The “Trojan Couch”

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activists, Richard Isay and Douglas Haldeman. Isay, head of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Psychiatric Association—who spearheaded a failed attempt to mak e such treatment an ethical violation—has proposed that “homophobia” be classified a mental disorder. Haldeman, an author of the Lawrence brief, tacitly acknowledges what the brief as a whole is at such pains otherwise to deny: That homosexuality is not th e immutable condition the authors are determined to make it out to be. Nevertheless, the brief makes no mention of the Laumann study’s finding, nor of other studies, including those actually conducted under the auspices of the Kinsey Institute itself, that claim very substantial success in reversing homosexuality. 26 The authors did not even bother to critique a study by the Kinsey -developed Masters and Johnson program, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that reported a 65% success rate, but did reference second hand reviews by non-researchers. The authors suggest that “conversion” therapy is actually harmful and that programs might even be needed to undo the harm. As evidence they cite “research” on “reparative therapy” sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. The NGLTF used the following advertisement to recruit subjects: You can be of help in the long process of getting the message out that these conversion therapies do not work and do the opposite of healing by informing your l/g/ b communities of our search for participants to be interviewed. Please announce our project in any upcoming lesbian and gay community meetings and spread the word. Help us document the damage! In contrast, by the time of the Lawrence brief, Robert Spitzer had begun to suspect that homosexuality was in fact “not stable” and that the increasingly large number of claims of change he had been hearing might in many cases be true. Upon completion of a pilot study, he presented his findings privately to the Assoc iation of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (a group within the APA) expecting his results to be met with scientific objectivity. As he told me, he was urged to suppress his findings on the grounds that, whether true or not, they would harm the civil rights of gays and lesbians. He later received a letter from Wayne Besen, then President of the Human Rights Campaign, warning him not to attempt to perform and publish a full -fledged study. As he wrote me: “the intimidation was in the form of telling me that if I did such a study I would be exposed as doing fraudulent research in front of my colleagues.” 27 In spite of Spitzer’s reputation as one of the most highly -regarded quantitative researchers and bio-statisticians in psychiatry and as the man who had shepherded homosexuality out of the DSM, he faced enormous difficulty in getting his study published. Initially presented at the APA annual convention in May, 2001, the results were not published until November, 2003, but the journal of the very organization of whic h he was the chief editor refused its publication. It was a remarkable slap in the face for someone of his stature, and an indication of the astounding power of political correctness and lack of scientific integrity within the organization.28 Considering the significance of the study, the numerous comments by eminent names in the field published with it, Spitzer’s eminence, and the care he took to approach the Gay and Lesbian interest groups within the APA before proceeding, it is truly remarkable that this study did not even merit a mention in the brief.

Footnotes: 26 M. F. Schwartz and W. H. Masters, “The Masters and Johnson Treatment Program for Dissatisfied Homosexual Men,” American Journal of Psychiatry 141, pp. 173—81 27 Besen is well-known for his unrestrained use of invective and distortion. A recent reference of his to me, for example, from the January 5 -11, 2006 Falls Church News-Press, XV: 44 reads, “… Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a quack that [sic] says Prozac may “cure” homosexuals .” [sic] 28 Robert L. Spitzer, M.D., Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October 2003, pp. 403—417 (2003) Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation? 200 Participants Reporting a Change from Homosexual to Heterosexual Orientation.