Description: The history of psychoanalytic theorizing about homosexuality is more than a century old and has undergone numerous revisions. Early on, psychoanalytic attitudes toward homosexuality could be reasonably characterized as hostile. The presentation begins with Freud’s early views on homosexuality within the cultural context of his times. It then reviews later pathologizing psychoanalytic theories as well as the research of sexologists which ultimately led to the 1973 decision of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Today the contributions of openly lesbian and gay analysts have shifted psychoanalytic focus on homosexuality from discussions of “why gay?” to the more clinically relevant question of “how gay?” This presentation shows how the history of psychoanalytic attitudes toward homosexuality illustrates how psychological theories cannot be divorced from the political, cultural, and personal contexts in which they are formulated. Drescher, J. (2008). A history of homosexuality and organized psychoanalysis. J. American Academy of Psychoanalysis & Dynamic Psychiatry, 36(3):443-460.
Jack Drescher, MD is Past President of the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and Past President of APA’s New York County Psychiatric Society. Dr. Drescher, a recipient of the 2022 Mary S. Sigourney Award for International Work in Gender and Sexuality, served on APA’s DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders and served on the World Health Organization’s Working Group on Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health that revised the gender diagnoses in WHO’s 2019 revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). He served as Section Editor of the chapter on Gender Dysphoria in the DSM-5 Text Revision (DSM-5-TR). He is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Faculty Member, Columbia University’s Division of Gender, Sexuality and Health, Clinical Supervisor and Adjunct Professor, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and Training and Supervising Analyst at William Alanson White Institute. He is Emeritus Editor of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health and serves on editorial boards of many academic journals. His publications have been translated into Italian, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Finnish, and German. His website is www.jackdreschermd.net.
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