Psychiatrist, gay rights trailblazer honored in Philadelphia

October 01, 2017 - 10:28 am

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A psychiatrist considered a trailblazer in the gay rights movement for appearing before his colleagues at a 1972 convention in a mask to announce his homosexuality is being honored in Philadelphia.

Dr. John E. Fryer's actions are credited with paving the way for the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders after his appearance.

A historical marker about Fryer will be unveiled Tuesday in the Gayborhood, Philadelphia's main social hub for LGBT residents.

The LGBT civil rights organization Equality Forum says Fryer's actions were "monumental."

Before it was delisted as a mental illness, treatment for homosexuality included chemical castration, electric shock therapy and lobotomies.

The year after Fryer's convention appearance, the association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the profession's bible.

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