Don't you mean "Gay Patient"?

After a day of Ferguson coverage, here's another story from the "Wait, What Year Is This?" department. Matthew Moore, a 46-year-old man from Los Angeles, went to the doctor for a routine check-up earlier this year, and the examination turned up some of the standard middle-aged man bug-a-boos: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a B-12 deficiency. Also, he was diagnosed with a chronic condition, namely "Homosexual behavior (302.0)." 


It's not just when he smokes chronic, you know. Oh, that's not what it means?

Said Moore, "when I look up code 302.0 and it's sexual deviancy or mental illness, and that code has been removed or suggested heavily not to be used since 1973...my jaw was on the floor."

"At first, I kind of laughed, I thought, 'Here's another way that gay people are lessened and made to feel less-than,'"   said Moore, "then as I thought about it and as I dealt with it, it angered me." Moore didn't dispute the doctor's accuracy in calling him homosexual, but obviously took issue with the fact that she referred to it as a disease. 

If you're wondering what (302.0) means, it's a very outdated medical code that means "ego-dystonic sexual orientation" that was last published in the 1979 International Classification of Diseases, or ICD—basically a big list of everything you can have, numbered. Although for some reason the 1979 text is still widely used today, medical associations started discouraging the classification of homosexuality as a disease as far back as 1973, and it was permanently removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1987. Even in 1979 it caused a big stir:  people in Sweden stayed home from work in protest, claiming to be sick with gayness.


I'm sure she is a very nice bigot in person.

That doesn't stop really determined doctors who just want to make their religious point, science be damned, of course. Moore confronted his doctor, LA-based knuckledragger  Elaine Jones, who refused to apologize and said that although the cure for gayness "is still up for debate," she defended herself by insisting there are still some small pockets of the medical community where homosexuality is "still being thought of as a disease." To be fair, Jones' employer, the Torrance Memorial Physician Network sent him a strongly-worded apology that distanced itself from Dr. Jones.


Judging by her legible signature, Heidi Assigal is not a doctor.

They also refunded Moore his $30 copay. It's not about the money, though. In his words, "you have to speak up. If I was a 14-year-old in a small town in Indiana, where I'm from, and I had a doctor tell me or my parents that I was sick because they thought I was gay, it would've been very damaging."

Probably as damaging as the discovery that doctors still use a 1979 codebook for diagnoses is to my faith in the medical system. Wait, what year is this again?

(by Johnny McNulty)