Guest Blog: The History of The Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists

As part of PRMS’ ongoing efforts to support the behavioral healthcare community and to promote the organizations that work towards this mission, we are pleased to highlight the Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists (AGLP) and Roy Harker, AGLP’s Executive Director, as our featured guest blogger. Mr. Harker shares more about the organization’s history, vision, and goals for the future.   

AGLP strives to be a community for the personal and professional growth of all LGBTQ+ psychiatrists, and to be the recognized expert on LGBTQ+ mental health issues. The organization is a community of psychiatrists that educates and advocates on LGBTQ+ mental health issues.

AGLP is the oldest association of LGBTQ+ professionals in the United States. Celebrating more than 40 years of service to the LGBTQ+ community, the organization traces its roots to the late 1960s, when gay and lesbian members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) met secretly at the annual meetings. At that time, in most states, homosexuality could be used as cause for the loss of licensure to practice psychiatry. After the now-infamous appearance by Dr. John Fryer – in which the physician in disguise, referred to as Dr. Anonymous, declared at the 1972 APA meeting, “I am a psychiatrist. I am a homosexual,” – and the behind-the-scenes work of several members who were referred to as the “GayPA”, the APA removed homosexuality from their diagnostic manual (DSM). This allowed a more open association of lesbian and gay psychiatrists, who no longer had to fear that their sexual orientation would jeopardize their jobs. Even today, the mission of providing support and a safe space for LGBTQ+ psychiatrists to meet continues to be important to many of our members.

As an independent organization from APA, AGLP still works closely with APA through LGBTQ+ representation on the APA Assembly (the LGBT Caucus of the APA), APA position statements, LGBTQ+ Committees of the DSM, the creation and staffing of an AIDS Committee, Awards like the Dr. John Fryer, M.D., Award, and research and advocacy of particular interests to the LGBTQ+ community through their quarterly Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health. AGLP also offers an online referral service to those seeking LGBTQ+-friendly counselling, support, and psychiatric treatment.

In 2015, The Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists changed its name to AGLP: The Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists, to serve a broader constituency of members and patients in the LGBTQ+ community.

AGLP continues to support its members and advocate for patients by:

  • Publishing a quarterly newsletter, free to members
  • Publishing the quarterly Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, the official journal of AGLP, and providing a free subscription for all full, associate, early career, and medical student members
  • Conducting a full schedule of seminars and discussion groups concurrent with the annual meeting of the APA
  • Sponsoring several awards honoring the accomplishments of people and organizations that contribute to the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Sponsoring social gatherings and a hospitality suite at the APA annual meeting and other psychiatric meetings
  • Working within the APA to influence policies relevant to the lesbian and gay community
  • Collaborating with other gay and lesbian physician organizations and mental health professionals
  • Providing referral services for lesbian and gay patients
  • Assisting medical students and residents in their professional development
  • Encouraging and facilitating the presentation of programs and publications relevant to gay and lesbian concerns at professional meetings
  • Serving as liaison with other minority and advocacy groups within the psychiatric community

Learn more about AGLP and how to become involved at www.aglp.org.

 

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