- 24 Oct 16
The retention of the DSM by the American medical establishment has resulted in the continued persecution of transgender people.
Slaves who run away from their masters must be mad. So Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright explained in a paper, Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, delivered in 1851 to the Medical Association of Louisiana.
Cartwright named the illness Drapetomania – from the Greek drapetes, “a runaway”. The diagnostic symptom, he announced, took the form of an overwhelming desire to flee the position in society which God had decreed and to which all rational beings should therefore adhere.
The most common cause of Drapetomania was the irresponsibility of slave owners who “made themselves too familiar, treating (the slaves) as equals”. The cure lay in “whipping the devil out of them” or, when prescribed by a qualified doctor, cutting off their big toes so they couldn’t run anywhere ever again.