PAS MP Says LGBT Is Mental Illness, But What Does The Psychology ‘Bible’ Say?
While almost everything was once considered a mental illness, the DSM allows proper diagnosis to be made.
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Back in the day, almost everything, including being left-handed (yes you read that right), was considered a mental illness.
Similarly, falling in love with someone of the same sex was also considered a mental illness by many.
History of aversion therapy for homosexuals
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, some therapists even employed aversion therapy to “cure” male homosexuality.
This “therapy” typically involved showing patients pictures of naked men while giving them electric shocks or drugs to make them vomit, to create a form of aversion towards other men.
Then, once they could no longer bear it, they’d be shown pictures of naked women or would be sent out on a “date” with a young nurse.
Needless to say, these cruel and degrading methods proved entirely ineffective.
Thankfully, science stepped in (proper science and not any of that pseudo stuff) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Second Edition (DSM-II) was first published in 1968.
What is the DSM?
Nicknamed the “bible” of psychologists, the DSM is a reference book on mental health and brain-related conditions and disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is also the body responsible for the writing, editing, reviewing and publishing of this book with the latest edition being the fifth edition published in May 2013.
The book provides clear, highly detailed definitions of mental health and brain-related conditions as well as details and examples of the signs and symptoms of those conditions.
Additionally, it also organizes those conditions into groups, making it easier for healthcare providers to accurately diagnose conditions and tell them apart from conditions with similar signs and symptoms.
What does the DSM-5 say about homosexuality?
Coming back to the question about whether or not homosexuality is a mental illness, in 1973, APA had a voting session with all members which consisted of around 8,000 psychiatrists to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder.
According to research papers quoting the voting session, 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.
Homosexuality was then removed from the DSM but replaced with “sexual orientation disturbance” for people “in conflict with” their sexual orientation.
It was not until 1987 when homosexuality completely fell out of the DSM.
Why is this relevant now?
Twitterjaya erupted yesterday after Pasir Salak MP Jamaluddin Yahya suggested that those in the LGBT community should be classified as having mental health issues during the debate on the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill.
Kapar MP Halimah Ali then agreed with the suggestion, and said she would include it in her speech.
She then went on to say that mental health disorders are a major problem in the country.
This sparked extreme anger among many netizens, politicians and activists, who all condemned the idea that being homosexual was a mental illness.
A report by the New Strait Times quoted Relate Mental Health Malaysia founder Dr. Chua Sook Ning, who questioned if the suggestions made were backed by valid scientific evidence as it could lead to more harm than good.
It is worth asking whether this suggestion is firstly scientifically valid, and secondly to examine the consequences of this suggestion (intended and unintended). Will it lead to more harm and ill health than good?Relate Mental Health Malaysia founder Dr. Chua Sook Ning
On the other hand, netizens also pointed out that homosexuality has been declassified as a mental illness since the publishing of the DSM-2 and called the acts of these MPs discriminatory.
Such an irresponsible statement. Mental health is a sensitive topic and mustn’t be weaponized against a group of people for political milestone. That’s outright discriminatory. PAS zealots will say and do all unethical things to achieve their ends.@justalhafiz via Twitter
MP Malaysia ni ketinggalan jauh atau pengetahuan lapuk? Queer sexuality dah lama tak ada dalam DSM-V, a guide to diagnose one with mental illness or disorder. Dari 90an lagi. And what’s with the obsession of treating people’s sexuality and seeing it as an illness??@emmericium via Twitter
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