Expert Backs Away from Gay “Cure”

According to Peggy Fletcher Stack writing in the SLTrib (23 May 2012):

The author of a controversial 2001 study claiming that gays [can change their sexual orientation] has now disavowed his conclusions . . .  “I believe I owe the gay community an apology,” [Robert L.] Spitzer [considered by some to be the father of modern psychiatry] wrote in a letter to a psychiatric journal, according to a New York Times story last week.

Spitzer was referring to his study in which he interviewed 200 gay men and women before and after therapy to change their orientation.  The majority said they had become “predominantly or exclusively heterosexual.”

The most serious flaw, critics argued, was that the change was all self-reported.

Spitzer now agrees.

“I offered several [unconvincing] reasons why it was reasonable to assume that the subject’s reports of change were credible and not self-deception or outright lying.” the psychiatrist writes in a letter to Ken Zucker, editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, the journal in which Spitzer’s original study appeared.  “But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subjects’ accounts of change were valid.”

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