Pentagon Document Classifies Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder
A Pentagon document that surfaced this week classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, grouping it with retardation and personality disorder. The document has outraged medical professionals, psychologists, and members of Congress, who disagree with this labeling and its discriminatory undertones. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Psychological Association have both written letters condemning this classification, while nine members of Congress have asked for a full review of the document and policy.
The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which first called attention to this classification, points out that this document was re-certified as “current” in 2003, despite the fact that the APA removed homosexuality from DSM-IV-TR (the definitive guide to mental health classifications) over 30 years ago. Dr. Steven Samuels, a social psychologist who has worked with the military, suggests that this classification is not scientifically derived, but socially and politically motivated. According to CSSMM, he stated that, “to classify homosexuality with mental retardation, impulse control, and substance abuse, shows at best an ignorance of basic psychology and at worse a purposeful intolerance and discriminatory practice that is incompatible with the high values of the military.”
The Pentagon maintains a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with regard to closeted homosexuals and prohibits openly gay women and men from serving at all. Within the last year, 726 military members were discharged under the “don’t ask” policy, signaling the first increase in dismissals since 2001. In response to the recent criticism, a Pentagon spokesman said the document is currently under review.
Media Resources: Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at UC Santa Barbara 6/20/06; Associated Press 6/20/06; Department of Defense Instruction: Physical Disability Evaluation 11/14/06
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .