As you can imagine, the study is controversial to say the least, but it’s there nonetheless. The one who took it is Dr. Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist at Colombia University analyzed the lives of 145 men and 60 women who went from gay to straight and concluded that 66% of men and 44% of women were leading fulfilling and loving heterosexual relationships for more than a year and that they were almost completely emotionally satisfied.
The problem was that around 90% of men and 70% of women still had homosexual attractions, whereas others didn’t. But a small percentage of the subjects reported a total lack of homosexual indicators, Dr. Spitzer said. “These are people who were uncomfortable for many years with their sexual feelings” he declared, also saying that highly motivated homosexuals can change their sexual preferences if they put in enough effort to it. The problem with his study is that it hasn’t been replicated, nor confirmed in any way. This is where a second study steps in.
In May this year some of Dr. Spitzer’s critics took another study that contradicted his findings. Two psychologists called Ariel Shidle and Michael Shroeder for New York found that out of 215 gay subjects who had received help in changing their sexual preferences, the large majority failed to do so. Only a small percentage reported feeling helped, although almost all of them recidivated on the long run. Since it took place only recently, this study has not been published or reviewed.
Dr. Spitzer later claimed that, as a result of the gay therapy: “There’s no doubt that many homosexuals have been unsuccessful and, attempting to change, become depressed and their life becomes worse. I am not disputing that”. Then what made them go for the change, you might ask? Psychologist Douglas Haldeman said that Spitzer’s subjects may have been fooling themselves. He declared that: “People attempt to change their sexual orientation not because there’s something wrong with sexual orientation, but because of social factors, because of religious dogma, because of pressure from family”
Whatever may be the case, the outcome was that many of those going through the gay therapy became socially withdrawn, chronically depressed and even showing suicidal tendencies at times. But then there’s the other side of those wanting to make the conversion and who succeed and become happier than before.
Which led Spitzer to declare that both those happy with being gay and ex-gays happy with being straight should be equally respected and supported and that no one should be forced to go through traumatic changes if they are happy with who they are.