Province takes homosexuality off list of classifications for mental disorders
The province has removed homosexuality off its list of classifications for mental disorders. The removal was ordered by Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky.
The minister says the line in the diagnostic code only came to his attention a day earlier.
"This is a change that is not only the right thing to do but it's also something that perhaps has been a long time coming that could have been, should have been done before, but frankly, when I found out about it, I acted immediately to ensure it was done," said the minister.
Homosexuality was de-listed as a disorder by the Canadian Psychiatric Association in the early 1980s. And it was removed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973.
The diagnostic codes were fully reviewed just four years ago but the listing was not removed.
One University of Alberta researcher thinks it's a black eye on the province that the removal took this long.
"I think it absolutely contributes to that stereotype of Alberta being redneck, roughneck," said Kristopher Wells. "What professional is going to want to come to Alberta, particularly if they're gay or lesbian, when they see this kind of policy on the books?"
The province first considered removing homosexuality from the list back in 1998. Government documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request show Alberta doctors used the diagnosis almost 1,800 times between 1995 and 2004.The health minister has now ordered a thorough review of the entire classification code to ensure there aren't more out-of-date lines in the diagnostic codes.
With files from Bill Fortier