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Psychiatrist retracts infamous study claiming gay people can turn straight through therapy

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Robert SpitzerRobert Spitzer admits critiques of 2011 research are 'largely correct'

The psychiatrist behind a prominent 2001 study declaring people can go from gay to straight has retracted his original claims.

Although the research is still cited by anti-gay organizations as proof that so-called ex-gay therapy works to change someone's sexual orientation, the study has endured scientific criticism for years.

Now, Robert Spitzer, who led the research, told American Prospect that he wants to publish a retraction.

"In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," Spitzer said. "The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more."

The original study was based on interviews with 200 patients who were being treated with ex-gay therapy, which claimed to reverse sexual orientation in gay patients.

The paper Spitzer published concluded that the therapy worked "for a highly select group of motivated individuals" without providing any definitive success rate.


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