Past Issues

Non-heterosexuality: Contemporary Psychiatric Perspectives

Meng-Chuan Lai, M.D.1,2 Susan Shur-Fen Gau, M.D., Ph.D.1,3 Yen-Nan Chiu, M.D.1

Background:Although homosexuality has long been de-pathologized from psychiatric diagnoses since 1973, explicit and implicit discrimination toward nonheterosexuality still exists. Most biases are rooted deeply in the prevailing heterosexist value system, yet they are also highly strengthened by misunderstandings toward the diverse and multi-dimensional nature of human sexuality. In the past decades, mental health professionals, psychologists, social scientists, biologists and gender researchers from various disciplines have contributed greatly to the understanding toward non-heterosexuality. The accumulated knowledge is bound to improve our understanding toward human sexuality, and hopefully to reduce the long-standing biases and discriminations toward non-heterosexuality. Method:We reviewed current literature (mainly from Western studies) about non-heterosexuality from psychiatric perspectives. Results: First, we introduced the defi nition and conceptual framework for non-heterosexuality, along with brief summaries of demographics and biological underpinning. Second, we addressed psychological issues, including identity development, heterosexism and internalized homophobia, mental health and suicidality, and same-sex committed relationship. Third, we gave a brief overview toward psychotherapeutic issues on working with non-heterosexual individuals and their families. Conclusion: We suggest our Taiwanese mental health colleagues to achieve a better understanding toward nonheterosexuality, to do non-biased and non-harmful clinical practices based on affi rmative stance, to distribute knowledge to all health care providers, and to promote legal equality for Taiwanese non-heterosexual people.
Key Word sexuality, homosexuality, non-heterosexuality, developmental psychology
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
9F-3, 22, Song-Jiang Rd., Taipei 104, Taiwan
Email/ │ TEL/886-2-2567-8295 │ FAX/886-2-2567-8218