English Professional work

Support the ICD project SM is healthy Remove SM/fetish diagnoses

Urgent Matter
In the light of the damaging health consequences evidenced above, a change in the SM and fetish diagnoses becomes a matter of urgency. It will provide indisputable signals to professionals and to possible abusers, and further the prevention of harassment to leather people. Among others, the official appointed british Law Commission (No 139 1995 paras 10.38) establishes that such harassment and low self-esteem seriously impair the ability to practise safer sex and prevent hiv-transmission.

Kinky-supportive mental health professionals
We can hardly expect the WHO and their advisors to be convinced by the arguments of “ordinary” activists. Instead, they may be persuaded by the opinion of qualified mental health experts. That is why a change of the paraphilic diagnoses requires international collaboration in order to identify professionals who are “kinky-supportive”. The ICD project needs a large body of testimony, quoted reference and supporting evidence from psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists and reseachers of human sexuality. These statements should be sent to the ICD project secretariat and forwarded to the WHO’s ICD Update Reference Committee following an accepted procedure.

Build kinky friendly mental health professional networks and write supporting articles in professional periodicals so as to induce the national Psychiatric Associations to approve antidiscriminating regulations. We would be delighted to publish statements and articles on our web page

Leather people must be the motive powers
The support and work of leather men and women, SM community-leaders and kinky organizations are crucial if we are to reach our goal. The initiative of individuals is always to be welcomed, but even more efficient would be the formation of local and national working groups which are able to approach to the professionals in question. If the necessary funds can be raised, regional and international conferences and workshops should be held. Otherwise, the groups will communicate through electronic mail and other means of communication that are available.

Grassroots communities
We also welcome support from grassroots communities as gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual groups, human rights activists and organizations, feminists, authors, civil liberties groups, anti-violence organisations, trade unions, political parties, etc to influence the psychiatric authorities and the public opinion.

We would appreciate if you forward – and if necessary – translate this information to members of your organization, member-magazines, leather-periodicals and gay newspapers. Ask if anybody knows kinky friendly mental health professionals that are willing to submit evidence. National associations of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists can provide useful resources. Organize lobby groups as a spur to promote political dicisions on a national level – an example is provided by the Danish Minister of Health who in 1995 removed the SM diagnoses following a single inquiry from the SM group “The Black Society”.

Join the mailing list
If you have web pages with SM human rights content, we would like to include a link on It will be useful if you place a link to us on your web page. To be informed and have your voice heard – join our e-mail discussion group at and inform others about it. Please alert us to positive, negative or neutral stories about alternative sexual expression.

Submit evidence, ideas and support to the ICD project secretariat: e-mail
Join the mailing list on

Support to the ICD project
The ICD project was established on the initiative of the 1996 and 1998 National Conventions of the Norwegian National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH).

The 21st European Conference of ILGA in Pisa, October 1999, decided to support the ICD project and ask the Board to assist by giving access to channels of information.

The General Assembly of the ECMC in Milano, August 2000 adopted a motion to establish a project group with the same mandate.

Organizations involved
The ICD project group consists of SM/Leather/Fetish men and women representing organizations of leather and SM gays, – lesbians, bi- and heterosexuals, as well as professionals in sexology, psychology and psychiatry.

LLH, Landsforeningen for lesbisk og homofil frigjøring – Norwegian National Association for Lesbian and Gay Liberation

SLM-Oslo, Scandinavian Leather Men, Oslo

Verkstedet Smia-Oslo

SLM-Bergen, Scandinavian Leather Men, Bergen

SMil Norge


Examples of statements, quotes and evidence of support

Will be forwarded to the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The ICD diagnoses of “Sadism” and “Masochism” are certainly messy because abuse and violence is mixed into the same category as consensual sexual games.” “Any kind of sexuality may be perverted – even heterosexuality. I think it may be useful to reserve the words “perversion” and “paraphilia” for abusive, disrespectful and other harmful sexual activities.
Psychologist and sexologist Odd Reiersøl.

SM practitioners have been victimized by society as a whole and by many groups that should know better. There is no credible evidence that SM practitioners have any more problems or issues than other sexu al orientations. There is no data to suggest that SM leads to violence. All research so far, indicates that SM practitioners are indistinguishable from individuals with other sexual orientations, except by their sexual behaviour.
Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D.

To stigmatize, diagnose and marginalize consenting SM and leatherpeople, is not going to help the victims of domestic violence. On the contrary, false reports, blackmailing and diagnosing healthy and innocent people weakens the credibility of true sexual abuse victims.
The lesbian and gay SM support group Smia-Oslo.

Sexual [SM] impulses form a strong part of each person’s day to day life, so that their suppression can effect the development or balance of the individual’s emotional life, happiness and personality.
Paras 10.46 and 10.49 in the official appointed Law Commission’s document No 139 1995 issued by the UK Home Office.

Unlike the psychiatrists and psychologists who deal primarily with psychologically troubled individuals who are also interested in D&S [Dominance and Submission], I did not find them to be psychologically troubled or socially inept; rather … their backgrounds, activities and attitudes are quite unlike the social stereotype that depicts sadomasochism as a form of violence, mischief, or mayhem perpetrated by the psychologically unstable who seek to hurt others or to be hurt themselves. … Thus, quite unlike its public image, the community is a warm, close and supportive one.
Sociologist Gini Scott in her 1983 book “Erotic Power” about the dynamics of the heterosexual SM subculture.