I recently attended another meeting for organized medicine. I’m not a member of the American Psychiatric Association, so I don’t attend their meetings, but GLBT concerns are often discussed in other concerned organizations. The pediatric group (AAP) has some of the most progressive policy on homosexuality, including support for gay marriage as it has potential health care access consequences for gay families. The American Medical Association recently discussed this same issue.

Whenever I attend one of these meetings I get a great sense of angst. It’s not the topics themselves that bother me, or the dozens of variations on the theme—insurance coverage for sexual reassignment surgery, the acceptability of blood donations by gay men, etc.—it’s that I sense a subtext of one kind of discrimination replacing another. I feel marginalized as a religious person, rather than a gay one.

This American Life has played a story called 81 words about the change in the DSM. they’ve played it on several occasions over the last few years, and I highly recommend listening to it. It’s not short, but it’s very interesting and well worth the listen. But, despite that I love the story, and I agree with the outcome, I can’t help but note a few places in the narrative where those on the losing side of history are vilified for their beliefs and efforts. I believe they were well-intended. I really do. And I wonder if that’s the source of my angst in organized medicine.

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6 comments

  1. avatar

    gfb

    So are you saying you agree with the change, but feel you are grouped with the well intended individuals that fought the change because you are religious?

    Do you ever listen to This American Life on NPR. A few years ago they published a story about the change in the DSM. I found it fascinating. I believe they did a great job of not vilifying anyone. Have you ever heard this? If so how true do you believe it is? I believe you can listen to it on line as part of the archives.

    Also, do you agree with the associations position on same sex marriage? And, is this part of why you feel angst?

    Thank you

  2. avatar

    gfb

    I am sorry now I have clicked on your link I see this is the story you were referring to. Can you explain why you feel those that fought the changed are vilified in the story?

  3. avatar

    -L-

    Actually, I listened to the story again recently in the background while working on something else, but I didn’t pay super-close attention. The reporters did a fairly good job of being impartial, I think, but there were times that the sense was conveyed that there was no conceivable professional reason why a psychiatrist could believe that homosexuality might be related to mental illness. Whether it is or not is not the issue in relation to my angst—it’s that those who even ask the question are labeled as bigots.

    This goes for the other two examples I gave as well. Could there be a reason other than discrimination why insurance companies might have reservations about paying for sexual reassignment surgery? Something not diabolically discriminating? Because there’s a definite sense when the issue is debated that you are political toast if you stand up to offer any testimony to that effect. In the case of blood donations, the data show that there is an increased burden of communicable disease and new deaths by lifting the ban on men who have had sex with men, but it’s a political feat most aren’t willing to attempt to stand up and say so during the testimony part of reference committees. I don’t disagree with most of what has been done, only with how it is being done.d

  4. avatar
  5. avatar

    GFB

    L
    I just finished re-listening to 82 words. I think this story is told in a wonderful way. I believe the story is told very fairly, but it really points out the injustice that was performed on those who fought the change is this why it fill you with angst. Does it reminds you of the injustice that the group you are part of performed.

  6. avatar

    -L-

    What injustice was performed on those who fought to change the DSM? And what group do I belong to that perfomed this injustice?