From Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/741456
Psychiatrist Instrumental in Removing Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder
April 25, 2011
Alfred M. Freedman, MD, who served as the 102nd president of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) from 1973 to 1974 and was instrumental in removing homosexuality from the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Second Edition) as a designated psychiatric disorder, has died in Manhattan at the age of 94 years.
In a statement released by the APA, James H. Scully Jr., medical director and chief executive officer of the APA, said Dr. Freedman “helped lead important changes for psychiatry and the APA as well as our entire society as he helped to end discrimination against gays and lesbians nearly 40 years ago.”
Dr. Freedman, who was active on the APA board as a past-president well into his 90s, became president as a petition candidate by the slimmest of margins.
Dr. Alfred Freedman. Courtesy New York Medical College
In an interview with Michael Blumenfield, MD, The Sidney E. Frank Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College, Valhalla, that appeared in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health in 2009, Dr. Freedman described the unusual circumstances that led to his election.
“The Committee of Concerned Psychiatrists approached me to be the petition candidate for the election. I declined at first, but finally, in December, feeling sure that I would be defeated, I accepted the nomination and was elected with a margin of 3 votes out of 20,000!”
The years preceding his election were a time of social turmoil and desire for change. Two of the major issues of the day were the Vietnam War and the debate over removing homosexuality as a disease. The APA members were deeply divided about both issues.
“From the end of World War II until into the 1970s, the APA had been run by a clique; the nominating committee would present a slate with single candidates for each office who would automatically be elected. It was known as an old boy’s club and there was great resentment. That group resisted any change or reform in regards to the Vietnam War, or to sexuality, or to a number of other issues of the day,” Dr. Freedman recalled in the interview.
As soon as he took office, Dr. Freedman supported a resolution, which was drafted by psychiatrist Robert L. Spitzer, of Columbia University, to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. The resolution was passed on December 15, 1973, by a vote of 13 to 0, with 2 abstentions.
Continue reading at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/741456