Alberta removes homosexuality from list of disorders
EDMONTON, Alberta, January 4, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-family advocate has slammed the Alberta government’s decision before Christmas to remove homosexuality from the province’s list of mental disorders.
“It’s just a political decision based on avoidance of political pressure and has nothing to do with common sense, nothing to do with the well-being and welfare of homosexuals at all,” said Gwen Landolt, national vice president of REAL Women Canada.
The Vancouver Sun reported December 21 that “homosexuality” was still listed in the Alberta Health and Wellness Diagnostic Codes under “Mental Disorders: Sexual Deviations and Disorders.” It appeared there alongside bestiality and pedophilia.
The article prompted quick action from the provincial government, which not only removed homosexuality, but also transvestitism and transsexualism.
“Within eight minutes, I ordered that it be removed,” Alberta Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky told QMI Agency. “I found that particular classification to be an inaccurate one and inappropriate one.”
“The first thing that went through my mind is this is perhaps an ancient viewpoint that just doesn’t belong anywhere in a contemporary society,” he added. “The important thing is that it’s been removed and hopefully we can move on.”
The fact that the province’s diagnostic codes still included homosexuality shocked many, as the deviance had been removed by most jurisdictions and the major health bodies many years before – the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, the Canadian Psychological Association in 1982, and the World Health Organization in 1990.
The 300-page code is used by doctors when they bill the province for their services. The Sun reported that doctors billed for treating homosexuality over 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004, but by 2009 bills came in from only five doctors.
The media inquiry was sparked by a human rights complaint initiated against the government on December 15th by Edmonton homosexual activist Rob Wells, the same man who launched the complaint against Catholic Insight magazine.
“People point to the diagnostic codes to justify their homophobic bigotry,” he told the Sun. “It is used by a lot of fundamentalists to justify their homophobia, to claim that homosexuals are diseased.”
However, Dr. Julie Harren Hamilton, president of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), told LifeSiteNews that many are “dissatisfied” with unwanted same-sex attractions and seek help from therapists to “avoid homosexual behaviors and increase their heterosexual potential.”
But with the removal of homosexuality by the APA in 1973, she said, “many therapists have come to incorrectly believe that growth and change for those experiencing these feelings is not possible. This is not true.”
“It is important to note that the research reveals that both change of orientation and change of behavior are possible for some people,” said Dr. Hamilton, an assistant professor of psychology at Palm Beach Altantic University and a licensed marriage and family therapist. “Ethical mental health organizations and practitioners have a responsibility to be familiar with the research and offer their clients alternative ways of viewing their unwanted homosexual attractions. They need to know that some people can and do change.”
Landolt stated: “Common sense says that homosexuality’s not natural.”
“It is a deviation from the normal and you cannot change that. You can put it down on paper, but everyone knows instinctively that it’s not acceptable.”