MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow this week devoted a segment to so-called ex-gay therapy and how Dr Robert Spitzer’s rejection of his 2001 study, a key landmark in the ex-gay therapy meme, should be a death blow to the myth that people can “choose to change” and renounce homosexuality.
Watch Part 1 below:
Watch Part 2 Below:
Ex-gay therapy groups have been decidedly quiet since Spitzer twice asked to withdraw his support from those findings and said the study was flawed.
Even in 2001, clinicians struggled against a media frenzy to point out that the selected group sample had all of them been referred by ex-gay groups (so may were already primed) and that the study only tracked participants’ reported change in sexuality and didn’t use other methods to test if their implicit feelings had in fact undergone any kind of change. The study was also faulted for having not even attempted to track if participants could in fact sustain their reported change over months or years.
Despite these many flaws, this one study published in a reputable journal has allowed the ex-gay therapy idea to blossom. However, while ex-gay groups have clamored to find studies that support their conclusions that sexual orientation change is possible (and in the case of NARTH that it is desirable because, they claim, homosexuality is deleterious to health), they have not been able to find support from the wider scientific community and have been forced to fund and peer review their own material, all of which has been found to be suspect in one way or another.
With segments like the Maddow piece above, it will surely be hoped that just as the mainstream media once publicized the ex-gay therapy lie, it might now spread the word that the study’s author has now admitted that his findings were flawed. This might also serve to restore the good name of Robert Spitzer who, after all, led the charge to depathologize homosexuality in the first place.
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