In the past, homosexuality was considered to be a psychological disorder, up until the APA removed it from its list of mental illnesses. This was due to the fact that homosexuality causes no form of impairment on the individual’s judgment, stability, reliability, or general social and or vocational abilities. This decision made over 30 years ago, has caused a lot of criticism, many believe that the APA’s decision was made due to the amount of influence that the homosexual activism and not according to the scientific data that was collected.
There are two possible sides to this assumption about whether or not homosexuality is and should be considered a psychological disorder. According to an article published in the Scientific Controversies: Case Studies in the Resolution and Closure of Disputes in Science and Technology, edited by H. Tristam Engelhardt Jr. , and Arthur Caplan, Cambridge U. Press, 1987. Dr. Irving Bieber, described the attempts for psychiatry to adopt a new perspective regarding sexual normality.
During this time the psychiatric professions were moving from the established psychoanalytic theories based on unconscious motivations, in which they claimed that if you cannot visible see distress, dysfunction, and or disability among psychological conditions then it isn’t seen as being disordered. Dr. Bieber while attempting to describe the difficulty of classifying homosexuality concluded that homosexuality was not a normal sexual adaptation.
When the APA adapted a new set of criteria for defining psychological disorders, Bieber argued that psychopathology, which could possible show signs of distress, social functioning, and the ability to work effectively could be present in psychopathology. Many others agree that homosexuality is indeed a psychological disorder, and argue that it actually stems from unhappiness in the family that leads to more unhappiness throughout their lives. Many individuals refer to it not being God’s will thus it is constituted as abnormal, thus it is a mental disorder.
On the other hand, homosexuality is defined as being attracted to or aroused by individuals of the same sex. Homosexuality is considered not to be a mental disorder due to the fact that their actions don’t impair their ability to function either at work or in their personal lives. Homosexuality doesn’t have an effect on their ability to function or hinder their ability to handle their responsibilities at work, nor does it prevent them from being able to create and maintain long lasting and healthy personal relationships. Homosexuals are just as psychologically healthy as any heterosexual is.
The infamous Sigmund Freud and Havelock Ellis adopted a more accepting stance regarding homosexuality. Ellis in 1901, argued that homosexuality was inborn thus it wasn’t immoral, that it wasn’t truly a disease, and many homosexuals had contributed outstandingly in society. Sigmund Freud had another stance about homosexuality, and that was that he felt that all human beings were innately bisexual, and those they actually become either homosexual or heterosexual as the result of their past experiences with their parents and others. Either way Freud agreed with Ellis that homosexuality shouldn’t be viewed as a form of pathology.
In a very famous letter that Freud wrote to a mother back in 1935, he stated that homosexuality cannot be considered as an illness, and that he considered it to be a variation of sexual function produced by certain area of sexual development. He then went on to note that many highly respectable figures throughout both ancient and modern times have been homosexual including Plato and Leonardo Da Vinci. In 1957, psychologist Evelyn Hooker conducted a study in which she asked if homosexuals and heterosexuals differed in their psychological adjustments.
She then recruited a group of homosexuals who were considered to be functioning normally in society. Then she employed a procedure asking experts to rate the adjustment among the men without previously knowing their sexual orientation. Her study concluded that homosexuality was in no way a clinical entity nor was it associated with psychopathology. In conclusion, Homosexuality is not a psychological disorder. The APA’s board of directors chose to remove it from the DSM- IV- TR, due to the great deal of data collected, along with the changing among social norms and the development of homosexual and gay activist organizations.
We have to also take into consideration that by labeling homosexuality we quickly are exhibiting discrimination against those individuals. There is nothing in regards to homosexuality that would cause a great deal of distress and or cause them impairment in their ability to function normally. Their sexual preference shouldn’t be considered as a being a psychological disorder. The fact that an individual prefers the same gender doesn’t mean at all that they have a mental illness, it doesn’t affect their ability to be outstanding members in society, nor does it directly hinder their ability to unction. Psychological disorders are defined as the individuals behavior or thoughts that impacts their life altogether and as causing a significant amount of distress for the individual. Homosexuality does not mean distress for these individuals, it is merely preference. If homosexuality was considered to be a psychological disorder, we take away the right to privacy after all sexuality is private; we would also be taking away the right to happiness, the right for them to make their own choices, the right for them to be them.
How can the choice that they choose to make in their private life that doesn’t have any effect on their ability to function nor does it cause distress to them be considered a psychological disorder? They are not seen as being harmful to themselves or others by living their life the way that they choose to. Their sexual preference has no effect on how their psychological functioning, thus homosexuality is not a psychological disorder. It doesn’t affect their ability to think, feel, act, and the ability for them to become functioning members of society.
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