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Stigma in psychiatry seen through the lens of sexuality and gender

King, M; (2019) Stigma in psychiatry seen through the lens of sexuality and gender. BJPsych International , 16 (4) pp. 77-80. 10.1192/bji.2019.12. Green open access

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Abstract

The history of psychiatry and homosexuality illuminates how stigma develops in the professions, how it is linked to cultural values and religious attitudes and how it affects patients. Homosexuality was medicalised as a disorder in the late 19th century and this led to treatments to change it. Same-gender contacts between men were decriminalised in many countries in the 1960s and 1970s, but – as recently as the 1980s – 30% of doctors in the USA did not think that gay students should be admitted to medical school and 40% would not allow gay doctors to specialise in paediatrics or psychiatry. Lesbians and gay men were effectively debarred from training in the main psychoanalytical schools in the USA and the UK. Although mainstream psychological treatments to make gay and bisexual people heterosexual fell into disrepute in the 1980s, so-called conversion or reparative treatments took their place and are still practised today. Transgender people have been the target of similar disapproval and attitudes towards them have been even slower to change than those towards lesbians and gay men. This stigma had consequences on the health, well-being and social inclusion of those who were lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). This history suggests we need to examine where psychiatry and psychology are making similar mistakes today.

Type: Article
Title: Stigma in psychiatry seen through the lens of sexuality and gender
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bji.2019.12
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1192/bji.2019.12
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author 2019. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Keywords: Stigma and discrimination, homosexuality, psychiatry, psychology, transgender
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093558
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