- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Many Americans believe homosexuals are born that way and can't do anything about it. For most of his professional life as a practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer helped promote that belief. He has changed his mind.

He now believes that some practicing homosexuals can change their sexual orientation and become practicing heterosexuals. He believes they can fall in love with a person of the opposite sex, have children, and successfully reorient their sexual mindsets and transform their lives.

Spitzer is not a right-wing nut or a religious fundamentalist. He describes himself as an “atheistic Jew.” In 1973, he led the politically correct fight that resulted in the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) diagnostic manual of mental disorders.

On May 9, 2001, at the annual meeting of the APA, Spitzer, who is currently chief of biometrics research and professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, released his study of 200 former homosexuals who have experienced a significant transformation from homosexual to heterosexual behavior and maintained it for at least five years. They attributed their success to prayer, therapy and a strong desire to escape a lifestyle they abhorred.

“Like most psychiatrists,” Spitzer said, “I thought that homosexual behavior could be resisted, but sexual orientation could not be changed. I now believe that's untrue — some people can and do change.”

For years, homosexual activists and the popular media have aggressively promoted the idea that the homosexual is unchangeably what he is from the moment of conception. This message implants in the minds of fair-minded Americans this thought: If you are born a certain way, how can you be judged for being that way?

But if it is not true that homosexuals are hapless pawns of their biology, the consequences could be enormous. The belief that they are “what God made them” immunizes them from criticism, “normalizes” their behavior, and serves to shield them from the horrible onus of sexual practices that spread AIDS and numerous other heinous diseases.

A widespread understanding that environmental factors such as early childhood experiences, parental relationships and cultural conditioning contribute to the development of homosexuality — or work to prevent its development — would cause a significant social revolution in America. Parents might feel at first threatened, then outraged by the flagrant promotion of homosexuality in the classroom, on television and in the movies. Some Americans would rethink their inclination to believe the Boy Scouts of America are a hate group because they do not want practicing homosexuals to serve as scoutmaster role models to young boys.

Liberated from the myth that homosexuality is “genetic and unchangeable,” there would be a immediate rejection of the homosexual agenda, which includes: the right to marry, the right to adopt and raise children, repeal of sodomy laws, hate-crime laws making crime against them more significant than crime against heterosexuals, affirmative-action status that gives them a legal weapon with which to intimidate others, the right to serve openly in the military and a lowered age for legal consent of sexual behavior.

So what is the truth? The truth is this: There is no “gay” gene. The scientific search for a biological basis for homosexuality has been a complete failure. Highly touted studies, including the study of the brains of 35 male cadavers by Simon LeVay (1991) and the heralded study of 40 pairs of homosexual brothers by Dean Hamer (1993), have not stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.

The widely respected Dr. Joel Gelernter of Yale University in an article in Science made this observation about various studies trying to link genes with complex human behavior: “All were announced with great fanfare; all were greeted unskeptically in the popular press; all are now in disrepute.”

Studies of identical twins are especially revealing. Identical twins, unlike fraternal twins, have precisely the same genetic make-up. If same-sex orientation were genetically determined, one could expect identical twins to always have the same sexual orientation. Dozens of studies prove they do not. Almost all scientists who have studied human development agree that environmental influences and life experiences play a significant role in essentially all complex human behaviors, including sexual mindsets.

The bottom line is this: No child is born to be a homosexual. Homosexuals are made, and they can be unmade. This is the truth that more psychiatrists and psychologists need to acknowledge. This is the truth that the American people need to know, parents of young children need to heed and politicians need to understand.

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