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Psychologist who advocated reparative therapy apologizes to gay community for 'making unproven claims'

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News release from Truth Wins Out:

Burlington, Vt — Truth Wins Out has exclusively obtained a letter from psychologist Dr. Robert Spitzer officially invalidating his infamous 2001 study which claimed that some “highly motivated” homosexuals could go from gay to straight. Spitzer’s letter was written to Dr. Ken Zucker, editor of theArchives of Sexual Behavior – the journal that originally published Spitzer’s research in 2001 but has yet to print a retraction. In light of this development, TWO slammed the many anti-gay and “ex-gay” groups that continue to cite Spitzer’s study on their webpages.

“Organizations that continue to cite Spitzer’s repudiated study, such as PFOX, Focus on the Family, and NARTH, are being dishonest and blatantly misleading their followers,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “By failing to expeditiously remove references to the Spitzer study, these groups are showing themselves to be completely devoid of character and integrity.”

Spitzer’s letter is also noteworthy because it contains an apology for the harm his study caused to victims of “pray away the gay” therapy and to the greater LGBT community:

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.

In the letter, Dr. Spitzer further explains that his study’s “fatal flaw” is that it was predicated entirely on changes in sexual orientation reported by the patients themselves. He said, “…the simple fact is that there was no way to determine if the subject’s accounts of change were valid.” This brings Dr. Spitzer into agreement with every mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals, all of which condemn so-called “reparative therapy” as both ineffective and potentially dangerous.

“Apologizing to the victims of reparative therapy and the greater LGBT community was the right thing to do. It represents a watershed moment in the fight against the ‘ex-gay’ myth,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications. “Even more importantly, it will help to greatly hasten the day when the scourge that is reparative therapy is eradicated completely and LGBT people can live openly, honestly, and true to themselves.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.


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