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On Monday, August 1, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition aired a report from Alix Spiegel entitled “Can Therapy Help Change Sexual Orientation?” Instead of accurately representing “ex-gay therapy” as ineffective, dangerous, and condemned by every mainstream professional medical and mental health organization, NPR opted to misrepresent the facts, falsely framing the story as a debate between two equally legitimate sides that “has been raging in psychological circles for more than a decade.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. A 2009 press release from the American Psychological Association announcing the results of an exhaustive study on the efficacy of “ex-gay” therapy says it all: “Insufficient evidence [exists] that sexual orientation change efforts work… Practitioners should avoid telling clients that they can change from gay to straight.” In a recent ABC News interview discussing “ex-gay” therapy, renowned author and psychiatrist Jack Drescher put the discredited practice in its proper perspective: “This is so far outside the mainstream it's practically on Mars.”

Truth Wins Out, GLAAD, and other organizations called on NPR to correct and apologize for parroting “ex-gay” propaganda. Instead, NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos released a tepid, long-winded blog post in which he demonstrated a much greater interest in defending his reporter than correcting her errors.

The Ombudsman’s response is disappointing and woefully inadequate. We expect better from a top-notch, well-respected news organization like National Public Radio. Join Truth Wins Out in calling on NPR to meet with TWO and survivors of “ex-gay” programs so they can be fully informed about the dangers of the “ex-gay” myth.

Letter to
Ombudsman, National Public Radio Edward Schumacher-Matos
Reporter, National Public Radio Alix Spiegel
Senior Editor, National Public Radio Anne Gudenkauf
and 1 other
Acting Vice President for News, National Public Radio Margaret Low Smith
I am writing today to express my disappointment at NPR’s dangerously inaccurate August 1 Morning Edition report about so-called “reparative therapy,” and to ask you to meet with Truth Wins Out and survivors of “ex-gay” programs.

Instead of accurately representing “ex-gay therapy” as ineffective, dangerous, and condemned by every mainstream professional medical and mental health organization, the NPR report falsely framed the story as a debate between two equally legitimate sides that “has been raging in psychological circles for more than a decade.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. A 2009 press release from the American Psychological Association announcing the results of an exhaustive study on the efficacy of “ex-gay” therapy says it all: “Insufficient evidence [exists] that sexual orientation change efforts work… Practitioners should avoid telling clients that they can change from gay to straight.” In a recent ABC News interview discussing “ex-gay” therapy, renowned author and psychiatrist Jack Drescher put the discredited practice in its proper perspective: “This is so far outside the mainstream it's practically on Mars.”

In this case, National Public Radio parroted “ex-gay” propaganda at the expense of the facts. We expect better from such an esteemed news organization.

Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos’ response to the uproar caused by this story was tepid, disappointing, and woefully inadequate. Instead of running for cover, I urge NPR representatives to meet with Truth Wins Out, the organization that fights against the “ex-gay” myth, and with survivors of “reparative therapy” programs in order to become more fully informed about the dangers of the “ex-gay” industry.

Sincerely,