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
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .