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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dr. Spitzer has apologised


So, Dr. Spitzer, author of a horrendous “study” that says gay people can change and one of the most quoted and well used in the ex-gay movement has apologised. He retracts his study that says gay people can change and further says that his claims were unproven.

A lot of people have, rightly, hailed this as a major victory and been extremely happy that one of the weapons of the virulently homophobic ex-gay movement has been removed. And I share that… to a degree

Let us look briefly (and only briefly because it makes me want to vomit and cry) at “ex-gay” therapy.

Even in its most “benign” form it involves encouraging GBLT people to think of themselves as wrong, as diseased, as sick, as in need of fixing. It adds to the toxic low self-esteem and low self-love levels that plague our community and lead to not only our obscenely high suicide rates, but also our high rates of depression, self-harm, alcoholism and drug use. (Which, of course, the haters then point at as reasons why being GBLT is wrong).

Even at it’s most “benign”, it demands GBLT people lie to themselves, repress themselves and live lives either alone no matter what they want, desire or love – or that they create fake lives, imitating hetersoexuals for the happy gaze of straight people – while their own soul curdles and they’re pushed into never knowing the touch of someone they’re actually attracted to – or being forced to seek dangerous, illicit liaisons (why, hello there high STD rate – I wonder how this arises?)

And that’s the “benign” forms. We also have the much more harmful methods – the electroshock treatments or, as was/is popular in Britain, the use of emetics. See, you show a gay man images of naked men then give them an emetic that makes them vomit and shit themselves. Leave them in their own filth, then repeat the procedure. Add in the very standard physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse that go with a lot of ex-gay therapy and you

So, Dr. Spitzer says he owes us an apology.

He also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy

Dr. Spitzer, people didn’t just waste time and energy. People lost their lives. People suffered. People’s lives were ruined. People died, Dr. Spitzer.

You owe us an apology? Yes. But you owe us lives, Dr. Spitzer. Lives lost, lives ruins, lives tormented.

I want to hail this, I want to praise him for apologising, for changing, I want to celebrate this. But I’m too angry for that – I can’t forgive this damage because he has decided to apologise – removing the weapon for the future (though the ex-gay movement will continue to use it, we all know that) doesn’t change the damage it has already inflicted. He apologises… but I can’t forgive.