John Fryer Historic Marker Dedication

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John Fryer Historic Marker Dedication

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of Dr. John Fryer. The riveting testimony of John E. Fryer, M.D., led to the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). In honor of the dedication of this historic marker, HSP will have original documents on display from the Fryer collection for one day only.

The marker will be dedicated in a ceremony on Tuesday, October 3, 2017 from 1 - 1:30 p.m. Dedication will take place on 13th and Locust Streets, diagonal from HSP.

More information about the HSP display can be found here.

Disguised in a mask and using a voice modulator, Fryer testified as “Dr. Anonymous" on a panel with Gay Pioneers Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings at the 1972 APA Annual Meeting. At the time, a medical license could be revoked on the basis of sexual orientation. Declaring himself a homosexual, a psychiatrist and a proud member of the APA, Fryer insisted that homosexuality was not an illness and that homophobia was a societal disease.

Beginning in 1952, homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). For decades, homosexuals were subjected to "treatment" that included chemical castration, electric shock therapy, institutionalization and lobotomy. In 1973 the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM.  

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Saul Levin ,CEO and Medical Director, American Psychiatric Association

Master of Ceremonies: Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum

Read more about Dr. John Fryer, or view the finding aid for his papers at HSP.

For more information visit