Dr. Robert Spitzer tells The New
York Times that he “regrets” his own 2001 study which
concluded that some gay people could alter their sexuality.
The highly-criticized study, which was
published in the prestigious Archives of Sexual Behavior, alleged
that “highly motivated” gay men and lesbians could alter their
Spitzer first made a retraction in a
story published in the American
goes a bit further, to the moment when Spitzer first conceded
publicly that he had made a mistake.
It was while talking to Gabriel Arana,
the American Prospect journalist. Arana, who is gay, went
through the therapy himself as a teenage and he
described his experience in his story.
“I asked him about all his critics,
and he just came out and said, 'I think they're largely correct,'”
Arana told the paper. “But at the time I was recruited for the
Spitzer study, I was referred as a success story. I would have said
I was making progress.”
Spitzer, now nearly 80 and suffering
from Parkinson's disease, said: “You know, it's the only regret I
have; the only professional one. And I think, in the history of
psychiatry, I don't know that I've ever seen a scientist write a
letter saying that the data were all there but were totally
misinterpreted. Who admitted that and who apologized to his readers.
That's something, don't you think?”
Spitzer admits to this in a letter to
be published this month in the same journal where his original study
“I believe, I owe the gay community
an apology,” the letter concludes.
Maddow: Robert Spitzer's “ex-gay” recant could bolster gay