Press

NGLTF Responds to Flawed Spitzer Study on So-Called ‘Reparative Therapy’

Date: 
May 08, 2001

Tim McFeeley, Political Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, issued the following statement today in response to a study scheduled for release Wednesday, May 9 at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans. The study suggests that in some cases, “highly motivated gay people” can change their sexual orientation.

“The so-called ‘study’ conducted by Robert Spitzer is snake oil packaged as science. Of the 200 people interviewed by Spitzer, 43 percent were referred to him by ex-gay ministries. Another 23 percent were referred to him by the anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). To say the very least, the data is tainted and biased.

“Indeed, a look at Spitzer’s own comments reveal his bias on the topic. Spitzer opposes same-sex marriage, opposes the right of gay and lesbian people to adopt children, opposes the right of gay and lesbian people to serve in the military and believes that homosexuality ‘is not a normal condition.’ A visit to NARTH’s web site turns up 16 different mentions of Spitzer, including a press release trumpeting Spitzer’s so-called ‘study,’ which NARTH mysteriously received in advance.

“The religious right political movement is losing their war on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. This pseudoscience lacks credibility. The general public and virtually every legitimate medical group has come to know that sexual orientation is not a disease that can be ‘cured’ by reparative therapy – or by religious extremism.”

To read the report Calculated Compassion, please visit www.ngltf.org/downloads/calccomp.pdf. The report documents the links between the ex-gay movement and the religious right's retooled assault on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. It was published by NGLTF, Political Research Associates, and Equal Partners in Faith in 1998.

Statement of American Psychiatric Association on "conversion" therapies: www.psych.org/pract_of_psych/copptherapyaddendum83100.cfm

American Psychological Association guidelines for lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients: www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/guidelines.html

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.