guidelines that classified homosexuality as a mental
disorder now place it among a list of conditions,
circumstances, or "defects" that range from
bed-wetting to fear of flying.
The new rules are
related to the military's retirement practices. The
change does not affect the "don't ask, don't tell" policy,
which prohibits officials from inquiring about the sex
lives of service members and requires discharges of
those who acknowledge being gay.
The revision came
in response to criticism this year when it was
discovered that the guidelines listed homosexuality
alongside mental retardation and personality
professionals said Thursday they were not satisfied by the
your good-faith effort to address our concern that the
document was not medically accurate," James H. Scully, head
of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote David
Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and
readiness. "But we remain concerned because we believe
that the revised document lacks the clarity necessary to
resolve the issue."
outline retirement or other discharge policies for service
members with physical disabilities. The rules include
sections that describe other specific conditions,
circumstances, and defects that also could lead to
retirement but are not physical disabilities. Among the
conditions are stammering or stuttering, dyslexia,
sleepwalking, motion sickness, obesity, insect venom
allergies, and homosexuality.
"More than 30
years after the mental health community declassified
homosexuality as a mental disorder, it is disappointing that
the Pentagon still continues to mischaracterize it as
a 'defect,'" said Democrat Marty Meehan, a congressman
from Massachusetts and member of the House Armed
spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said, "Homosexuality should not
have been characterized as a mental disorder. A
clarification has been issued."
association declassified homosexuality as a mental
disorder in 1973. Questions about the Pentagon's guidelines
were raised in June by a research institute at the
University of California, Santa Barbara.
There were 726
military members discharged under the "don't ask,
don't tell" policy during the budget year that ended
September 30. (AP)