AGLP Fall Meeting
Saturday, September 14, 2002
Roy Harker, Executive Director
Before beginning with information regarding the upcoming Fall Business Meeting, I feel some thanks and kudos are in order regarding the immediate past. The events of this years Annual Meeting were successful on many, many levels, and my thanks go out to all those who dedicated much time and effort in the process. In particular, I would like to thank the Philadelphia Local Arrangements Committee: David Krefetz, Chair, David Johnson, Program Book Editor, Alan Sandman, Program Book Co-editor, Michael George, Gary Kramer, Richard Limoges, Anthony Marino, Mark McClurg, Larry Miller, John Pesolar, and Robert Ranando. Social events were hosted by David Krefetz, Roy Harker and Bob Ranando, Alan Sandman and John Pesolar, Sisters, and Woodys. We took in 24 new members during the week a new record for membership at any annual event. Membership satisfaction with the hotel, banquet arrangements, venues and other planned events was very high. And the entire event came in under budget! Congratulations to all who made this possible!
Now looking to the future...
Plans for the AGLP Fall Meeting are in place and your attendance is strongly encouraged. This important planning meeting of the AGLP Council is open to all members, but only Council members may vote. The Bylaws allow the president of AGLP to appoint task forces whose chairs serve on the Council. If you have an issue that you feel needs to be brought to the attention of the membership, this is your opportunity! Your concerns and suggestions should be made known to Mary Barber, M.D., AGLP President, at least two weeks before the meeting date to be included on the agenda. The Meeting will take place in the JW Marriott Hotel, 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
After last years positive response, I have booked the same hotel again as this years official AGLP Hotel. A block of 15 hotel rooms has been reserved for AGLP members at the Washington Terrace Hotel (formerly the Doubletree) on Embassy Row, 1515 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20005. The discounted room rate is $149.00 per night (single/double). Call 202-232-7000 and ask for the AGLP block. The block runs Friday, September 13 and September 14 (two nights only). The cut-off date for reservations is August 24.
Before the meeting, on Friday, September 13, we hope to have a forum continuing the discussion began at our executive retreat this past May in Philadelphia. The goal is finish some of the objectives begun in the long-range planning of our organization in time for this years round of grant writing. If you attended the retreat I hope you will consider coming to the follow-up as well. More specific information will follow shortly.
Following the Retreat forum, an opportunity for socializing will be planned at the home of Rick Imirowitz, M.D. and his partner Terrance Heath. Their address in Washington is 1513 Vermont Avenue, NW. If you plan to attend, please contact the National Office at 215-222-2800 or visit our website at www.aglp.org. You can make your reservation online. More information on this catered dinner event will follow.
Please make a point to attend these important meetings. Ill see you in Washington!
Cheryl Chessick, M.D.
I am sitting at my desk at work, playing "America the Beautiful" and hoping no one comes by my office or theyd think I was nuts. It is close to July 4th, I have recently come back from visiting NYC for the first time since September 11th, and I have just lost a great team that I have worked with i.e. case manager and resident. When I came to the University, I did not realize the impact of working with new residents on a unit where patients are struggling with their most basic impulses, feelings, and thoughts.
I am not sure I should weep for the pure privilege I have had to be part of my patients lives or being able to watch young doctors grow and mature in their profession or if I should nosh my teeth knowing that I will be going over this same process over and over till I retire.
As I am experiencing a lot of intense feelings this morning, I think of Katharine Lee Bates who wrote this most wonderful song, "America the Beautiful" and the amount of passion she carried around with her. I think of her poems in "Yellow Clover" that she wrote for her "Joy of Life" (Katharine Corman). I am in awe of the way in which she shared with us the intensity of her feelings for the things she loved around her.
I am in my second year now at the University of Colorado. I am more out and feeling less of the feeling that I had regressed back to the closet than I did last year at this time. The regents have just passed a vote allowing partners benefits. My partner, the love of my life for over eleven years, and I are eloping to Boulder where we can be registered (anonymously) which is one of the requirements for obtaining benefits. The fabric of life keeps moving along ever so slowly and yet changes in the blink of an eye.
My hope for the next year for our newsletter is that more of us write. Listen; if I can put my words in this newsletter next to many more prolific and articulate members in our group, you can certainly feel comfortable to join me. We all would like to know more of what all our members are doing. You may want to do something a little different by writing a book/movie review. Has anyone seen "Kissing Jessica Stein"? If you want some ideas or help, feel free to email or call me.
I hope to start a new process with the next newsletter. I will pick someone randomly from the membership directory. I hope to interview that person for the next newsletter and then have that person interview someone at random from out membership directory for the following newsletter, and so on.
Our organization is here to support our patients, educate, but also to be support for each other. I hope that we can do that throughout the year in our newsletter in-between our larger meetings.
Thanks for listening to my rambling and have a great rest of the summer.
Mary Barber, M.D.
Greetings from New Yorks Hudson Valley, where summer has been beautiful, and where a million gardening and landscaping projects continually beckon! At least I can see progress, as I look outside my house at a lawn growing where last year I saw only rocks and dirt.
Its hard to believe that the annual meetings in Philadelphia happened two months ago. For those of us able to attend this year, the meetings were a great place to reconnect with each other and get some good work done. The Philadelphia local arrangements committee provided excellent hospitality, with receptions at a members home almost every night of the meetings. Some of the discussion groups provided us with ideas for new projects. For example, an especially lively parenting discussion in the hospitality suite will hopefully lead to a book about gay parenting from the point of view of psychiatrists in various stages of parenting or considering becoming parents. The viewing and discussion of a distorted anti-gay film in the APA meetings will potentially lead to an AGLP film about mainstream psychiatrys views on sexual orientation conversion therapies. These are just the sorts of projects AGLP should undertake, to help educate other professionals and the public about LGBT mental health issues, and to advance our own knowledge in the process.
An important part of the AGLP meetings this year was the retreat, held to help us clarify AGLPs mission and vision, and to prioritize our goals for the future. We did not have enough time in the afternoon allotted to hammer out exact mission and vision statements, but we were able to get a sense of the general messages. Our dual missions are member support and advocacy we are here to support our members, both personally and professionally, and to educate the public and promote research. We all agreed that however we decide to broaden our reach and get our message out beyond the psychiatric community, we must not forget that we are still a member organization, and we must remain relevant to that mission. Our vision reflects the same goals, in that we see ourselves as an authority on LGBT mental health issues, and as a forum for the personal and professional growth of LGBT psychiatrists. Our retreat facilitator informed us that a mission statement should be 1. One sentence, 2. Understandable by an 8th grader, and 3. Able to be recited at gunpoint. With those guidelines in mind, well try to refine the wording on our mission and vision in our Fall Planning meeting. Why is this important? With our reasons for being an organization firmly in mind, well be able to communicate our message much more clearly to others, and amongst ourselves. The more we grow and evolve as an organization, the more important this will become.
Speaking of growth and evolution, another important change that occurred during the May meetings was the change in title for our National Office Director. For a while now, Roy Harkers job has expanded beyond managing an office to duties such as web master, public relations person, general coordinator for the newsletter and journal, budget manager, the beginnings of development work, and more. Thus by membership vote, Roys title was changed to Executive Director of AGLP, reflecting increased responsibilities hes carried for some time. Please join me in congratulating Roy on his new title, and on his longstanding, vital service to AGLP.
If you are able to come to Washington, DC on Saturday, September 14, consider coming to AGLPs Fall Planning meeting, held all day at the JW Marriott Hotel. This is the meeting where we plan for the May Annual meeting, as well as other projects and general goals for the organization. We will take some time either before or during the Saturday meeting to finalize our mission and vision statements. The fall meeting also includes a dinner gathering, held either on Friday or Saturday evening at a members home. Although Board, Council and Committee members are the only people required to attend the fall meeting, any AGLP member is welcome to come to listen and voice their opinions on AGLP business. Please call Roy or me if you are interested in attending the meeting.
A new fact sheet on homosexuality and pedophilia is going up on the web site. Since child sexual abuse and pedophilia have been covered widely in the media lately, many of you may have gotten questions from other professionals or the public. Hopefully, you can use this fact sheet as a reference in communicating what we all know to be true that gay people are not sexual predators, and that there is no relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.
I just returned from a vacation in Vermont, where my partner and I renewed our vows for our fifth anniversary by having a Civil Union. It was a really worthwhile experience, which Ill describe more fully in the next issue of the newsletter.
I hope to see many of you in DC this September!
California, Here We Come!
By Dan Karasic, M.D.
The AGLP meeting in San Francisco in May 17-21, 2003 promises to be exciting and fun. Our host hotel is the Courtyard Marriott at 2nd and Folsom Streets (299 Second Street), just 2 blocks from the Moscone Center. The hotel just opened a few months ago, so everything is shiny and new. It'll be a pleasant and convenient place to stay during your visit to San Francisco.
Room rates are $199 per night, single/double, with $20 for an additional person. We have only have a limited number of rooms, so we encourage you to reserve early. You may call 800-321-2211 and ask for the AGLP block (Group Code AGLP) . If you experience any problems, you may contact our group Sales Associate, Linda Iwamoto, at 415-947-0700.
Plan to come to the Saturday AGLP Conference, on May 17. In San Francisco, we plan an all-day LGBT mental health conference jointly sponsored with UCSF. The larger scale of the conference will allow us to present a breadth of perspectives on LGBT mental health that you won't get elsewhere. We are working on providing CME credits for the conference. Saturday night after the meeting, we plan a party to allow conference participants to continue the conversations begun that day.
The incredible hospitality of David Krefetz and all of the Philadelphia local arrangements committee has set a high standard for those of us in San Francisco to match. We're up for the challenge!
We are interested in your input and participation in planning. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Interview of Dr. Margery Sved, this years recipient of the James Paulsen Award
By Cheryl A Chessick, M.D.
-How did you get where you got?
I grew up in New Jersey, came to North Carolina for college, and except for the 6 years I was elsewhere for residency, fellowship, and 1st job, I've been in Durham-Raleigh-Chapel Hill ever since. I knew when I first came south for my college interviews that I would like it here, and that's been true. Duke University undergraduate, part of the fledgling lesbian/women's community here during those early 1970 years. Worked for a year in a tumor virology lab (which ended up being one of the prominent HIV labs later on, and gave me some basic science on which to later learn about AIDS/HIV), trying to decide if I thought I could be happy without going to medical school (after all, I was still a rebellious teenager who didn't want to follow in my mother's footsteps). But moved on down the road to UNC for medical school, at which point my local women's community (as was true for so many during those few crazy years) told me I was "joining the patriarchy" and "could! not be a lesbian." (and for some reason I believed them) Thought I would do Family Practice, then OB-GYN. Went to Amsterdam for my 3rd year core OB, to learn childbirth from midwives, which is still a high point of my life. But came home to realize I could not do American Ob-Gyn, and thought I 'd do psychiatry for a year or two till I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Moved to Charleston SC for my psychiatry residency, came out again, and quickly got very involved with the new organization AAPHR (American Association of Physicians for Human RIghts, before it became GLMA).
-How has it been to serve on different committees, etc.?
I've always been a joiner, and learned from my parents that anything I cared enough about I needed to be involved with, so from the very beginning, was Women's Issues Chair for AAPHR, then on the AAPHR Board for several years (mostly treasurer). I kind of heard somewhere in there that there was a gay and lesbian psychiatrist group, but I never went to APA, so I didn't find it. Someone (maybe Bob Cabaj, but by then I was also on the national advisory board for PRIDE Institute, so met several other psychiatrists that way) suggested me for the APA's Committee of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Issues, and that's how I first got to APA and found AGLP.
-What has been your most important moment professionally, personally, and in your extra activities with the APA/AGLP? Professionally:
1) my 3 months of medical school in Amsterdam; 2) helping the architects design a new hospital to replace Dorothea Dix hospital (although this did not come to fruition) it was really really neat to put my clinical knowledge and expertise into designing spaces to do optimum patient care. Personally: 1) adopting and parenting Eliana, 2) adopting and parenting Sara, 3) meeting Grace when I assumed I'd grow old single, 4) getting married in front of over 200 friends, family members, church and synagogue members. APA/AGLP: 1) getting Jim Paulsen award, 2) speaking from the Assembly dias as to why APA needed a position statement in support of same sex marriage 3) getting a phone call out of the blue from Stu Nichols, a few weeks before he died, thanking me for being a role model for him!!
-I heard you are suing your partner?
Yes, we've been advised not to seek a second parent adoption in NC at this time, that most likely a negative precedent setting ruling would happen. But the lawyer(s) suggested that I sue Grace for custody of Eliana, with her reply as "sure, if I can have joint custody of Sara." We've seen the draft consent decree, which is very nice, and it is supposed to be signed by a judge sometime this summer, maybe without us even having to appear. The main things it will address would be health insurance, school and medical decisions, and a few other things that we've already been able to do anyway. But, it will be nice to have a piece of paper.
-Do you ever have time to relax?
I fantasize of relaxing when I retire. It really is hard with two kids. Much of our social life is attending potlucks of a variety of relevant groups such as gay and lesbian parents and their kids, families with internationally adopted children, families with children from Guatemala, gay and lesbian Jews, etc. During the summer I try to swim in the evening a few times a week with my kids. I try to play bridge with some friends once a month. I did just have a great time, which included relaxation but not enough sleep, at the 19th annual Women in Medicine, retreat for lesbian physicians in Burlington VT. I had gone to the first 8 or 9 of them, but hadn't gone for the past 10 years. I try to read for pleasure for a little while most nights before bed.
What do you like to do? favorite food? best book? movie? best vacation?
I'm not sure I've ever been asked some of these before. I do like to spend time with my family, and with my family and various friends. I also like to read, swim, and play bridge. When I read for myself, it is mostly women mystery writers. I like to keep fairly up to date with lesbian mystery writers from small presses, though these usually aren't as well written as some of the more mainstream authors. A favorite (mainstream) is Anne Perry. I think Shrek was my favorite movie this past year, though Monsters, Inc and Snow Dogs were pretty good, and I did not like Lilo and Stitch. Harry Potter as a movie was better than I expected. It is rare I get to see a grown up movie!! I did get to see a preview of Dee Mosbacher's Radical Harmonies this past week, and it was great. My all time favorite vacation was a two week rafting trip in the Grand Canyon, but this past week was up there among the better vacations (and it ! even included 13 hours of CME credit). We did get "civil unionized" with 14 other couples while in Vermont, but I will mention that in my column.
-Where do you see the APA going? Where would you like to see AGLP going?
The APA is in difficult times these days, both financially and membership-wise, as are many similar organizations. I do think the APA needs to "downsize," figure out what our membership really wants from our national organization, and do a smaller number of things well. APA has tried to be "all things to all people" which was fine when finances were easier for the organization and for many of us individually. I think it continues to be important for AGLP to provide support especially for medical students, residents, and newly out psychiatrists, as well as to continue advocacy for gay and lesbian issues within the APA. I'd like to see us increase our advocacy and visibility related to mental health issues within the various LGBT communities. This past week reminded me how I really miss seeing more women at the AGLP events during the May meeting.
-Where do you see your energies put in the future?
Mostly more of the same. I don't know how many people know that Grace and I also become licensed foster parents over two years ago, and I have become involved both locally and nationally with efforts to improve the mental health evaluation and treatment of children in foster care.
I think it is worthwhile to mention how very different my life is now than when I first become involved in AGLP. I started out single, and in many ways expected to stay single. But then I met Grace, then we adopted Eliana, and then we adopted Sara. Both Grace and I cut back significantly on our various community involvements when we became a family. However, core values I learned from my parents include to be involved in things that are important to me, and that I can change things, and I would not be happy in my current family if I did not continue to be involved.
On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish
Todd Kline, M.D.
(Dr Kline is a third year resident in psychiatry at University of Colorado Health Sciences Center)
My friend Rob and I were talking earlier this week about the process of coming out. He was comforting me in my struggles to help my close-knit family with their first year of knowing that I am gay. Rob told me what a difficult time his mother initially had, and just how far she had come since that time nearly 10 years ago.
"Last week she sent me pictures from a trip in Europe." he said. "In Amsterdam, she stood proudly in front of whats known as the Homo monument. She now actually relishes the fact that I am gay."
"The Homo monument?" I asked.
"Its a statue dedicated to gays who were killed in the Nazi death camps."
"Oh..." I gulped, a chill creeping over me, remembering my own trip to Amsterdam and my visit to the Anne Frank House. As a gay Jewish thirty-year-old, I realized that just fifty years ago, I would have been sentenced to death on two counts. But two counts of what? Being Jewish and gay are two aspects truly integral to me, special to me; and they have been hated, decreed abominable throughout history, and still today throughout the world.
But I am lucky. I am a resident doctor in America in 2002. I feel freer to express my sexuality to whomever I choose, and I have increasing rights to have a partner of my choice and even gain health insurance for that person should we marry (a right just procured at The University of Colorado, hooray!) I am free to express my Judaism as well, attend synagogue if I want and wear a Star of David around my neck. The world is changing quickly for the moment.
In Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish, the homosexual and Jewish populations and cultures are compared and contrasted. This is a very readable collection of twenty-five essays written by lesbian and gay Jews of vastly differing backgrounds, and experiences. It was collected and edited by Christie Balka and Andy Rose and published in 1989. This 260-page book is arranged into five sections, each taking a particular direction in understanding what it means to be both homosexual and Jewish, and why individuals can often feel estranged from both groups. There are introductions to each section written by the editors.
The first three groupings center on multifaceted experiences of growing up gay and coming out, and how to both reclaim historical aspects of Judaism, while still honoring present homosexual relationships. The last two sections act like a springboard, discussing the ways in which new communities of Gay and Lesbian Jews may be formed in the future. The Epilogue is named "Transforming our Visions into Action."
The compilation explores many themes, and I will touch on a few of them here. The first is the way in which the experience of being homosexual can be similar to the experience of being Jewish. "Like Jews who assimilate," states Balka, "we learn to pass as heterosexual--dressing the part, omitting a lovers gender from conversation, or refraining from public displays of affection." Jews, as Balka relates have tended toward exchanging their tallit and kipas (prayer shawl and skullcap) for business suits and ties. This theme is carried through the anthology. In Confessions of a Feygele Boichik, Burt Schuman relates this theme in his fathers fears of appearing Jewish in America. Schuman relates: "This was painfully evidenced when my fathers business associates would come to dinner, or when my father expressed fears about displaying an electric menorah in the window or mowing the lawn on Sunday."
Similarly, in Hiding is Unhealthy for the Soul, Rachel Wahba describes the difficulties her Jewish family experienced during a period that they lived in Iraq: "You never know what danger awaits you," Wahbas mother had explained to her. "Be careful and have eyes in the back of your head because you never know..." Wahba describes that "The parallels between being a Jew and a lesbian are obvious. We struggle against prejudice and for civil rights, and we struggle for the right to be visible without fear. We strive to preserve self-respect and maintain self-esteem in the face of bigotry and ignorance."
In Journey Toward Wholeness: Reflections of a Lesbian Rabbi, the author describes a report she had heard regarding the "secret Jews of New Mexico, remnants of the Marranos, the crypto-Jews of late medieval Spain who hid their Jewish identities in order to escape persecution at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition." Regarding the fact that she actually writes the essay under a pseudonym, she states that "like the Jews of New Mexico, I too and an "escondida," a hidden one. I am a Jew. I am a woman. I am a rabbi. I am a lesbian."
In addition to exploring the ways in which homosexuals and Jews hide and the ramifications of that invisibility, this book expresses that homosexual people come in numerous varieties; that in truth, gay people cannot be lumped together into a single category. This is well described in the great spectrum of individuals who have written essays in this anthology. Each author is unique. For instance, In You Didnt Talk about These Things: Growing up Jewish, Lesbian, and Working Class, Felice Yeskel describes what it is like to identify with the three differing groups and parts of herself. She relates: "I felt shame when I had to tell kids what my father did... I wasnt sure which was worse: being a bagman or a peddler... Again, I found myself in the position of being different and not having a name for my difference." So, for each of us, socioeconomic upbringing has far-reaching effects on our self-image, and how we approach the world.
In Different Like Moses, Alan Zamochnick describes that "growing up with cerebral palsy and a severe hearing impairment was not easy." He relates that he began questioning his sexuality "in abnormal psychology class." He continues: "I learned about the homosexual stereotype and the resulting social stigmatization. I could not identify with it, but the erotic images of the hairy nude male kept floating back into my minds eye." For Zamochnick, who reports struggling to find a partner who will accept him, his physical disabilities are a major factor in his image of himself, as much as being Jewish and a gay man.
My favorite essay, called Gerrys Story: An Oral History by Jeffrey Shandler, begins with a quotation from Gerry Faier, from a fund-raising letter for SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment): "Im a seventy-nine year-old great grandmother who also happens to be a lesbian." Faier relates: "I was a person who felt like such an outcast... I carried guilt, embarrassment, shame, isolation, and all of the ugliness that society heaped on my kind of people--gay people--and we internalized it all to such a degree that it made us sneaky...And my life was lived that way for a long time, until I realized that Im a person, Im a wonderful person, Im a very unique woman." Age also affects ones sense of self, particularly when he or she has lived a proud life. Shandler writes: "As a female, a Jew, a poor person, a single parent, a labor organizer, a Communist, a lesbian and now as a senior citizen, Gerry sees her otherness not only as deviance from an establishment order, but as the fulfillment of her own pattern, of being true to the uniqueness of her lifes course."
This book stresses that an individuals experience as a gay or Lesbian Jew can vary widely based on the "vicissitudes of religious identity, gender, age, class, geography, physical ability." This reminds me that as lesbians and gay men of all religions or none, we are amalgams of the different aspects of ourselves. We are Jewish lesbian middle age, middle-class teachers, Wealthy thirty-something Hispanic Baptist businessmen and homeless teenagers (as best described in the recent film Out in the Cold, directed by Eric Criswell). We enjoy sports and needlepoint, raising families and partying all night long, planting flowers, bowling and political activism. There are multiple aspects of ourselves, which define us, characterize us, and make us unique. We are human beings.
As homosexuals, we share a common experience, having to come to terms with our sexuality, which is different often from those around us. But, as human beings we exists in the same multitudinous variety as heterosexuals. I recommend this anthology to your homosexual patients, particularly the ones who are Jewish. It serves to explore well the experience of being Jewish and gay, as Balka puts it "doubly other." More than that, the essays conveys that, so long as it doesnt hurt anyone else, homosexuals ought to feel the same freedom as heterosexuals to express whatever may be important in their lives.
World Psychiatric Association Upcoming meetings
The next World Psychiatric Association Congress is in Cairo, 10-15 September 2005. Before then, there are smaller WPA meetings that we may be interested in organizing workshops or symposia. From 18-21 June 2003, the WPA is co-sponsoring a conference called Diagnosis in Psychiatry Integrating the Sciences. I haven't been able to find out much about it. The contact information is Fax: +43-1-91060-1131 E-mail: email@example.com I'm not sure how well attended this conference will be because there is little information about it available. In Caracas, Venezuela, the WPA will be holding a regional meeting from 2-4 October, 2003. The contact info is Fax (58-212)232.11.04 / (58-212)763.11.84 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website is www.wpa2003.org Submission deadline is March 1, 2003 A couple of AGLP members from Venezuela may be interested in working on gay/lesbian workshops, and in organizing an excursion after the conference. There will also be an International Congress of the WPA in Florence, Italy 10-13 November, 2004- Treatment in Psychiatry: an Update. For more information please contact Fax:> +39-081-56 66 523- E-mail: email@example.com
Informal AGLP trip to Yosemite May 23-26, 2003
I am planning an informal AGLP trip to Yosemite National Park on Memorial Day weekend from Thu May 22 through Mon May 26, 2003 after the APA meeting in San Francisco (May 17-22). Yosemite is about a 4 hour drive from SF. So far, about 15 people have already reserved hotel rooms.
We are going to stay in Wawona, which is about 45 minutes south of Yosemite Valley, the central part of the park. Wawona is less crowded and accommodations easier to obtain.
There are two possibilities for housing, 1) the Wawona Hotel, and 2) the Redwoods in Yosemite, which are vacation home rentals.
The Wawona, a historic hotel, near the South entrance of the park, has only 104 rooms. Rates are $101 without private bath, $161 with bath. When I called in early July, they had very limited rooms without baths; all rooms with baths are taken. You can reserve by phone at (559) 252-4848 or through the website http://yosemitepark.com/html/accom_wawona.html There is no penalty for canceling reservations, as long as it is done 72 hours in advance. You can book up to 9 rooms. If you do manage to make a reservation, consider booking a few rooms so that if other people later decide to come, there will be some extra rooms available. They will charge a one night per room deposit on your credit card, which you will get back if you cancel the room reservation.
The other option is Redwoods in Yosemite, which vary from rustic cabins to luxurious vacation homes and have between 1 to 6 bedrooms. It is about 2 miles away from the Wawona hotel. Depending on how many people you fit in the home, and which house that you choose, this can be cheaper or more expensive than the Wawona hotel; in addition you will have a kitchen, living room etc. They start making reservations for holiday weekends on Saturday Feb 15, 2003 at 7AM Pacific Time. You will probably still want to make reservations at the Wawona hotel first as a back up in case you are unsuccessful in getting the home you want on Feb 15th. They have a 10 day cancellation policy minus a $20 deposit. Their contact info is 888 225 6666 or www.redwoodsinyosemite.com. Booking is better by phone than by the web.
Even if you believe there is a remote chance that you will go to Yosemite, it is better to make a reservation now and cancel it later because this is a highly popular tourist destination on a holiday weekend. The dates that we have chosen are only suggestions. You can choose your own dates. Some people did make some extra reservations for rooms, so we have about 20 extra room reservations available. If the Wawona is out of rooms by the time you call, please contact me, and you can use one of the extra room reservations.
Laura Chapman wants to have any women who are considering going to Yosemite to contact her so that she can organize some activities. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, call me [Gene Nakajima] at 415 292 1554 or e mail me at Gnakajima@alumni.stanford.org Please let me know if you are going so I have an idea of how many people to expect.
Dr. H. Anonymous
Instant cure recalled
Being gay was an illness 30 years ago
By Robert DiGiacomo
PGN Contributing Writer
© 2002 Robert DiGiacomo
reprinted from the Philadelphia Gay News with permission
At the May 1972 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Dallas, a man wearing a mask and a formal suit several sizes too large galvanized an audience with these words:
"I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist," he said, his voice distorted to further protect his identity.
The speaker - introduced as Dr. H. Anonymous - went on to describe the plight of being a closeted gay doctor in a field that still classified homosexuality as a mental illness. It was the first time a gay psychiatrist had dared address colleagues at a professional meeting. [full text of Dr. H. Anonymous's remarks below]
"They were rapt - they were hearing something they had never heard before," recalled gay-rights pioneer Barbara Gittings, who, with her partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen, recruited the speaker and helped orchestrate the event.
The dramatic speech didnt change the policy of the APA overnight, but it opened the minds of many within the profession, according to Dr. H. Anonymous, known to the world as John Fryer, a Philadelphia-based psychiatrist specializing in drug and alcohol addiction.
"For a lot of people, the Dr. H. Anonymous thing was an ah-ha," said Fryer, who will be honored on the 30th anniversary of his speech by the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists during the APAs annual meeting May 18-23 in Philadelphia.
"Here was a psychiatrist who had to be in disguise. For 500 people, it was useful."
By December 1973, the groundswell - not only from the speech but from years of other activism - was such that the APA finally decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness.
0It was a major victory in the battle for gay and lesbian civil rights.
"If, with just a stroke of a pen you can make people well who were considered sick the day before, that underscored it was not a sickness in any real sense," Gittings said.
And the event proved to be a significant milestone for Fryer, although few of his colleagues were aware of his outsized role in Dallas.
"The Dr. H. Anonymous event probably was the central event in my career," Fryer writes in an article on his life to be published next year in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy. "I was able to be out a lot more in my career after that."
It was just a few years after the movement-defining 1969 Stonewall riots when John Fryer made his speech.
This was a time of great foment within the gay-rights movement as more people came out and activists grew bolder in their tactics.
After disrupting a session on so-called aversion therapy at the 1970 APA event in San Francisco, activists won a place at these annual meetings.
Their message: "Stop talking about us and start talking with us," Gittings recalled.
The following year in Washington, D.C., Gittings organized a panel discussion, "Lifestyles of Non-patient Homosexuals," jokingly dubbed by activists "Lifestyles of Im-Patient Homosexuals."
"This was the first time gay people as such had been formally addressing a session of the APA," Gittings explained. "For the first time, the APA recognized there were gay people who were not in therapy and were in no need of it."
For the 1972 convention, Gittings helped assemble another panel, "Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to Homosexuals?" For the session, she lined up gays who were not psychiatrists and psychiatrists who were not gay.
But Lahusen believed a perspective was missing: "What we need is a psychiatrist who is gay." That would turn out to be Fryer.
"This was a highly symbolic event," said Dr. Jack Drescher, chair of the APAs Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Issues. "Suddenly it was not just them, it was us. Here was one of us, a member of the APA who was himself a homosexual.
"The irony was that an openly homosexual psychiatrist had to wear a mask to protect his career. So the fact that someone would get up on stage, even in disguise, at the risk of professional denunciation or loss of job, it was not a small thing. Even in disguise, it was a very, very brave thing to do."
Once the APA removed homosexuality as a pathological diagnosis from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the us vs. them distinctions began to fade.
The existence of the Philadelphia-based Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, which was founded in 1978 as an APA caucus, is testimony to the professions accepting attitude toward homosexuality, according to Drescher, editor in chief of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.
Prior to 1973, the mostly closeted gay and lesbian psychiatrists had to gather unofficially as the Gay-PA.
"The situation gradually changed once the policy as an illness changed," said Drescher, a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. "There was a gradual acceptance of gay and lesbian members within the organization. The APA has several minority caucuses - gay, lesbian, bisexual is one [of them] - plus the APA has taken a position in support recently of same-sex civil unions and has also taken a stand opposing sexual-conversion therapies."
The philosophy of the APA has changed so much that recent meetings, including the last one held in Philadelphia in 1994, have been disrupted not by gay activists, but by so-called "ex-gays" seeking to have the mental illness classification restored.
"Every year, we get a group of people who ... ask for homosexuality to be put back in the manual," Drescher said. "Theyre, interestingly, the only group who does it. Every other group wants their diagnoses taken out; they want theirs back in."
Longtime activist Gittings is one who would never want the APA to go back. But she still gets a chuckle from the 1973 headline in the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulletin: "Homosexuals Gain Instant Cure."
The breakthroughs of the early 70s were the culmination of activism dating back two decades.
"There was a discussion with psychiatry beginning in the 50s and 60s," Gittings said. "The label of sickness was an albatross around our necks. They said, Youre sick. We said, No, we dont think were sick. Theyd say, No, thats your sickness talking.
"We were told wed have to wait for credentialed professionals to do proper research to show gay is healthy and get this out to the general public."
Waiting for the medical profession to catch up to their reality wasnt an acceptable course for key activists, notably Washington, D.C.s Frank Kameny, who helped devise the strategy that led to the declassification.
"Frank Kameny turned that around in the 1960s," Gittings recalled. "He said we can push attitudinal change faster if we stand up for ourselves and say, We are the experts on homosexuals. "
For Fryer, now retired from the faculty of Temple Universitys medical school, the experience of being Dr. H. Anonymous had mixed results.
The flamboyant Kentucky native, a prodigy who graduated high school at 15 and college at 19, was able to come out professionally, eventually gained tenure and became a full professor at Temple. At times, though, he struggled in a professional climate he described as homophobic.
Although suffering from several chronic ailments, the longtime resident of the citys Germantown section has accepted a new position with a hospital in Northern Territory, Australia.
In overall terms, the 1972 speech "changed things enormously and hasnt changed things as much as Id like," he said.
However, Gittings believes Fryers appearance and the work of other activists helped permanently alter the debate over homosexuality.
"What a difference it made when we got out from under the sickness label," she said. "People could no longer dismiss us out of hand."
Robert DiGiacomo is a Philadelphia-based writer.
The American Psychiatrist Association will hold its 155th conference May 18-23 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
For more information, call the APA at (888) 357-7924; Web site: http://www.psych.org
The Philadelphia-based Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists will honor Dr. John Fryer ("Dr. H. Anonymous") May 22 with its Distinguished Service Award.
For more information, call the AGLP at (215) 222-2800; Web site: http://www.algp.org
Dr. H. Anonymous speaks
Dr. John Fryer, in disguise, spoke in May 1972 before the annual American Psychiatric Associations conference held in Dallas. It was the first time a gay psychiatrist addressed the group, and was part of the gay-rights activism targeting the APA that led to the removal of homosexuality as a diagnosis in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.
"Thank you, Dr. Robinson. I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist. I, like most of you in this room, am a member of the APA and am proud to be a member. However, tonight I am, insofar as in it is possible, a we. I attempt tonight to speak for many of my fellow gay members of the APA as well as for myself. When we gather at these conventions, we have a group, which we have glibly come to call the Gay-PA. And several of us feel that it is time that real flesh and blood stand up before you and ask to be listened to and understood insofar as that is possible. I am disguised tonight in order that I might speak freely without conjuring up too much regard on your part about the particular WHO I happen to be. I do that mostly for your protection. I can assure you that I could be any one of more than a hundred psychiatrists registered at this convention. And the curious among you should cease attempting to figure out who I am and listen to what I say.
"We homosexual psychiatrists must persistently deal with a variety of what we shall call Nigger Syndromes. We shall describe some of them and how they make us feel.
"As psychiatrists who are homosexual, we must know our place and what we must do to be successful. If our goal is academic appointment, a level of earning capacity equal to our fellows, or admission to a psychoanalytic institute, we must make certain that no one in a position of power is aware of our sexual orientation or gender identity. Much like the black man with the light skin who chooses to live as a white man, we cannot be seen with our real friends - our real homosexual family - lest our secret be known and our dooms sealed. There are practicing psychoanalysts among us who have completed their training analysis without mentioning their homosexuality to their analysts. Those who are willing to speak up openly will do so only if they have nothing to lose, then they wont be listened to.
"As psychiatrists who are homosexuals, we must look carefully at the power which lies in our hands to define the health of others around us. In particular, we should have clearly in our minds, our own particular understanding of what it is to be a healthy homosexual in a world, which sees that appellation as an impossible oxymoron. One cannot be healthy and be homosexual, they say. One result of being psychiatrists who are homosexual is that we are required to be more healthy than our heterosexual counterparts. We have to make some sort of attempt throughtherapy or analysis to work problems out. Many of us who make that effort are still left with a sense of failure and of persistence of "the problem." Just as the black man must be a super person, so must we, in order to face those among our colleagues who know we are gay. We could continue to cite examples of this sort of situation for the remainder of the night. It would be useful, however, if we could now look at the reverse.
"What is it like to be a homosexual who is also a psychiatrist? Most of us Gay-PA members do not wear our badges into the Bayou Landing [a gay bar in Dallas] or the local Canal Baths. If we did, we could risk the derision of all the non-psychiatrist homosexuals. There is much negative feeling in the homosexual community towards psychiatrists. And those of us who are visible are the easiest targets from which the angry can vent their wrath. Beyond that, in our own hometowns, the chances are that in any gathering of homosexuals, there is likely to be any number of patients or paraprofessional employees who might try to hurt us professionally in a larger community if those communities enable them to hurt us that way.
"Finally, as homosexual psychiatrists, we seem to present a unique ability to marry ourselves to institutions rather than wives or lovers. Many of us work 20 hours daily to protect institutions that would literally chew us up and spit us out if they knew the truth. These are our feelings, and like any set of feelings, they have value insofar as they move us toward concrete action.
"Here, I will speak primarily to the other members of the Gay-PA who are present, not in costume tonight. Perhaps you can help your fellow psychiatrist friends understand what I am saying. When you are with professionals, fellow professionals, fellow psychiatrists who are denigrating the "faggots" and the "queers," dont just stand back, but dont give up your careers, either. Show a little creative ingenuity; make sure you let your associates know that they have a few issues that they have to think through again. When fellow homosexuals come to you for treatment, dont let your own problems get in your way, but develop creative ways to let the patient know that theyre all right. And teach them everything they need to know. Refer them to other sources of information with basic differences from your own so that the homosexual will be freely able to make his own choices.
"Finally, pull up your courage by your bootstraps, and discover ways in which you and homosexual psychiatrists can be closely involved in movements which attempt to change the attitudes of heterosexuals - and homosexuals - toward homosexuality. For all of us have something to lose. We may not be considered for that professorship. The analyst down the street may stop referring us his overflow. Our supervisor may ask us to take a leave of absence. We are taking an even bigger risk, however, not accepting fully our own humanity, with all of the lessons it has to teach all the other humans around us and ourselves. This is the greatest loss: our honest humanity. And that loss leads all those others around us to lose that little bit of their humanity as well. For, if they were truly comfortable with their own homosexuality, then they could be comfortable with ours. We must use our skills and wisdom to help them - and us - grow to be comfortable with that little piece of humanity called homosexuality."
Courtesy of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy
© 2002 Courtesy of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy
Dr. H. Anonymous
The board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The board cited its review of evidence that homosexuality was not a mental disorder, as well as changing social norms and growing gay-rights activism, in its decision.
APA members voted to support the 1973 board decision.
A new diagnosis, ego-dystonic homosexuality, was created for the DSMs third edition. Ego-dystonic homosexuality was indicated by:
(1) a persistent lack of heterosexual arousal, which the patient experienced as interfering with initiation or maintenance of wanted heterosexual relationships, and (2) persistent distress from a sustained pattern of unwanted homosexual arousal.
This new diagnostic category was criticized on many grounds, but was viewed by many as a political compromise to appease those members who still considered homosexuality a pathology.
The diagnosis of ego-dystonic homosexuality was removed from
APA issued a position statement opposing "reparative" or "conversions" therapy to change homosexual orientation.
- Courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association
Caucus of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychiatrists Column
Margery Sved, M.D.
This column should be my report from the May Assembly, but I will start with something else. My family and I have just returned from this years 19th Women in Medicine Conference (the retreat for lesbian physicians that used to be sponsored by GLMA), in Burlington, Vermont. I had attended the first 8 or 9 of these, but had not participated for the past several years (often because it was scheduled too close to the May APA meeting). First, it was really nice to be at this conference again, connect with old friends (including a few psychiatrists who are not APA or AGLP members), and meet new ones. Second, my kids really enjoyed meeting and playing with the other children, and there are now a good number who attend regularly, some now as old as 16.
Probably most significantly, Grace and I had a civil union while we were in Vermont. We had not planned in advance to get married again, and it was not part of the conference. However, it was quite easy to do, and 15 couples (representing over 239 years of committed relationships, many with kids) arranged to become "civilly united" one after another one afternoon. We know the civil union will not be recognized where we live, and therefore could just be seen as a meaningless piece of paper. And a few couples were clear that they would not participate, because this was not "true marriage." However, we joyfully take each step that we can, and are thankful for each step.
I was pleased to hear how active the Vermont Psychiatric Association had been during both the judicial and legislative struggles. Im glad the APA now has a position statement in support of same sex marriages, which can be used as other states attempt to follow Vermont. But, sadly, the people of Vermont did not re-elect many of their representatives who voted for the civil union legislation. If they lose only two more seats in their state Senate this fall, both their Senate and House will have adequate votes to repeal the civil union statute. Please support, financially or otherwise, any of the organizations helping in the Vermont November 2002 elections. And visit Vermont!
Both Mark Townsend and I were present for the May 2002 APA Assembly. I continue to enjoy representing the Caucus in the Assembly. Some of the highlights follow. Dr. Prakash Desai was elected Speaker-Elect, and Dr. Jim Nininger will be the new Recorder. A very representative search committee is working to identify Dr. Mirins successor as Medical Director. The main APA offices will move to Rosslyn, VA in December 2002. APA finances continue to mirror the national economics, and further cuts will be made in the 2003 budget. One of the most obvious changes will be in the component structure, with fewer and smaller committees, and a downsized Fall Component meeting. The difficulties with the APA-endorsed Professional Liability Insurance Program were discussed in many settings, and malpractice policies will be transferred to the new carriers when they are renewed.
As usual, Action Papers were presented on a variety of topics, and many passed. A summary of the action papers has been sent to the list serve for the Caucus of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Psychiatrists. Any Caucus members can join this list serve from the APA website, www.psych.org, and any APA members can join the Caucus. Also, for the first time, all the material from the Annual APA business meeting is available on the website. As always, feel free to contact me (email@example.com, 919-851-8040) with questions or comments.
Medical Student Column
Conversations from 206 East 95th Street, Apt. 15B
From such simple monosyllables to complicated philosophical diatribes, we humans progress through life at such a breakneck speed constantly conversing with our world and its inhabitants. As a part of the medical community, one of the main tools we possess in diagnosis and treatment rests within the realm of conversation. As we communicate with our patients, as we discuss symptoms, as we assess, we psychiatrists (and future psychiatrists) use words to heal a broken psyche just as a surgeon first must diagnose a dissected aortic aneurysm and a family practitioner must deduce the symptoms of a bronchopneumonia. I wish to practice the art of conversation from the fifteenth floor above the Upper East Side in New York City. I may not have an actual ear to hear my words and the only reply may be the car horns and ambulance sirens from below, but believe me, this is an actual conversation. I have taken the plunge from suburb to metropolis and from the basic sciences into the clinical years. Many things have changed besides my address but before I begin my second year a part of AGLP, I need to wrap up some unfinished dialogues and retell the fabulous events of Philadelphia.
With sadness, I first must detail the departure of Joe Henry, the other med student representative to the AGLP board. He brought energy and a midwestern frankness to meetings. His work and enthusiasm will be missed in AGLP but the organizations and career field which he will enter are truly going to benefit from his presence. Thus begins the search for a new board member and the start of a new conversation. Please, if any reader is interested in the position or would like to inquire about its responsibilities, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply with haste. With two med students, the tasks can be divided up equally and the fun doubled.
Secondly, I would like to send a very vocal shout of appreciation to the city of Philadelphia, Roy Harker, and the local arrangements committee for the outstanding social events and outings that kept us distracted and entertained while attending one of the largest conferences. The other med students and I never felt lost or overwhelmed with the support of familiar faces and the ample number of houses that opened up their spaces to host receptions. Every one of us are very grateful. We in the med student section are especially thankful to the gentlemen who hosted the Early Career, Residents, and Medical Students Brunch. The artwork and the food were enough to make me hunger for similar times in the hills of California. The nightlife was also stupendous and a great way to informally meet fellow attendees as well as participate in karaoke, but beyond pleasure, the educational topics themselves opened both the minds of the AGLP attendees and those at the larger APA meeting. I attended talks on ethnic minority LGBT issues, Substance Abuse and Body Image in Young Gay and Bisexual Men, and a review of Mental Health issues in the LGBT community. There were so many other talks, movies, and interactive programs that I was unable to go to them all. I would like to encourage all who can to fly to San Francisco, explore the Castro, eat some Clam Chowder, escape from the Rock and attend the AGLP meeting in May 2003. Although, you will have missed the closing reception from the city of Brotherly Love in which we as an organization recognized the work of both Dr. John Fryer and Dr. Margery Sved. These two persons were instrumental in allowing sexual and gender minorities to practice psychiatry without fear of job loss or discrimination and in helping the modern AGLP organization (the former Gay-PA) become such a strong institution. Those, like myself, will face much less fear and will be greeted with more openness because of these individuals.
And finally, I promise to continue the conversations of the past year, about the struggle for LGBT parity in medical education, about my personal growth and how this can inspire others to be compassionate advocates for sexual and gender issues, and to lay the groundwork for more expansion in the med student section of this organization. I do not want to sound like a salesman but this membership gains the person so much and costs so little. As a member, I received generous travel scholarships to the APA meeting, a subscription to the excellent Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, a listing of AGLP members who have become valuable mentors in my career development, and most importantly friends and contacts throughout the world. As we converse over coffee or cheap martinis, I gain a piece of the person sitting across the table and likewise he or she gains a piece of me. Those pieces then are saved as memories, carried with us whether we be on a ship heading towards Italy or staring out at the lights of the Big Apple. It is within this method that I plan to spread the word of AGLP one conversation, one memory at a time. Please help me in this mission.
Papa Bear: Remembering Dr. Stuart E. Nichols, Jr.
Lawrence D. Mass, M.D.
The gay, addiction, psychiatry and medical communities are grieving the loss of one of our finest: Dr. Stuart E. Nichols, Jr., a former chief of psychiatric and addiction treatment programs at Beth Israel Medical Center, and a founding member of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP) , Gay Psychiatrists of New York (now GLPNY) and of the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights (now the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association or GLMA).
On June 6 Nichols died from complications of advanced cardiovascular disease. He was 66 years old.
In the early 1980's medical care for persons with what eventually came to be known as AIDS was mostly defensive or, worse, inaccessible altogether. A real exception was Beth Israel which reached out to to help with an energy and generosity that were singular. One of the reasons Beth Israel was poised to take its place so swiftly and gracefully as a leader in AIDS research and care was because of its background as a world center of addiction research and care, including the largest system of methadone maintenance treatment programs in the world, a longstanding outreach that had been championed by BIH CEO Dr. Robert Newman. Well-schooled in navigating the rapids and waves of prejudice against the chemically dependent, Beth Israel was uniquely situated to begin its odyssey of embracing the challenges of AIDS.
In that year of the first reported cases of AIDS, 80-81, several of Beth Israel's chiefs set the tone for compassionate and comprehensive care. One was Dr. Donna Mildvan, who remains Chief of BIH's division of Infectious Diseases and whose current AIDS research initiatives are so many and varied I doubt that even she could list them all.
Linked via the chief of medicine they shared, Dr. Stan Yancovitz, another important figure of that period, was Dr. Nichols, who was Chief of BIH's division of MMTP services, where I currently serve as a unit director. Nichols was among the first to organize psychiatric responses, nearly all of them voluntary, to this crisis' for gay men as well as for the chemically dependent; and for another group: physicians with HIV, an initiative he undertook with the help of his colleague, Dr. Betram Schaffner. Virtually all of this work was pioneering, heroic and remains largely unsung though, fortunately, an oral history of Dr. Nichols was commissioned by Dr. Jack Drescher for a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy.
Personally, I will never forget Stu ' s kindness when I asked for his help. Our extended family member, gay activist and writer Vito Russo, who had no health insurance or financial resources, was in emergency need of psychiatric care, which Stu offered and gave without remuneration, even as he was struggling with his own growing health problems.
Stu Nichols was a beacon of hope and healing throughout the epidemic as it unfolded in our communities, but my connection with him went back some years earlier. A true AIDS pioneer, Stu was also the pioneer of another very big development, one that had almost as great an impact on gay life as AIDS: the 1973-74 declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Nichols was part of a small group of gay and lesbian psychiatrists who began to organize in the 1970's, and whose newsletter I edited as part of my own activism in overseeing a reactionary movement to repathologize homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder. From there he went on to become a charter member of Gay Psychiatrists of New York and of the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights.
Over the decade of the 1990's, Stu's severe hypertension resulted in progressively worse consequences, including several strokes that left him with permanent neurological impairments. But these setbacks were not enough to dampen his spirit. Or his sense of humor. Among the notes he left me were a little test he took from the Rusk Institute asking him to name a few simple things, i.e., name a religion, Stu's answer: "psychoanalysis"; name a fruit: "watch your language" And a list of "Things You Do Not Want to Hear in Surgery'" "sterile, schmeril. The floor's clean, right?" Nor did it keep him from attending BIH's retirement party for Dr. Beverly Richman, who had succeeded him as chief. It was there that Stu and I reconnected and decided to have dinner the following week. At Elephant and Castle, we reminisced and laughed about old times and acquaintances, and then went back to his apartment nearby in Greenwich Village where I interviewed him (on tape), a first installment of what was meant to be an oral history that would complement the one completed for the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy. Alas, Stu died before we could schedule that follow-up, at which he was going to tell me about his experience with such orthodox psychoanalysts (as we used to call them) as Irving Bieber in that landmark period of the declassification of homosexuality by the American Psychiatric Association.
What motivated Stu Nichols to be such a mensch, to do so much good work, personally and professionally, to be such an outstanding role model and pioneering health advocate and activist? As he reviewed his life with me that evening just a few weeks ago, he identified two experiences that were crucial. The first was his having been dishonorably discharged from the US Army, which he was serving as a special forces paratrooper, for having told someone he was homosexual. Though the discharge was later remanded to honorable, the same basic circumstance of blatant discrimination remains in place in our armed forces. The other turning point for Stu came when a young man came to him for psychiatric help. The patient was suicidal and the reason was his homosexuality, Stu said, but at the time he was guarded lest his own homosexuality be exposed. Two days later, he said, the patient committed suicide. "I vowed never to be so selfish again."
In the aftermath of Stonewall, Stu met the man who became his life partner, Pedro (Pete) Garcia. Together with my life partner, Arnie Kantrowitz and Vito Russo, Pete had been active in Gay Activists Alliance, which had conceived and proposed the first New York City gay civil rights bill. It was Pete, Stu said, who urged him to take a leadership role with the fledgling organization of gay and lesbian psychiatrists that had begun meeting at the annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association. Taking their cues from a GAA zap, they mounted an exhibit, "Gay Love, Good Love," and hosted a suite where people could meet and support each other.
And it was Pete, who survives him, who gave Stu the term of endearment that seems most fitting for such a virile, decent and accomplished man: Papa Bear.
Nichols is the co-author/co-editor of Psychotherapy and AIDS (Plenum Press, 1986) and Psychiatric Implications of AIDS (American Psychiatric Press, 1984), and many other articles in the fields of psychiatry, addiction medicine and public health.
The Newsletter of the
Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
Editor, Cheryl Chessick, M.D.
Published quarterly from 4455 East 12th Avenue, Box A-00-11-21, Denver, Colorado 80220.
The views expressed in the Newsletter are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. The sexual orientation of any writer or any person mentioned in the Newsletter should not be inferred unless specifically stated. Mailing lists for the Newsletter are confidential, to be used only by the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists, and do not imply sexual orientation.
Subscription cost: $40.00 per year. Subscription requests and address changes should be sent to the National Office: 4514 Chester Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143-3707; 215-222-2800.
Information for Authors
Persons wishing to submit articles for publication should send them to: Cheryl Chessick, M.D., Editor, Newsletter of AGLP; is 4455 East 12th Avenue, Box A-00-11-21, Denver, Colorado 80220. (Phone: 303- 315-9884, FAX 303-315-9570, E-mail:email@example.com). Submissions should be clearly readable. Submissions on electronic media (5.25 or 3.5 inch floppy disks) in IBM compatible formats are appreciated. A hard copy should be included along with a notation indicating which word processing program was used. Submissions become the property of AGLP and will not be returned unless requested and accompanied by a self-addressed and stamped envelope. The Newsletter reserves the right to make editorial changes and to shorten articles to fit space limitations. Name, address, daytime telephone number, and a short biographical statement about the author should accompany the submission even if the author requests anonymity in publication (which is discouraged).
The Newsletter of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists accepts limited advertising depending upon space and applicability to issues affecting psychiatrists who either are gay ore lesbian or treat gay and lesbian patients. The mailing lists for AGLP are confidential and never sold or provided to any vendor.
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Officers of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
President, Mary Barber, MD
Immediate Past-president, Phil Bialer, MD
Vice President, Dan Karasic, MD
Secretary, Ellen Haller, M.D.
Treasurer, Robert Mitchell, MD
Newsletter Editor, Cheryl Chessick, MD
Executive Director, Roy Harker
· · ·
Assembly Delegates to the Caucus of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Psychiatrists
Margery Sved, MD and Mark Townsend, M.D.
· · ·
AGLP National Office
National Office Director, Roy Harker
4514 Chester Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19143-3707