In 2001, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, psychiatrist and professor emeritus of Columbia University, presented a paper at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association about something called “reparative therapy” for gay men and women. By undergoing reparative therapy, the paper claimed, gay men and women could change their sexual orientation. Spitzer had interviewed 200 allegedly former-homosexual men and women that he claimed had shown varying degrees of such change; all of the participants provided Spitzer with self reports of their experience with the therapy.
Fast forward to 2012, and Spitzer is of quite a different mind. Last month he told a reporter with The American Prospect that he regretted the 2001 study and the effect it had on the gay community, and that he owed the community an apology. And this month he sent a letter to the Archives of Sexual Behavior, which published his work in 2003, asking that the journal retract his paper.