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Psychiatrist behind controversial ‘ex-gay’ study retracts original claims

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In a move that serves as a significant blow to “ex-gay” programs and anti-gay organizations, Dr. Robert Spitzer has repudiated his much-criticized 2001 study that claimed some “highly motivated” homosexuals could go from gay to straight.

Spitzer’s retraction occurred in an American Prospect magazine article that hit newsstands on Wednesday.

Robert Spitzer

Spitzer’s rejection of his own research, which was originally published in the prestigious Archives of Sexual Behavior, is a devastating blow to “ex-gay” organizations because it decisively eliminates their most potent claim that homosexuality can be reversed through therapy and prayer, according to Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism and the “ex-gay” myth.

“Dr. Spitzer’s repudiation of his 2001 study is an earthquake that severely undermines the validity of ‘ex-gay’ programs,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen, who criticized the study in his 2003 book, Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.

“Spitzer just kicked out the final leg from the stool on which the proponents of ‘ex-gay’ therapy based their already shaky claims of success.”

Spitzer’s 2001 study was a surprise and created a media firestorm because he had previously led the charge in 1972-73 to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association.

According to today’s American Prospect article:

“In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques [of my study] are largely correct,” Dr. Spitzer told the American Prospect in an article by Gabriel Arana titled, My So Called Ex-Gay Life. “The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.”

Spitzer asked for a retraction of his 2001 study, “So I don’t have to worry about it anymore?”

Dr. Spitzer’s research was particularly harmful because he was the only non-socially conservative scientist to produce a study claiming some people could “pray away the gay.”

“Virtually every anti-gay organization in the country quotes Dr. Spitzer’s work,” said Besen. “It will be an integrity test to see which groups remove citations of his work in the coming week.”

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19 more reader comments:

  1. Finally it gets though to him.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:09am
  2. More shite !

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:09am
  3. The fact that they are not prosecuting doctors who are still using aversion therapy and shock treatment to “cure” homosexuals is appauling.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:14am
  4. This is good news indeed!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:15am
  5. yeah – - i tried that BS when i was a pastor…..didn’t work.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:17am
  6. exactly, they need to be putting ppl in prison for trying to change ppl from gay to str8.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:17am
  7. *appalling. It does get me worked up. So much so that I don’t even proof read. LOL

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:18am
  8. It took this ” A ” hole …… This long ? to figure it out ?

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:19am
  9. I give him props for admitting he was incorrect in his assumption.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:24am
  10. Sometimes a guy just gets “sucked into” it thats all. Ha Ha

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:27am
  11. Someone should pass info on to Michelle Bachmans husband!!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:29am
  12. Would not do anty good to pass on info to Backmann. They both need to be put in a mental institution.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 11:35am
  13. -_-

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 2:17pm
  14. We told you !

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 2:25pm
  15. how does it feel to look like an ass, and be counted as in uncredible source of information now you jackhammer!

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 2:49pm
  16. And the truth will set us free.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 4:27pm
  17. while i am glad he finally admitted he was wrong, it still doesn’t excuse the damage done to so many people affected by his research

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 4:57pm
  18. YA THINK

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 6:39pm
  19. Exactly ! 33year “phase” been threatened with shock therapy and concentless drugging . Great news and relief. Maybe GID can now be updated so I can get medical care.

    Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 7:50pm