Remembering Our History, and Thinking About Our Future
The title of this talk is “Remembering Our History.” One of the most important things that I think is instructive from the history of our movement and from the history of psychiatry and mental health is that being homosexual was in the DSM as a mental disorder. Do people know this? Being gay was considered being sick and diseased, a mental disorder. And it wasn’t until 1986 that it was taken out. People often say that it was taken out in 1973 but, no, it wasn’t until 1986. Because after 1973 they still had something called “ego-dystonic homosexuality.” If you were gay and it was a problem for you then that was a mental disorder. Well, actually, I thought that being gay was ok, that the real problem was homophobia– that’s the problem! [applause] We’re now in a different place with being gay: homosexuality was taken out of theDSM completely and we accept diversity and we speak openly about this.
This is slowly starting to happen with coming off medications. People are less afraid of it and they are more willing to be open to it. it’s not seen as just a symptom of your illness that you don’t like your medications. Yes, medications work for many people. But, also, some of us they don’t work for. We need help and support when we want to discuss coming off medications. It’s no longer as much of a taboo as it was. I’m going to keep working on that, to make it less of a taboo.