Dr. Spitzer Writes the Letter That He Needed to Write

I posted last week about Dr. Robert Spitzer and his requested retraction of his work, published in 2003 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. He wanted the retraction to occur via an online article not related to the original publication. I asked if this was really a retraction or a repudiation. Several commenters suggested that what Spitzer needed to do was write to Dr. Ken Zucker, editor of the journal. Dr. Zucker had even indicated that he would be receptive to receiving and publishing such a letter.

Well, Spitzer’s done what he needed to do. The letter is written to Zucker and has been shared as an exclusive with Truth Wins Out. (For those who might not know, Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-gay religious extremism. This includes debunking myths about “reparative therapy.”)

The letter starts out:

Several months ago I told you that because of my revised view of my 2001 study of reparative therapy changing sexual orientation, I was considering writing something that would acknowledge that I now judged the major critiques of the study as largely correct. After discussing my revised view of the study with Gabriel Arana, a reporter for American Prospect, and with Malcolm Ritter, an Associated Press science writer, I decided that I had to make public my current thinking about the study. Here it is.

To read the whole thing, click here.

It does not say in the blog if the letter will be be published in the journal but I certainly hope it will be. That will set the matter straight in the scientific indexes (such as PubMed) which needs to be done.

Good for Dr. Spitzer for doing the right thing, at last, but it is unfortunate that 11 years have passed since the original study “results” were presented at the APA annual meeting. As many said in the comments to my first post, this research did not have just scientific implications but also social and political and has been damaging to the LGBTQ community. Let’s hope his repudiation can help to put the nail in the coffin of “reparative therapy,” once and for all.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

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