Homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder by the DSM until 1973. Well, really until 1986. In 1980 they changed “homosexuality” into “ego-dystonic homosexuality” which was: (1) a persistent lack of heterosexual arousal, which the patient experienced as interfering with initiation or maintenance of wanted heterosexual relationships, and (2) persistent distress from a sustained pattern of unwanted homosexual arousal. Which basically says, “If you are okay with being gay it’s not a mental disorder. But, if you don’t want to be gay then it’s a mental disorder.” Which is a nicer way of saying. “If you want to be who you are, it’s not a mental disorder. But, if you don’t want to be who you are, your homosexuality is mental disorder.” It wasn’t until 1986 that homosexuality was entirely removed from DSM.
Rick Welts, the CO and President of the Golden State Warriors, is a gay man. He came out last May. He is the only openly gay serving executive in U.S. professional sports history.
When Charles Barkley was asked his thoughts on the matter: “First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.” Chuck. Never afraid to put it like it is.
(Just for kicks. Once Barkley was pulled over for running a stop sign he told the cop he was in a hurry because he was going to see a girl who had “given him a ‘blow job’ one week earlier,” which he described as “the best one he had ever had in his life.” He ended up being charged with a DUI.)
Oh, back to the point. Homosexuality.
Asperger’s is viewed as a spectrum disorder. Meaning everyone falls somewhere on the spectrum. This is the same way Kinsey viewed homosexuality and heterosexuality. Not gay or straight. But, a continuum of sexuality. Find me a straight man who isn’t struck by Ryan Goslin and I will find you a liar.
We’ve seen the damage that saying there was “something wrong” with homosexuals has done to their cause and to the lives of gay people. Obviously, there were different reasons besides purely scientific, that homosexuality was classified as a “mental illness”. But, there is a good lesson to take away from it. It is now obvious to us that homosexuality is not a mental illness and there is nothing wrong with homosexuals. I’m assuming you are not voting for Rick Santorum or that you are Rick Santorum.
What other “mental illnesses” or “disorders” are in the DSM that we will one day view as normal behavior? And, what harm are we doing to those with a “disorder” or “mental illness” to attach that stigma of “something is wrong with them”? There are extroverts and introverts. There are type A and type B personalities. There are gay people and straight people? Why can’t some just be a Asperger personality? Or for that matter schizophrenic personality?
If we view someone as “mental ill” or having a “disorder”, it means there is something wrong with them and that they need to change for us. But, if some thing is a “normal” behavior and we reject it, that means there is something wrong with us and we need to change for them.
Here is the great New York Times story were Welts came out.