Father of Ex-Gay Movement Apologizes to Gay Community for Making It All Up
Dr. Robert Spitzer’s watershed 2001 study on reparative therapy is widely credited as having given birth to the modern Ex-Gay movement, and the evangelical belief that sexual orientation can be changed through prayer and therapy, earning Spitzer the ire of the worldwide LGBT community.
A decade later, Spitzer has written a public apology admitting that he essentially made the whole thing up.
Basic Research Question. From the beginning it was: “can some version of reparative therapy enable individuals to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual?” Realizing that the study design made it impossible to answer this question, I suggested that the study could be viewed as answering the question, “how do individuals undergoing reparative therapy describe changes in sexual orientation?” – a not very interesting question.
The Fatal Flaw in the Study – There was no way to judge the credibility of subject reports of change in sexual orientation. 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. But the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid.
I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some “highly motivated” individuals.
Robert Spitzer. M.D. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University
BAM! And just like that, the very cornerstone of the argument that gays and lesbians can pray away their gayness crumbles into a pile of rubble.
Honestly, my initial reaction was to call Spitzer a quack and a fraud. But admitting his mistake, and publicly at that, arms the LGBT community with a critical argument against those who condemn and demonize us. Spitzer, while guilty of having created this monster, has given us a gift in return for the last decade of strife.
Nobody is asking you to forget, but are you able to forgive?
(via Truth Wins Out)