The American Pshycoanalytic Association, writing to Rachel Maddow’s team to praise last weeks segment on the history of the “ex-gay” idea, has said that any such attempts at a cure are “quackery” fueled by bias.
Following last Wednesday’s segment the Maddow blog reports the show was sent the following comment from the American Psychoanalytic Association:
This issue deserves coverage in the news as long as individuals and the “ex-gay movement” use faulty science and bias to advance their agenda. APsaA states in its 1999 position statement on reparative therapy that efforts to “convert” or “repair” an individual’s sexual orientation are against the fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized homophobic attitudes. We emphasize that anti-homosexual bias, just like any other societal prejudice, negatively affects mental health and contributes to feelings of stigma and low self-worth. Reparative therapy is nothing more than quackery fueled by bias.
Maddow’s chief aim in running the segment was to publicize the fact that Dr Robert Spitzer had asked to withdraw his 2001 study that had been used as proof that gay people can change their sexual orientation. The study was widely criticized for allowing the pre-selected 200 patients to self-report change and for not following them over a number of years to see if that so-called change persisted.
Spitzer, in an interview with Gabriel Arana for his piece in The American Prospect called “My So-Called Ex-Gay Life”, said he wished to withdraw that study and cited the potential harms its unsubstantiated claims might have caused the gay community, the very same community Spitzer had worked hard to depathologize just a few decades before.
In last week’s segment Rachel Maddow said she hoped that, just as mainstream media had been complicit in spreading news of the Spitzer study the first time around, they would similarly state Spitzer’s desire to retract the suspect findings and make it known that ex-gay therapy remains scientifically groundless and potentially damaging.