The pathologisation of sexual diversity – a critical scrutiny of the DSM

32 | 2015

Rita Alcaire

University of Coimbra, Portugal

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard reference for the classification of mental disorders. This article draws on contributions from different areas of expertise to discuss three classifications concerning sexual orientations and identities created within the DSM throughout decades. The aim of this paper is two-fold: 1) it will focus on the creation of psychiatric diagnoses for sexual practices, orientations and identities and 2) it will describe the resistance on the part of different groups whose behaviour is described within those terms. Three examples will be examined: homosexuality as a mental illness, tr


sexual diversity, DSM, pathologisation, human rights, activism, ‘reflexive project’

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