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As noted by C. Silverstein (personal communication to K. J. Zucker, December 18, 2007), the Activist Committee was composed of seven members: Ron Gold, Bernice Goodman, M.S.W., Rose Jordan, Jean O’Leary, Ray Prada, Charles Silverstein, Ph.D., and Bradford J. Wilson, Ph.D. Gold currently alternates residences in New York City and Bangladesh. Goodman died in 2003 (Bernard, 2004). Jordan lives in New York City. O’Leary is deceased. The whereabouts of Prada are unknown. Wilson is deceased.
As noted by C. Silverstein (personal communication to K. J. Zucker, December 18, 2007), “There were no minutes kept of our meetings. Those were the days when we talked to one another constantly on the telephone. No computers, e-mail, instant messages. We never had a formal agenda and most decisions were made by consensus, the politically correct procedure in that decade.”
According to C. Silverstein (personal communication to K. J. Zucker, December 18, 2007), “All members of the committee obviously wanted the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder. Ron Gold also maintained that the committee should demand the complete abolition of the medical model in psychotherapy and the rejection of DSM in its entirety. His position did not resonate with other members of the committee since it would have been rejected along with our desire to remove homosexuality from DSM. The professional members of the committee… argued that all the sexual disorders should be removed from DSM, except for the section on child molesting, obviously the hottest button on the list. It was agreed that the sexual disorders list was a prime example of pejorative labeling, but the committee… felt that making such a demand at that time would confuse our goal of eliminating homosexuality as a mental disorder. It was agreed that we confine our argument only to homosexuality, with the hope that its elimination would spur others to examine the whole of what were then called the paraphilias. There is no written documentation of this since there were no minutes taken at any meeting, nor of our discussion on the telephone.”
In the course of writing this letter, I have archived all of the documents I had on file pertaining to the work of our activist committee with the Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender, and Reproduction (Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana). I thank the Editor of the Journal for suggesting this.
American Psychiatric Association. (1973, December 15). Press release.
American Psychiatric Association. (1974). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (2nd ed., seventh printing). Washington, DC: Author. (Originally published 1968).
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American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed., rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Bayer, R. (1981). Homosexuality and American psychiatry: The politics of diagnosis. New York: Basic Books.
Bernard, L. D. (2004). In memoriam: Bernice Goodman (June 27, 1927–April 27, 2003). Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 17(1), xix–xxii.
Silverstein, C. (1976–1977). Even psychiatry can profit from its past mistakes. Journal of Homosexuality, 2(2), 153–158.
Silverstein, C. (1977). Symposium on homosexuality and the ethics of behavioral intervention. Journal of Homosexuality, 2(3), 205–211.
Silverstein, C. (1984). The ethical and moral implications of sexual classification: A commentary. Journal of Homosexuality, 9(4), 29–38.
Suppe, F. (1984). Classifying sexual disorders: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Journal of Homosexuality, 9, 9–28.
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Silverstein, C. The Implications of Removing Homosexuality from the DSM as a Mental Disorder. Arch Sex Behav 38, 161–163 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-008-9442-x
- Sexual Orientation
- American Psychiatric Association
- Child Pornography
- Nomenclature Committee
- Activist Committee