Can Gays Switch Sides?

An inflammatory report rekindles old arguments about whether homosexuality is a matter of choice

More than a generation ago, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer helped millions of Americans get instantly well. In 1973 Spitzer, a professor at Columbia University, led the charge to have homosexuality removed from diagnostic manuals as a mental disorder. In a stroke, a segment of the population once considered sexually deviant was declared mentally sound.

Last week Dr. Spitzer appeared to take a troubling step away from that clean bill of health. In a study presented at the convention of the American Psychiatric Association, he argued that some "highly motivated" homosexuals may be able to turn themselves into heterosexuals. The A.P.A. quickly distanced...

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