WHO panel concludes there is no scientific basis for gay-specific mental disorders

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The International Classification of Diseases, the world's most widely-used diagnostic reference, has several entries related to gay, lesbian, and transgender lifestyles. F66.0 in the ICD is "sexual maturation disorder," the most commonly used diagnosis of this type, usually for those with confusion about sexual orientation or self-identification.

Rooted in Freudian theory and long held in the ICD, this entry and others like it are finally being questioned by the World Health Organization, which appoints the panel which oversees the ICD's editing and publication.

A panel, convened by the WHO after long protests regarding the entries have been raised globally, concluded that the Freudian view of homosexuality and transgender issues is not as linear and simple as Freud believed. After reviewing decades of studies on sexual orientation and mental health, the panel has recommended that the five homosexuality-related psychological disorders in the ICD be stricken.

"It is not justifiable from a clinical, public health or research perspective for a diagnostic classification to be based on sexual orientation," the group wrote in their report.

The recommendation does not necessarily mean that it will be so, however. The ministers of health for more than 170 WHO-participating countries must now vote to validate the changes and objections from many are expected. Homosexuality is as much political as it is personal and scientific, and in many nations is a hot-button issue for these reasons. It will be a fight similar to that which happened in the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s when homosexual-based psychiatric disorders were finally stricken from the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual.


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