Thursday, December 23, 2010

Alberta Still Lists Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder

     Thanks to my friend Sheila from Calgary for pointing this out to me, but in yesterdays issue of the Vancouver Sun a story was run detailing how the Alberta government still has homosexuality listed as a mental disorder (alongside pedophilia and bestiality). As the article states,

Alberta continues to list homosexuality as a “mental disorder” along with bestiality and pedophilia, and doctors used the diagnostic code to bill the province for treating gays and lesbians more than 1,750 times between 1995 and 2004, government records show. 
The province has known about the classification for more than a decade and the Conservative government first promised to change it in 1998. On Tuesday, Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated that promise. 
“It has no place in Alberta,” Zwozdesky said, adding he has called for a review of the entire 300-page diagnostic code. “It is simply an incorrect and unacceptable classification and I’ve ordered it to be removed immediately.” 
The diagnostic code is used by doctors when they bill the province for services provided to Albertans. 
The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, followed by the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 1982. Eight years later, in 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases, known as the ICD-10. 
In 1998, then-health minister Halvar Jonson said the province was in the process of changing the codes. 
“A new coding structure has been developed which Alberta Health is considering,” Halvard wrote in a letter to then-Liberal health critic Gary Dickson. “This new coding will address the concerns regarding the classification of the diagnostic code for homosexuality.” 
Alberta’s current diagnostic codes were last updated in 2005, the same year that British Columbia removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders and four years after China did so.
      Overall, I'm not surprised that Alberta listed homosexuality as a disorder still, though they are promising a change, and no doubt one will happen. My friends, remember this is the same government that refused - until told by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Vriend decision -  to put sexual orientation in its Human Rights code. This is the same government that allows parents to remove their children from classrooms if the oh so taboo subject of sexual orientation is discussed. And this is the same government that threatened to use the Notwithstanding Clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when marriage equality was legalized by the Federal Parliament in 2005.

Edit: In another article that I read on this subject from the Globe and Mail, they are saying that it HAS officially been "scrubbed" from the provinces mental disorder list.

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