Dr. Richard Isay, Who Opposed Classifying Homosexuality As Disease, Dies

Dr. Richard Isay, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who argued that being gay was normal, not an illness, has died at the age of 77.

Isay, the father of two sons who came out gay at the age of 40, died of cancer, The New York Times reported.
“He changed the way the psychoanalytic world viewed the subject of homosexuality,” Dr. Jack Drescher, a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute in New York, told the paper. Drescher is also the author of Psychoanalytic Therapy and the Gay Man.

“He was a pioneer, a very brave man. He was attacked by psychoanalysts. He took a lot of flak,” Drescher said.
After undergoing a decade of therapy in the early 1970s, Isay realized that he was gay. He eschewed the mainstream psychoanalytic view on homosexuality: that it was an illness.

Some colleagues attacked Isay’s ideas, which he presented at professional meetings, where he acknowledged that he was gay.

“I think he was hurt very badly by many colleagues,” Drescher said.

Isay married his partner of 33 years, Gordon Harrell, an artist, last year in Manhattan. A grandson stood in as the best man. He is survived by his husband, his former wife, two sons and four grandchildren.

Isay is the author of Being Homosexual (1989), Becoming Gay (1997) and Commitment and Healing: Gay Men and the Need for Romantic Love (2006).

Being Homosexual, according to The Advocate, was “one of the earliest works to argue that homosexuality was an inborn identity.”

by On Top Magazine Staff
Source – On Top Magazine