Today we celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. It marks the day when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases in 1990. This date isn’t very long ago and we still have a tremendous amount of work to do as a global society to achieve greater understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people, who are among the most persecuted all over the world.
As a Catholic and a Franciscan Brother, I am moved and saddened by the hatred faced by so many LGBTQ people, each and everyday. Growing up, I was blessed to have been given a strong network of support and love, in the form of my family, friends, and now my religious community… but I know that so many others have not had this same positive experience. For them, I pray that God will bless them with strength and give them an understanding that they are uniquely, particularly loved by the Divine and that one day it will get better. For the Church, I pray that we can work towards greater inclusivity and less judgment, violence, and oppression. May our witness be one of love and not hate.
Because God is good, all good, and every good, I trust that we will arrive at a place where we will no longer classify people who are seen as “different” as “intrinsically disordered”. Thank you to science and medicine for leading the way. I hope that the Church will follow one day.
Below is a link to a World Health Organization proposal on declassifying other “disorders” that are based on sexual orientation for the upcoming ICD-11, which will be published next year.
“The Working Group on the Classification of Sexual Disorders and Sexual Health was charged with reviewing and making recommendations on disease categories related to sexuality in the chapter on mental and behavioural disorders in the 10th revision (ICD-10), published in 1990. This chapter includes categories for diagnoses based primarily on sexual orientation even though ICD-10 states that sexual orientation alone is not a disorder. This article reviews the scienti c evidence and clinical rationale for continuing to include these categories in the ICD. A review of the evidence published since 1990 found little scienti c interest in these categories. In addition, the Working Group found no evidence that they are clinically useful: they neither contribute to health service delivery or treatment selection nor provide essential information for public health surveillance. Moreover, use of these categories may create unnecessary harm by delaying accurate diagnosis and treatment. The Working Group recommends that these categories be deleted entirely from ICD-11. Health concerns related to sexual orientation can be better addressed using other ICD categories.” (WHO)