The president of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), Dr. Lee Jaffe has apologised for the organisation previously treating homosexuality as a mental illness.

The American Psychoanalytic Association only declassified homosexuality as a mental condition back in 1991, and it only did this under the threat of anti-discrimination laws. However, it has since taken a more positive stance toward LGBTQ rights, including backing same-sex marriage and opposing gay ‘conversion’ therapy.

Addressing the group’s 109th annual meeting, Dr. Lee Jaffe said: “It is long past time to recognize and apologize for our role in the discrimination and trauma caused by our profession and say, ‘We are sorry.’

“It’s hard to admit that one has been so wrong.”

Dr Jack Drescher, a member of APsaA, and a leading figure on the history of the way the LGBTQ community has been treated by psychiatrists and psychologists, made reference to New York city’s police chief apologising for the police raid that lead to the Stonewall riots.

Speaking to US News, he referenced the previous declassification, saying: “They did the work of apologising but they did not say the words. If the police commissioner of New York City could do it, why couldn’t we do something similar?”

Dr. Justin Shubert, an analyst based in Los Angeles, said: “As someone who comes from a long line of analysts who have been fighting for LGBT people, this felt like a watershed moment.”

Last year, before the country legalised homosexuality, the Indian Psychiatric Association, which is India’s largest psychiatric body, declassified homosexuality as a mental illness.

In a video, which was posted on social media, the body’s president, Dr. Ajit Bhide said: “Certain people are not cut out to be heterosexual and we don’t need to castigate them, we don’t need to punish them, to ostracize them.

“It is a step in the right direction… whatever your sexual orientation, whatever your sexual preference, as long as there is no other party being hurt, an individual should be allowed to practice.”

Related: Richard Green, one of the first psychiatrists to call for homosexuality to be declassified as a mental illness, dies aged 82

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