The LGBTQ Population

The LGBTQ community is a very diverse population that includes people from all racial/ ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds. People who are LGBTQ may move to urban areas, if they can, where there may be a sense of greater acceptance and personal safety. Because stigma and the fear of biases contribute to an underreporting of sexual orientation, it is very difficult to know the percentage of people who identify as LGBTQ. Some people may also self-identify with one sexual orientation even if their internal desires or sexual behavior imply another. Identify issues may be especially pronounced for LBGTQ people from racial/ethnic minority groups.

Significant History – Events which influenced the community and contextualize assessment and treatment

Understanding the history of the LGBTQ community both in American society and within the profession of psychiatry is essential in bringing context to treatment. Some major milestones have contributed to the civil rights of LGBTQ people and to greater acceptance. First, the Stonewall riots of 1969 have become the historic launching point for gay rights. In 2003, the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws across the county with their decision in Lawrence vs. Texas. In 2013, the Supreme Court decision on United States vs. Windsor led to the same sex couple being allowed to share the same federal benefits as opposite sex couples, ending the Defense of Marriage Act. And in June 2015, the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell vs. Hodges led to same-sex marriage becoming legal in all 50 states. In the context of Psychiatry, APA removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973 based on the new scientific studies, opening the way for new understanding and treatment of LGBTQ individuals.



APA Minority and Underrepresented Caucus

APA members may join Minority and Underrepresented (M/UR) Caucuses by updating caucus memberships in the member dashboard. The M/UR Caucuses provide a networking opportunity and foster communication among members who share common interests as it relates to minority populations. There are caucuses for the following groups:

American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian, Asian-American, Black, Hispanic, International Medical Graduates, LGBTQ, Women


APA Division of Diversity and Health Equity