Science Journal Retracts Paper About Gay Conversion Therapy

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Even though there is no scientific evidence that so called gay conversion therapy works, last august a science journal published a paper that said exactly that. The press release was issued by the Christian Right group Liberty Counsel stating that a new research shows that conversion therapy is effective. In this study more than two-thirds of those who participated in group therapy or received professional help had significant heterosexual shifts in sexual attraction, sexual identity and behavior and many other positive effects were also recorded. “This recent study by Santero, Whitehead and Ballesteros again confirms that people struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors or identity benefit significantly from professional counseling,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, as Patheos reports.

If you put it this way the research really shows that gay conversion therapy works but there are many flaws related to this paper. For example, only one of the three researchers who did the study was an actual therapist, Dr. Paul L. Santero. But Dr. Santero works at the Thomas Aquinas Clinic in California which is a clinic founded by Joseph Nicolosi, the man who invented the gay conversion therapy.

Nicolosi was even personally thanked in the paper and cited as the “main contact for all of the therapists/counselors who advertised the survey to individuals who had gone through therapy for their unwanted same sex attraction.” as Patheos reports. This means that people who took part in a survey were not a random sample but the people who didn't want to be gay and they were intentionally picked by people who had interest to show that conversion therapy works.

Gay conversion therapy is not only useless but it could also be dangerous. It relies on belief that same-sex attraction is abnormal and it needs treatment or therapy as if it’s an illness. According to The Human Right Campaign, World Psychiatric Association says that "there is no sound scientific evidence that innate sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality can create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish, and they can be potentially harmful. The provision of any intervention purporting to “treat” something that is not a disorder is wholly unethical."

It's no wonder that the journal retracted the paper because the evidence supporting the paper lacked a key statistical analysis. As Patheos reports, the journal recently published a notice basically saying they made a huge mistake in publishing the paper.

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