The diagnostic status of homosexuality in DSM-III: a reformulation of the issues

Am J Psychiatry. 1981 Feb;138(2):210-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.138.2.210.


In 1973 homosexuality per se was removed from the DSM-II classification of mental disorders and replaced by the category Sexual Orientation Disturbance. This represented a compromise between the view that preferential homosexuality is invariably a mental disorder and the view that it is merely a normal sexual variant. While the 1973 DSM-II controversy was highly public, more recently a related but less public controversy involved what became the DSM-III category of Ego-dystonic Homosexuality. The author presents the DSM-III controversy and a reformulation of the issues involved in the diagnostic status of homosexuality. He argues that what is at issue is a value judgment about heterosexuality, rather than a factual dispute about homosexuality.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Homosexuality* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manuals as Topic*
  • Mental Disorders / classification*