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Author of 2001 Pro-Ex-Gay Therapy Study Wants To Retract It

Queerty is reporting something interesting. Apparently when American Prospect editor Gabriel Arana interviewed Robert Spitzer, he got something very interesting. Spitzer was one of the psychologists who lead the charge to declassify same-sex attraction as a psychological disorder back in the 1970′s, but in 2001, he issued a study that said that ex-gay therapy was effective.

Arana underwent four years worth of ex-gay therapy that, apparently, didn’t work. When Arana had a chance to talk to the almost 80-year-old Spitzer, he learned that Spitzer wanted to retract the study. This is the same study that is used primarily by people like Marcus Bachmann to claim that ex-gay therapy works.

Arana wrote:

Spitzer was drawn to the topic of ex-gay therapy because it was controversial—“I was always attracted to controversy”—but was troubled by how the study was received. He did not want to suggest that gay people should pursue ex-gay therapy. His goal was to determine whether the counterfactual—the claim that no one had ever changed his or her sexual orientation through therapy—was true.

I asked about the criticisms leveled at him. “In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,” he said. “The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.” He said he spoke with the editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior about writing a retraction, but the editor declined. (Repeated attempts to contact the journal went unanswered.) …

Spitzer was growing tired and asked how many more questions I had. Nothing, I responded, unless you have something to add.

He did. Would I print a retraction of his 2001 study, “so I don’t have to worry about it anymore”?

This is good news, but watch it be ignored by those who seek to claim that homosexuality can be cured. Of course, this comes on top of a study showing that the most virulent homophobes are the most likely to be deeply repressing their same-sex attractions.

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