Friday, April 27, 2012

Repudiated “ex-gay” study author apologizes to LGBT community

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Dr. Robert Spitzer
Dr. Robert Spitzer

Two weeks ago, renowned researcher Dr. Robert Spitzer did the right thing and cut what little leg the “ex-gay” movement had left out from under it when he formally renounced his own 2001 study that showed how religious fervor can delude certain “highly motivated” individuals into repressing their homosexual orientation and basically “acting straight”. Now, he’s gone further and wants to extend an official apology to the LGBT community for the harm he and his paper have caused:

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.

It sounds like somewhat of a lackluster recognition of error and expression of contrition to me, but it’s still a solid step in the right direction. The real issue, though, isn’t just that some people “wasted time and energy” pursuing a pointless endeavor because they thought it worked (although that is true of many), but rather that hundreds and thousands of influenceable and vulnerable individuals, including countless minors, were forced by family and other peers into these self-destructive attempts at denying and distorting such an integral part of their being. Dr. Spitzer’s study was undeniably the most prominent piece of evidence (however faulty) that “gay deconversion” programs cited in support of their methods and goals.

It’s good – very good – that Dr. Spitzer recognizes he was wrong and that his paper helped continue some of the hardships faced by LGBT folks. But it would be better if he realized just how horrible its impact has truly been for so many victims of the “ex-gay” movement.

(via Joe. My. God.)