Photo of “ex-gay” activist/queen D.L. Foster
Ryan Lee, Associate Writer: News & Current Events
Dr. Robert Spitzer – whose research on homosexuality has caused his reputation to swing like a pendulum between hero and villain over the decades – is now apologizing for the harm his flawed 2001 study endorsing reparative therapy has caused gay people.
“I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy,” Spitzer wrote in a letter obtained by Truth Wins Out, a watchdog group for ex-gay propaganda. “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.”
Spitzer’s full-throated mea culpa comes weeks after he formally disavowed a 2001 study that asserted some “highly motivated” individuals could change their sexual orientation from gay to heterosexual.
The study was criticized immediately by gay activists and Spitzer’s fellow scientists, and became the primary tool of ex-gay groups arguing against homosexuality.
Spitzer’s study was a particularly potent piece of science for anti-gay forces because of the researcher behind it. In the 1970s, Spitzer was a leading force behind having homosexuality removed as a mental disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Regarding his infamous 2001 study, Spitzer said its “fatal flaw” was that it relied entirely on self-reports of a change in sexual orientation, and “there was no way to judge the credibility of subject reports of change in sexual orientation.”