Alberta Finally Removes Homosexuality From Mental Disorder List

by | December 23, 2010
filed under LGBT, Politics

Came across this Edmonton Journal article via Queerty yesterday:

EDMONTON — Alberta continues to list homosexuality as a “mental disorder” along with bestiality and pedophilia, and doctors used the diagnostic code to bill the province for treating gays and lesbians more than 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004, government records show.

The province has known about the classification for more than a decade and the Conservative government first promised to change it in 1998. On Tuesday, Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated that promise.

Seriously, Alberta? Seriously? The Canadian Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1982, and the WHO did so in 1990. Keeping homosexuality on the books gives fuel for the arguments of homophobic fundamentalist groups and there’s no excuse for it to be on Alberta’s books 5 years after BC removed it from theirs, and 9 years after China agreed being gay doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill.

Luckily by the end of the day yesterday Alberta had announced they had removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. But even though the immediate issue has been dealt with, the realm of gender and sexual identity related to mental illness is still contested terrain. Pink News points out that most health bodies, including the APA and the WHO still list transsexualism as a mental illness rather than a medical condition, a factor which can contribute to the stigma facing trans people and the scrutiny they face when trying to access health services. France is the only country in the world to de-list transsexualism as a mental illness.

Here’s hoping it won’t take decades for places like Alberta and the rest of Canada to follow France’s lead.

-Jarrah

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