(Part 2 of 2) These posts detail how my 4th year of college (2002) an incident of anti-gay vandalism prompted a civil debate on campus. Linda Nicolosi, wife of Joe Nicolosi intruded into the debate with an editorial in the school paper. I responded with my own letter which would be the first time I spoke out publicly about being an “ex-ex-gay.” In my letter I stated my former therapist, Joseph Nicolosi, asked me to participate in the Spitzer study and to lie when Robert Spitzer when asked how I’d heard of the study. Spitzer recently accused me of fabricating my claim Nicolosi asked me to lie. The purpose of these posts is to show my story of being asked to lie has remained the same my first public disclosure of having been an ex-gay. Part 1 can be found here.
In this week’s column, Wayne Besen mentions how my old ex-gay therapist Joe Nicolosi asked me to participate in the Spitzer study and lie if I was asked who referred me. This is by no means the first time I’ve said this since I’ve written about it before on XGW. It seems like Wayne’s column was the first time Robert Spitzer had ever heard of this. For some reason I’m sooooo hard to locate online so Spitzer chose to email Wayne, who shared the letter with me:
To: Wayne Besen
From: Robert Spitzer
This is all absurd. Mr. Gonzales is obviously lying. How do I know? Because Nicelosi had nothing to gain by asking a patient to participate in the study but deny that he had made the referal. In fact, Nicelosi was sorry that he was unable to refer more of his former patients.
Besen says that with this “revelation” I now have “an obligation to contact all of his [my] supposedly “independent” subjects and find out if they were coerced into participating in his study under false pretenses.” Note that “independent” is in quotes although I never used that word nor tried to hide the fact that most of my subjects were referred from either NARTH or Exodus.
I have welcomed critiques of my study but do not appreciate this effort to discredit it with totally false accusations.
Robert L. Spitzer, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
New York State Psychiatric Institute
I’ve stated consistently and publicly since 2002 that Nicolosi asked me to lie. Of course that first disclosure in 2002, long before I ever became politically involved at Ex-Gay Watch, has been locked away in the Cal Poly archives. As I outlined in part 1, Linda Nicolosi joined a campus debate by inserting her irrelevant agenda into my school paper. Up until that point I had never spoken out publicly about being an “ex-ex-gay” or my time in therapy with her husband. I was following the debate in the online edition of the school paper from Thailand that quarter where I penned my reply:
The final life raft of anti-gay argumentation has taken to the water on our campus, and for the benefit of society, it needs to be sunk. That would be the false idea that homosexuality can be changed. I’ll let Chairman of the NARTH Board, Benjamin Kaufman, put it in his own words: “Regardless of politics, homosexuality is what it is: a behavioral pattern associated with what, by any reasonable standard, must be regarded as an unacceptable prevalence of medical and emotional illness.”
Dr. Nicolosi wrote in a book on his “cure,” which he calls “reparative therapy,” and a copy of it sits in Kennedy Library. Still a Baptist my freshman year, I foolishly pursued this false cure for nearly a year with Dr. Nicolosi from his plush 13th (top) floor Encino clinic, which also just so happens to serve as NARTH’s headquarters.
Who opposes NARTH? Try the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, the American Psychiatric and Psychological associations have both issued statements specifically denouncing reparative therapy.
Mrs. Nicolosi asks students to look at the “scientific arguments,” which is interesting, since the medical director of the American Psychological Association says, “The APA maintains that there is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of reparative therapy as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation. The potential risks of reparative therapy are great and may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.” Interestingly, the one sole “study” NARTH clings to is the Spitzer study, which was based on patients self-reporting the effects of “treatment.” Many of the subjects were referred by organizations like NARTH and were still paying money to such organizations.
AS a matter of face, in one of my last sessions of therapy, Dr. Nicolosi asked me to volunteer for the Spitzer study, and he specifically asked me not to say he had referred me. At that point I was beginning to realize I didn’t need to be cured, and never took part in the survey myself.
Other “ex-gays” have not fared so well. Chairman of Exodus International (like NARTH, but more Bibles) is “ex-gay” John Paulk. He WAS the poster-boy of the “ex-gay” movement and was even on the cover of Newsweek, until in October 2000 he was caught in a Washington, D.C., gay bar. His wife professes to be an “ex-lesbian” and sadly they have two kids. But there are thousands more men across the country who are willing to pay whatever it takes to let themselves believe they’re not gay, and NARTH and Dr. Nicolosi are the products.
Daniel S. Gonzales is an architecture senior who is studying abroad in Thailand.
I’d like to thank Morgan at the Pride Alliance Center and my 5th-year designated-driver-for-drinking-and-dancing Alexa. Both ladies were invaluable in helping me retrieve old articles.