Timeline of sexual orientation and medicine

Timeline of events related to sexual orientation and medicine

19th century


20th century






  • The Bay Area Physicians for Human Rights was founded in San Francisco as a support group for gay and lesbian medical students, residents, and other health care providers. The group claims to be the first LGBT medical society in the US.[1]




  • The World Health Organization replaced its categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness with the diagnosis of ego-dystonic homosexuality.




  • Dr. Dean Hamer published a paper suggesting a genetic component to sexual orientation.[3]



  • The US Department of Defense included homosexuality in a list of "mental disorders", in a document known as "directive 1332.38: physical disability evaluation".

21st century


America’s gay and lesbian population comprises a diverse community with disparate health concerns. Major health issues for gay men are HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, substance use, depression, and suicide. Gay male adolescents are two to three times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide. Some evidence suggests lesbians have higher rates of smoking, overweight, alcohol use disorder, and stress than heterosexual women. The issues surrounding personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation can place a significant burden on mental health and personal safety.


  • New York Medical College revoked the charter of its LGBT medical student group after the applies to change its name from Student Help Organization to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People in Medicine. School officials claimed “the organization and its leader would advocate and promote activities inconsistent with the values of NYMC.”[5][6] In an interview with the Westchester Journal News, then AMA president Dr. John Nelson said that as a private institution the college has the right to set and enforce its own policies. The AMA organization did not support the ban, and the organization released a statement claiming the president's views were not representative of AMA policy.[7]

If you own a business or if you have a private entity, and there are rules for membership there, you have to follow the rules or you can't be a member. For example, if you come to Brigham Young University, where my children happen to go to school, there are certain things you do not do, among which is, you do not drink Coca-Cola on campus because that's against the rules. ...

Dr. John Nelson, president AMA[8]
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics published "Sexual orientation and adolescents", a report on the state of health of LGBT youth in the United States.

These [LGBT] adolescents may experience profound isolation and fear of discovery, which interferes with achieving developmental tasks of adolescence related to self-esteem, identity, and intimacy. Nonheterosexual youth often are subjected to harassment and violence; 45% of gay men and 20% of lesbians surveyed were victims of verbal and physical assaults in secondary school specifically because of their sexual orientation. Nonheterosexual youth are at higher risk of dropping out of school, being kicked out of their homes, and turning to life on the streets for survival. Some of these youth engage in substance use, and they are more likely than heterosexual peers to start using tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs at an earlier age. Youth in high school who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; engage in sexual activity with persons of the same sex; or report same-sex romantic attractions or relationships are more likely to attempt suicide, be victimized, and abuse substances. . . . School-based studies have found that these adolescents, compared with heterosexual peers, are 2 to 7 times more likely to attempt suicide [and] are 2 to 4 times more likely to be threatened with a weapon at school.


  • American Medical Association president Edward Hill became the first AMA president to address the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association in a speech entitled "Understanding, Advocacy, Leadership: The AMA Perspective on LGBT Health."

I know that GLMA members and LGBT physicians have been treated unfairly by the AMA in the past. There is simply no excuse for discriminatory actions or exclusions based on sexual orientation or gender identity -- none. First, GLMA has opened [the AMA's] eyes to the diverse needs of LGBT patients, and second -- and just as important -- GLMA has told patients that they have the right to expect a health care system filled with openness, fairness and equality."[10]




  • The National Library of Medicine created the medical subject heading "Homophobia". The new medical topic was meant to catalog scientific reporting on "Differential treatment or unequal access to opportunities or services based on perceived homosexual preference or orientation."[15]



See also


  1. "BAPHR - About". Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  2. "Stonewall's 50th Anniversary and an Overdue Apology". Psychology Today. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  3. Hamer, Hu, Magnuson, Hu and Pattatucci (1993) A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science 261(5119): pp. 321-7.
  4. Healthy People 2010, 2nd ed. "A Systematic Approach to Health Improvement" http://www.healthypeople.gov/Document/tableofcontents.htm#parta Archived 2007-06-27 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2008-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. Gay group is bad medicine? - Washington Blade
  7. "thebacklot.com - Corner of Hollywood and Gay". thebacklot.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  8. Eddings, Keith. The Journal News. 12 February 2005 http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/021205/a01p12gaymed.html Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Pediatrics Vol. 113 No. 6 June 2004, pp. 1827-1832 http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;113/6/1827 Archived 2008-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  10. AMA (GLBT) News release from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
  11. "tugsa.net - Registered at Namecheap.com". Archived from the original on 2017-09-25. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2008-07-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "thebacklot.com - Corner of Hollywood and Gay". thebacklot.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  14. "Lexington, KY local and state news by the Lexington Herald-Leader - Kentucky.com". Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  15. National Institutes of Health. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/cgi/mesh/2014/MB_cgi?mode=&index=26844&view=concept Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  16. "American Psychoanalytic Association Apologizes for Classifying Homosexuality as Mental Illness". Thegavoice.com. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-06-26.