The World Psychiatric Association (WPA) has called for homosexuality to be decriminalised and for “harmful” and “discriminatory” practices to be ended.

The organisation, which represents over 200,000 psychiatrists worldwide, has said that LGBT people should be regarded as “valued members of society, who have the same rights and responsibilities as all other citizens”.

Stating recent international events as the reason for its call to action, the WPA said that the modern world had to catch up with medical findings.

In a statement, it said: “Despite an unfortunate history of perpetuating stigma and discrimination, it has been decades since modern medicine abandoned pathologising same-sex orientation and behaviour.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) accepts same-sex orientation as a normal variant of human sexuality. The United Nations Human Rights Council values Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights. In two major diagnostic and classification systems (International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and DSM-5), same sex sexual orientation, attraction, and behaviour and gender identity are not seen as pathologies.”

It continued that “it has been shown conclusively that LGBT individuals show higher than expected rates of psychiatric disorders and once their rights and equality are recognised these rates start to drop.”

As well as calling on nations to decriminalise homosexuality, the WPA said states should take a number of other actions.

  • They should ensure LGBT people are granted equal access to healthcare and all the rights and responsibilities that go along with living in a civilised society
  • To acknowledge that LGBT people should not be seen as having psychological dysfunction or impairment in judgement
  • To ban ‘gay conversion’ therapies which are harmful and lack scientific efficacy
  • To provide adequate mental health services to support LGBT people who may be subject to social stigma
  • And to recognise LGBT rights as human, civil and political rights and implement hate crime and anti discrimination laws.

The statement is seen as the group’s strongest statement in support of LGBT people and adds that “psychiatrists have a social responsibility to advocate for a reduction in social inequalities for all individuals, including inequalities related to gender identity and sexual orientation”.