April 11th, 2012

In a significant blow to “ex-gay” programs and anti-gay organizations, Dr. Robert Spitzer has formally and publicly repudiated his scientifically-criticized 2001 study, originally published in the peer-reviewed Archives of Sexual Behavior, that suggested that some “highly motivated” homosexuals could change their sexual orientation. Spitzer’s long-overdue retraction was published in American Prospect magazine on 11 March 2012 (11 years after publication and initial criticism). 

Dr. Spitzer’s research was particularly harmful because he was the only scientist among the “researchers” cited by anti-gay Christians who was not one of their members, suggesting that his research, unlike theirs, carried legitimacy. (Which, of course, is an implicit indictment of the legitimacy of their own biased “research.”)

No mainstream medical or mental health research, other than Spitzer’s article, or those in Christian, anti-gay publications, has ever found evidence supporting “conversion,” “reparative,” or “ex-gay” so-called therapies. All validated scientific findings show no effect or show harm.

Interestingly, in communications with the current Editor of the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Spitzer requested a published retraction, but the Editor has reportedly declined to formally retract the research. However, as a scientific, peer-reviewed journal, the Archives of Sexual Behavior has an ethical obligation to do so.