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American Psychoanalytic Association issues apology to LGBTQ community

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 15:51:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Friday, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) issued an apology to the LGBTQ community for recognizing homosexuality as a mental disorder for decades.

The apology comes during pride month and on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City.

“Regrettably some of that era’s understanding of homosexuality and gender identity can be attributed to the American psychoanalytic establishment,” said APsaA president, Dr. Lee Jaffe in a statement. “It is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession.”

At the kick off of APsaA’s 109th Annual Meeting at the San Diego Intercontinental Hotel, Jaffe spoke to a room filled with psychoanalysts saying in part, “For many years we viewed homosexuality as an illness, and we denied opportunities for learning in our training programs to LGBTQ professionals unless they concealed their sexuality. Our views led to discrimination both internally and in society at large.”

Over the last several decades, APsaA has pushed for LGBTQ equality, even becoming the first major mental health organization to support marriage equality. The group has also lobbied to end conversion therapy and to lift the transgender military ban.

“While APsaA is now proud to be advocating for sexual and gender diversity, we all know that hearing the words ‘we are sorry’ is important to healing past trauma,” said Jaffe.

Dr. Justin Shubert who is co-chair on APsaA’s Committee on Gender and Sexuality was in attendance of the annual meeting and says he hopes the words Friday are a step in the right direction.

“It’s just a few words but they really mean a lot I think,” said Shubert. "I feel that this is a statement that where we’re saying not only we’re sorry, but we welcome LGBT people to treatment and now the focus is just about helping people feel authentic about who they are."