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American Psychiatric Association Honors Jim Obergefell with John Fryer 50th Anniversary Speech Award 

  • May 24, 2022

New Orleans, La, May 24, 2022 – Today, during its Annual Meeting, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) conferred the special John Fryer 50th Anniversary Speech Award to civil rights activist Jim Obergefell. Obergefell, the named plaintiff from the landmark marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges, was presented with this award for his courage in promoting equality for LGBTQ+ Americans.

The APA’s award honors the actions and bravery of John Fryer, M.D., whose landmark speech at the 1972 APA Annual Meeting led to the removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

“This was a watershed moment for the APA and indeed for psychiatry itself,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “No longer could a person be credibly considered ‘sick’ solely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Dr. Levin will interview Mr. Obergefell during the Award Celebration. The two will reflect on the impact of the speech to this day and how its spirit of “equality for all” still needs to be fully implemented.

“I am honored to be recognized by the APA with the John Fryer 50th Anniversary Speech Award,” said Mr. Obergefell. “John Fryer took an incredible risk, one that has had an indelible impact on the queer community and our place in society. His bravery helped create a world in which my late husband John and I were able to fight for our marriage and the dignity it, and all marriages, deserve. Without Dr. Fryer’s courage, the LGBTQ+ community might still be living in the shadows, afraid to be themselves. I am humbled to be part of Dr. Fryer’s legacy.”

Mr. Obergefell is a motivational speaker, published author, and co-founder of Equality Vines, the first cause-based wine label to support organizations devoted to equality for all. He sits on the Board of Advisors of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. and the National Advisory Council of the GLBT Historical Society.

Mr. Obergefell previously served as the Director of Special Events with Family Equality and on the Board of Directors of SAGE. After careers as a high school German teacher, corporate trainer, relationship manager, software education consultant, and real estate agent, he now focuses on the ongoing fight for equality for all.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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