In my favorite scene from the movie “Bruno,” Bruno (a gay fashion reporter and wannabe superstar from Austria) sat down with a Christian “gay converter” to learn how he could turn himself heterosexual. He was advised to go hunting with three straight Southern dudes, who ended up chasing him down with a gun after he showed up naked, pack of condoms in hand, to one of their tents because a “bear had eaten everything.” He then attended a swingers party to familiarize himself with hetero sex. While there, he happily demonstrated several sex positions with another man but dived out of a window trying to escape a kinky woman. When he realized that his treatment wasn’t working, he sought another “ex-gay” counselor who basically told him he may never actually like women because they are “too weak and nag too much,” but he should at least “give women a chance.” Bruno tried desperately, but after many failed attempts, he just accepted that he liked dudes and there was nothing he could do about it.
Bruno, don’t take your failure personally.
In 2001, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer conducted a study that suggested gay men and women could be turned straight through psychotherapy. According to the study, 200 homosexuals were given treatment and 78 percent of males and 95 percent of females reported forever changed in their sexual desires. These stats bolstered dangerous opinions that gayness was something that could (and, in some minds, should) be cured.
This week, Dr. Spitzer officially retracted that study. He told the American Prospect that the study, which has been used by “ex-gay” programs like the ones Bruno attended in the movie, were taken out of context. He even called such “ex-gay” programs “harmful.” Now 79 years old and suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Dr. Spitzer asked for the retraction to be printed so he “wouldn’t have to worry about it.” Seems like someone had a guilty conscience.