Seattle. He was 83.

Spitzer’s work on several editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the D.S.M., defined all of the major disorders . Spitzer came up with agreed-upon definitions of mental disorders by convening meetings of experts in each diagnostic category and taking notes on their observations.

Dr. Spitzer is credited with removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in the D.S.M. in 1973. He decided to push for the change after he met with a group of gay activists and determined that homosexuality could not be a disorder if gay people were comfortable with their sexuality.

Spitzer told the Washington Post: “A medical disorder either had to be associated with subjective distress — pain — or general impairment in social function.”

In 2012, Dr. Spitzer publicly apologized for a 2001 study that found so-called reparative therapy on gay people can turn them straight if they really want to do so. He told the  New York Times in 2012 that he concluded the study was flawed because it simply asked people who had gone through reparative therapy if they had changed their sexual orientation.

“As I read these commentaries (about the study,) I knew this was a problem, a big problem, and one I couldn’t answer. How do you know someone has really changed?”

Spitzer’s successful push to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders was a major advance for gay rights and the gay community owe him a debt of thanks for success we have had so far in achieving equality today.

Gay History - December 15, 1973: American Psychiatric Association Vote That Being Gay IS NOT A Mental Illness

American Psychological Association Applauds President Obama’s Call to End Use of Reparative Therapies On LGBT Youth


The American Psychological Association expressed strong support for President Obama’s call for a society that accepts young people in their gender and sexual development, rather than rejecting them, labeling them as bad, or suggesting that they should change. APA has previously voiced its concerns about the scientific and ethical basis of efforts to change sexual orientation and about the way the promotion of such efforts by some individuals and organizations contributes to the social stigma that harms gender and sexual minorities.

“So-called reparative therapies are aimed at ‘fixing’ something that is not a mental illness and therefore does not require therapy. There is insufficient scientific evidence that they work, and they have the potential to harm the client,” said APA 2015 President Barry S. Anton, PhD. “APA has and will continue to call on mental health professionals to work to reduce misunderstanding about and prejudice toward gay and transgender people.”

A 2009 APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Response to Sexual Orientation concluded that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation due to a lack of evidence that such change is possible and the potential for such efforts to harm the patient’s mental health.

A Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts, which accompanied the task force report and was adopted by the APA Council of Representatives, advised that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder. It recommended that they instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services “that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

The American Psychological Association, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.