Bob Spitzer, the psychiatrist behind a 2001 study claiming that it's possible for "highly motivated" homosexuals to turn themselves straight, has now admitted that this might not really be true. 

"In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," said Spitzer. "The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more." Spitzer continued that efforts to change one's orientation "can be quite harmful," and has requested that the study's author issue a retraction "so I don't have to worry about it anymore."

Needless to say, opponents of the "ex-gay" movement are excited. "Dr. Spitzer's repudiation of his 2001 study is an earthquake that severely undermines the validity of 'ex-gay' programs," said Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out. "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." 

Though it principally relied on self-reporting from a relatively small group of participants, Spitzer's original study was largely considered the best scientific evidence in support of efforts to re-train gays into straights. Oddly enough though, prior to this whole mess, Spitzer was on the forefront of efforts in the 1970s to end homosexuality's classification as a mental illness. Could this be a last-minute effort to re-brand as a forward-thinking scientific advocate for the gay community? Either way, nice to have this one cleared up.

Image by Dave Herr.

Commentarium (9 Comments)

Apr 11 12 - 8:47pm


Apr 11 12 - 9:04pm


Apr 12 12 - 9:21am

everyone else > liberal arts majors > any type of psych major

Apr 17 12 - 9:10am

Psychiatry is a medical specialisation: you have to study as a MD before you can become a psychiatrist. Psychology on the other hand can be studied by A level students.

There might be a difference in cost too...

Apr 11 12 - 9:04pm

If I could, I would un-gay myself. I wish I was bi.

Apr 12 12 - 10:24am

You are perfect just the way you are. Didn't your mom tell you that enough?

Apr 12 12 - 8:29pm

Funny that Homosexuality is some sort of "instinctual" thing that people are born with ... I wonder if that viewpoint has anything to do with politics (snicker). So what other behavioral properties are we born with? Or is this the only one?

Apr 12 12 - 9:22pm

Your "snickers" aren't convincing anyone, Greg. Go troll somewhere else.

Apr 12 12 - 9:44pm

But I like it here! (snicker)