Doctor apologizes for saying you can get over your gayness. Thanks.
You simply can’t “turn” a gay person straight or “pray away the gay,” no matter what Michele Bachmann’s husband thinks. Now that we’ve established that as a fact, let’s talk about how The New York Times reported that Dr. Robert Spitzer essentially wrote an open letter to the gay community, published in a psychology journal this week, saying—of all things—my bad. Spitzer never became a household name, but he was responsible for removing homosexuality from the canon of mental illness, right next to alcoholism and catatonia, which was a huge step forward for gay rights in 1973. But, he also argued that therapy could cure unwanted gayness…which was a huge step off a short pier.
I’d like to note that Dr. Spitzer is a contrarian breeder with a penchant for causing controversy. When that’s in your favor it’s very attractive, falling in the category of butch. This was the case in ‘73. Otherwise, it’s not very disco, as was the case in 2003 when he published a paper that became fodder and for conversion practitioners, and homophobes around the world. This study tried to legitimize the experience of homosexuals who believed they became straight after getting past the original sin of gayness. I’m not one to call someone a lying, self-loathing, insecure, scaredy-cat drunk on evangelical kool aid, but any self-respecting queer or straight person understands they were born a certain way. And that the real choice in life is to either be yourself or slowly watch your one chance at life rot away. #WTFOriginalSin?
Which is what many gay people said they felt after experiencing conversion therapy. It is also why the World Health Organization took the position that the process is a “serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.” Thoughts of suicide, depression, and a delayed acceptance of themselves are all results. So at the end of Dr. Spitzer’s long and prominent career—he is considered the father of modern psychology—a retraction of his previous study and an outright apology for the misrepresentations of his findings is no small feat.
The study has been abused, having been used as the basis for self-proclaimed religious leaders to ruin people’s lives. One such self-loathing (alleged) homosexual is Marcus Bachmann. You know, Michelle Bachmann’s hubby who runs “Christian counseling” clinics, the guy with gay face. If you don’t know what I mean by that (Gay Face), please refer to either definition 4 or 7 in urban dictionary. I’ll forgo commenting on his speaking voice.
It’s clear that Robert Spitzer regrets the backlash and abuse of his work for the past ten years, and kudos to him for trying to make it right. I’m sure he is sleeping better at night. And this should cool some of the hot air blowing around a few evangelical camps for a while. But don’t fret, they’ll find something new and entertaining to use as basis for perpetuating self-loathing behavior. Like, say, I don’t know, risqué bathing suits for men.