Doctor who helped gay-rights movement dies
SUMMARY: The psychiatrist who helped in the historic battle to remove homosexuality from a major list of mental disorders died on Tuesday. Dr. Judd Marmor was 93.
The psychiatrist who helped in the historic battle to remove homosexuality from a major list of mental disorders died on Tuesday. Dr. Judd Marmor was 93.
Dr. Marmor's death came a day after the 30th anniversary of the American Psychiatric Association's December 15 vote to remove homosexuality from its list of disorders, a decision that was a landmark moment for gay and lesbian rights.
Dr. Marmor first gained prominence as an analyst to Hollywood celebrities. When he began treating homosexual patients who wanted to change their sexual orientation, he believed psychoanalysis could help.
But interacting with closeted gay men who had successful careers led Dr. Marmor to conclude that "psychoanalysts didn't know enough gay people outside the treatment community who were happy with their lives, who were satisfied and well adjusted," as he told historian Eric Marcus in the book "Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 1945-1990."
Dr. Marmor quipped: "If we made our judgments about the mental health of heterosexuals only from the patients we saw in our office, we'd have to assume that all heterosexuals were mentally disturbed."
Marmor's observations reached millions through his friendship with Abigail Van Buren and her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who both worked on the "Dear Abby" column.
"If Mom had a question about homosexuality or other behavior, she would ask him," Van Buren's daughter Jeanne Phillips told the Los Angeles Times. "You could call Judd up, and he would answer your questions very sweetly and very thoroughly."
Ronni Sanlo, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that for the LGBT community, Dr. Marmor will be remembered as "one of the foreparents of the movement."