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December 18, 1996

Textbook of Homosexuality and Mental Health

Author Affiliations

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons New York, New York

JAMA. 1996;276(23):1921-1922. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540230071042

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Homosexuality has been variously defined throughout modern history. The shifts in perception from sinful abomination to criminal act to psychiatric disease set the stage for the debate that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its official diagnostic nomenclature. This decision by the APA hierarchy and membership in 1973 was accompanied by a daring statement of unequivocal support for the protection of homosexuals' civil rights. Given the dominant role that the psychiatric establishment had played in creating the view of homosexuality as psychopathology, these pronouncements may be construed as among the most important events to influence how homosexuals are perceived in American culture. It is not surprising, then, that virtually every author in this noteworthy text refers to the 1973 decision and its implications throughout the mental health field.

One crucial aftermath of the decision has been the astounding growth in the last two decades of a