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Pentagon reverses on listing of homosexuality as mental illness

by Michael Rogers

(Washington DC - PQ News, June 28, 2006) In response to the discovery that the Department of Defense had classified homosexuality as a mental illness, the Pentagon has released a statement changing the designation, PageOneQ has learned.

The classification became public when reported by news agencies on July 19, almost ten years since it was first issued in 1996.

PageOneQ spoke with Lt. Colonel Jeremy Mertan from the Office of the Secretary of Defense's public affairs office earlier today. Colonel Mertan provided the following statement regarding the change in what is formally known as Department of Defense Instruction 1332.38 (Nov 14, 1996):

The directive has been reviewed, homosexuality should not have been characterized as a mental disorder in an appendix of a procedural instruction. A clarification will be issued over the next few days. Notwithstanding its inclusion, we find no practical impact since that appendix simply listed factors that do NOT constitute a physical disability, and homosexuality of course does not.

The change to the instruction does not affect the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy regarding the service of gays and lesbians in the US armed forces. The policy allows gays and lesbians to serve, but only if they remain deeply closeted.

Steve Ralla, Director of Communications at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network posted an entry on the organization's blog, Freedom To Serve. Along with a picture of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and country music legend Dolly Parton, Ralls wrote:

We've just learned that the Pentagon has updated the much talked about instruction, listing homosexuality as a mental disorder, to be current with all other Department of Defense regulations (which had adopted the right view of the situation years ago). The instruction will now reflect, along with all other Pentagon materials, the APA-accepted stance, adopted in 1973, that lesbian, gay & bisexual orientation is decidedly not a mental disorder.

Kudos to the Pentagon for doing the right thing. We think Dolly (who we love, hence the photo) would give Rumsfeld a thumbs up, too.

PageOneQ has spoke with a representative of the Traditional Values Coalition. As soon as a statement is issued, we will update this article. DEVELOPING..


Originally published on Wednesday June 28, 2006.

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