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British psych org denounces Indonesian classification of LGBT as mental illness

Leading mental health professional organizations worldwide reiterate that same-sex sexual orientations are not diagnosable illnesses, and thereby oppose any psychological, psychotherapeutic or counseling treatment or interventions.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has denounced the report that the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association had classified lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sexual and gender identities (LGBT) as mental illnesses.

In a statement, Professor Elizabeth Peel, chair of the BPS Psychology of Sexualities Section said that “people of same-sex sexual orientations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and non-normative gender identities and all other non-heterosexual sexual orientations should be regarded as equal members of society. This includes freedom from harassment or discrimination in any sphere, and a right to protection from therapies that purport to change or ‘convert’ sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Peel actually only reiterated the BPS position statement published in 2013 that clearly stated that same-sex sexual orientations are not diagnosable illnesses, and thereby opposes any psychological, psychotherapeutic or counseling treatment or interventions.

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) has the same position. In October 2011, PAP released a position paper to “align itself with the global initiatives to remove the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with diverse sexualities and to promote the wellbeing of LGBT people.”

The PAP Code of Ethics (2010) is also clear in its stance against discrimination, calling for Filipino psychologists to “recognize the unique worth and inherent dignity of all human beings; and to respect the diversity among persons and peoples (Principle I, a and b). This means that Filipino psychologists should not discriminate against or demean persons based on actual or perceived differences in characteristics including gender identity and sexual orientation (Ethical Standard III-A and C; V-B.8).”

Numerous major mental health professional organizations worldwide conclude that lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are normal variants of human sexuality. These include: the American
Psychiatric Association in 1973, the American Psychological Association in 1975, British Psychological Society, the Colombian Society of Psychology, Psychological Society of South Africa, the Australian Psychological Society, and the International Network on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns and Transgender Issues in Psychology, among others.

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