Dr. Robert Spitzer Says Group Used His Work to Support Fight Against Gay Rights
Miami Beach, FLA. --For the second time in two days, Focus on the Family was accused of distorting research in their efforts to attack gay and lesbian equality. Today, Columbia University's Dr. Robert Spitzer said in an e-mail statement to Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out, that the conservative organization took his controversial 2001 study on sexual orientation "out of context."
"Unfortunately Focus on the Family has once again reported findings of my study out of context to support their fight against gay rights," said Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.
"Focus on the Family has a bottomless capacity for audacity," said TWO's Wayne Besen. "They are trying to dig themselves out of a hole caused by distorting the work of one researcher by misrepresenting the work of another. It is time they shut down their fib factory and started helping real families."
On Monday, the Colorado Springs-based group was criticized by a Canadian researcher who says she was "baffled" by the conclusions the organization drew from her research. The study by Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, showed that lesbian teenagers were more likely to attempt suicide. Reacting to survey results, Focus on the Family blamed the very people trying to help teens enter a more accepting society.
"Regrettably, they think they have to embrace homosexuality because pro-gay advocates told them that they were born gay," claimed Melissa Fryrear, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family, on their website.
Truth Wins Out challenged Fryrear's statement by informing Dr. Saewyc of Focus on the Family's interpretation of her work. She told the Canadian Press that, "The research has been hijacked for somebody's political purposes or ideological purposes and that's worrisome."
Focus on the Family defended itself in the Canadian Press article by invoking Dr. Robert Sptizer's work. TWO contacted Dr. Spitzer and he was dismayed that his study had been twisted for political gain.
"Although a third of the subjects in my study reported having had serious thoughts of suicide related to their homosexuality, not one of them blamed the gay rights movement's advocating a 'born-gay' theory of homosexuality as the cause of their suicidal thinking," said Spitzer.
This is not the first time that the far right has misinterpreted Dr. Robert Spitzer's work. In 2001, he released a controversial study reportedly showing that a small fraction of gay people might be able to shift sexual orientation. This received international media attention because Spitzer is the doctor who played a key role in taking homosexuality off the list of mental disorders in 1973. His 2001 findings were immediately disputed by many scientists and gay advocates who complained his study sample relied heavily on anti-gay activists, many of whom made a portion of their living by claiming they had become straight through prayer and therapy. Still, Dr. Spitzer concludes that change is "a pretty rare phenomenon."
"While TWO disagrees with Dr. Spitzer’s findings, we are in solid agreement that right wing groups have wrongly drawn conclusions that were not presented in his work," said Besen. "Focus on the Family should stop falsifying the facts and misquoting the Spitzer study."
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
- 30 -
If they can intentionally misinterpret something right on paper in front of them, who in the universe should be trusting these people to call themselves defenders of "christianity?"
posted by Kevin, at
6/20/2006 12:23 PM
Kevin, they wouldnt know real Christianity if it came up and bit them on their pathetic lying asses. Fryrear--there's a good drag name in there somewhere. Miss Maxi Pad-thai
posted by Anonymous, at
6/20/2006 1:21 PM
Excellent work. Stop the bloody liars in their tracks. I suggest the American Family Association be the next to go, then Concerned Women for America. Take them all down and show this Nation what these groups are really about; hate and bigotry.
You talk about hatred and bigotry, just read these comments.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/21/2006 5:56 PM
How does one claim that someone has missrepresented studies when a conclution can not be reached as the subjects are dead. I for one know that if I had listened to those lies (Homosexuality is right) I would probiably have offed myself, as I had been planing.
posted by Mike, at
5/10/2007 6:11 PM