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Dr. Robert Spitzer Tells Focus On The Family
to Stop Exaggerating His Work

by Wayne Besen
Feb 15, 2007

(Out Of) Focus On The Family

Miami Beach, FLA. - Truth Wins Out released a new video today on YouTube featuring a famed psychiatrist who says Focus on the Family has chronically exaggerated his scientific data from a 2001 study to support their anti-gay political agenda.

"The gay person who is thinking about entering some kind of program to change should know that the likelihood of success is quite small. And, of course, Focus on the Family does not say that," said Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, in an exclusive video interview with Truth Wins Out.

In 2001, Spitzer released a controversial study claiming a minute number of gay people can change from gay-to-straight. Focus on the Family and other right wing groups have since habitually taken his work out of context by claiming that his research proves that most, if not all, gay people can switch sexual orientations through a combination of prayer and therapy.

Spitzer noted that Focus on the Family fails to mention that finding a mere 200 research subjects who claimed they had changed took a solid year and a half - which flies in the face of false claims that there are "hundreds of thousands" of ex-gays. Spitzer told the New York Times this week that, "Although I suspect change occurs, I suspect it's very rare. Is it 1 percent, 2 percent? I don't think it's 10 percent." In a May 28, 2006 article in the Los Angeles Times, Spitzer said, "If some people can change - and I think they can - it's a pretty rare phenomenon."

"Sptizer has been clear as a bell that change is highly unlikely," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "Yet, right wing groups exaggerate his findings to make it seem like any motivated gay person can go from gay to straight. This is profoundly dishonest and immoral for organizations that claim to represent family values."

In 1973, Dr. Robert Spitzer helped spearhead the removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. So, it was quite a media sensation when Spitzer unveiled a controversial new study in 2001 suggesting that some homosexuals could switch sexual orientations.

Sptizer's study was criticized by many academics and GLBT advocates because professional ex-gay political lobbyists were used as subjects, some even on the payroll of right wing organizations, presenting a conflict of interest. Additionally, Spitzer simply called these right wing activists on the telephone and asked if they had changed. There were no physical measures - such as the polygraph or penile plethysmograph - to corroborate this predictably stated change.

"While we vehemently disagree with the conclusions of Spitzer's study, we applaud him for speaking out against discrimination and for his courage to stand up to right wing groups who are misusing his research to attack gay people," said Besen.

©2009 Wayne Besen. All rights reserved. Used with Permission

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Wayne Besen is a nationally recognized advocate for gay and lesbian rights. He has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows including: NBC Nightly News, The Roseanne Show, CNN's Talk Back Live and The Point, Fox's O'Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, Fox News and MSNBC News.

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that counters anti-gay propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life.

Contact Wayne: Phone: 917-691-5118        Email:

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