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AGLP Traces its roots to the late 1960s when gay and lesbian members of the American Psychiatric Association met informally at the annual meetings. In 1973 the APA removed homosexuality per se as a mental disorder from the new diagnostic manual (DSM-III) facilitating a more open association of lesbian and gay psychiatrists.

The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the American Psychiatric Association (CGLBM-APA) was established in the mid 1970s. In 1978, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created a task force on gay and lesbian issues in response to a petition from CGLBM-APA. This task force has since been incorporated in the APA as a standing committee which has encouraged the APA to take positions against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In 1983 the APA agreed to set up a task force on the psychiatric aspects of AIDS. In 1984 the Monograph Series of the APA press published two important volumes: Innovations in Psychotherapy with Homosexuals and Psychiatric Implications of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the APA also successfully petitioned the American Psychiatric Association for recognition as an under-represented minority within the APA. Since 1982, the Caucus of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Psychiatrists (formerly the Caucus of Homosexual-Identified Psychiatrists) has been recognized within the APA with a representative sitting in the Assembly of the APA to speak directly on matters of special concern to lesbian and gay members of the APA.

In 1985, the Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the APA changed its name to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists. Although still an affiliated organization of the American Psychiatric Association, AGLP, as a separate organization, is able to take positions independent of official APA policies. In 1986, AGLP was instrumental in removal of the prejudicial diagnosis, "Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality," from the revised DSM-III. In 1988, AGLP was instrumental in elevating the APA Committee on Psychiatric Aspects of AIDS to the level of a full, standing commission of the APA.

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