Dr. Robert Spitzer: "I Owe the Gay Community an Apology" for "Gay Cure" Study
Eleven years after his profoundly flawed study of "reparative therapy" to "cure" gay people of their rampant gayness, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer has written a letter apologizing to the gay community.
Spitzer had already distanced himself from the study in 2004, when we interviewed Houston-area men who'd gone through reparative therapy, but the touching story in The New York Times illustrates how the study never stopped haunting Spitzer, who now suffers from Parkinson's.
Spitzer's study was a bit of a surprise, given that he fought with the American Psychiatric Association in the early 1970s to drop homosexuality from the revised Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That he'd later find himself conducting a poorly conceived and executed study in which he asked reparative therapy clients if they'd "changed" must have caused some in the gay community to scratch their heads.
As we wrote, "Spitzer did not claim his study proved that reparative therapy was a cure-all, but he said the volunteers' responses indicated that some gay people can definitely change."
Rice Owls Mens Basketball vs. St. Thomas University Men's Basketball
TicketsWed., Dec. 21, 7:00pm
Advocare V100 Texas Bowl
TicketsWed., Dec. 28, 8:00pm
Rice Owls Mens Basketball vs. Middle Tennessee State Univ Blue Raiders Mens Basketball
TicketsThu., Jan. 5, 7:00pm
PRCA XTreme Bulls
TicketsFri., Jan. 6, 7:30pm
The study fueled the pseudoscience of groups like NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and "ex-gay" groups like Exodus Ministries.
Last month, Truth Wins Out ran a draft of Spitzer's letter, in which he writes, "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."
Better late than never, we guess.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.