SNF Nostos


One-on-One, Parallel sessions

The power of diagnostic labels: History, psychiatry, and the pathologization of sexual and gender minorities 

Friday June 23, 16:00, Alternative Stage GNO

In this panel, speakers Jeremy Greene and Ketil Slagstad, moderated by Ruth Faden, touched upon various issues, such as gender identity, the social role of women, social and political equality. More specifically, Ruth Faden kicked off the conversation by mentioning the complex impact of psychiatry on people’s wellbeing. Jeremy Greene added that the social power of psychiatrists becomes evident not only through conversion therapies, but also through the adaptation of the manual of the American Psychiatric Association in 1973, which declared that homosexuality is not a mental illness, but a normal variant of human existence. Ketil Slagstad talked about the Stonewall riots in 1969, which became a milestone for the gay activist movement. As far as the role of women is concerned, Greene noted that although women are not a gender minority in the world, they are minoritized in positions, especially in medical ones. Besides, there have been diagnostic structures, such as hysteria, to delegitimize their right to participate in the public sphere. Both speakers agreed that doctors should be aware of how to engage with minority communities and speak up to defend medical knowledge and science, which have been politicized during the last years. Finally, Ruth Faden wrapped up the discussion suggesting that societies should anticipate the backlashes regarding the rights of LGBTQIA+ people, and therefore it is their duty to figure out how to cope with them.

Moderated by Ruth Faden