from Medical Issues
(Letter reprinted below. Also available as PDF.)
Dr. John Nelson
American Medical Association
515 N. State Street, Suite 15540
Chicago, IL 60610
September 30, 2004
Dear Dr. Nelson:
Thank you for your response to my letter of concern about some factual errors in your Complete Medical Encyclopedia.
Unfortunately, our concerns remain. You failed to address the specific examples of factual errors in your encyclopedia about homosexuality--specifically--
-- homosexuality's prevalence;
-- the ability of homosexuals to change;
-- the "born that way" myth
We ask you to consider the following:
The Inaccurate 10% Figure
You state that the number of practicing homosexuals is always stated as an estimate or opinion-- yet the 10% figure is clearly inaccurate by any survey that has been conducted in recent years. All major research studies conducted in the past few years show that homosexuals account for only 2- 3% of the population. 
The latest figures on how many homosexuals are in the population were released by the Canadian government in June, 2004. StatsCan's survey discovered that only 1.3 of men considered themselves homosexual and only 0.7 of women considered themselves homosexuals. The survey showed that out of a population of 31,752,842, only 316,800 self-reported as being gay. Even if this figure is underreported, most statistics from other nations show only 2-3% of the population claim to be gay or bisexual. 
One Canadian gay activist has openly criticized his fellow activists in the gay rights movement who continue to use the 10% figure as "fact." Gareth Kirkby, managing editor of the Vancouver gay paper Xtra West, wrote an editorial in the August 20, 1998 edition. In it, he noted: "Why is it that some of us continue to end and twist and otherwise play loose with (often out-dated) so-called facts? Why, for example, do we continue to insist that 10 percent of the overall population is gay or lesbian?" Kirkby goes on to cite other incorrect statistics that have been popularized by gay activists. 
As I stated in my previous letter, homosexual groups here in the U.S. are now admitting that the 10% figure is wrong and vastly overstated. They admitted so in their legal brief filed in the Lawrence vs. Texas case that legalized homosexual sex throughout the United States.
Here is a 2003 report from UCLA on the numbers of gays in the United States: In "Some Demographic Characteristics Of The Gay Community In The United States," the UCLA School of Law published statistics showing that only 2.1% of the population identify themselves as gay. These statistics come in part from The National Health and Social Life Survey (NHSLS). The NHSLS survey found that 2.8% of all males and 1.4% of all females identify as gay. 
Far from being a statistic that is "commonly agreed upon and reasonable," as you state, the 10% figure is simply wrong and dozens of surveys over the past 20 years confirm this fact.
I could go on, but you can look up these statistics for yourself. I hope you will make the needed changes to your encyclopedia to ensure that your readers are receiving factual information on prevalence rates.
The Spitzer Study
Robert Spitzer, M.D., one of the APA psychiatrists who originally worked to have homosexuality removed from the DSM in 1973, has discovered that individuals with same-sex attractions can change. His 16-month study of 247 individuals who had responded successfully to reorientation therapy was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, October, 2003, pages 403-417. 
Dr. Spitzer found that, contrary to most psychiatric opinion, individuals who have undergone reorientation therapy can experience positive changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation. Of those he studied, most indicated that they still struggled with homosexual attractions to some degree, but 11% of the males and 37% of the females indicated a complete change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation.
Such change is clearly very difficult to achieve--but this very recent study, published by a prominent researcher in a prestigious publication, indicates that change does occur.
Did those undergoing reparative therapy find it harmful--as some psychiatrists allege? Not so, according to Dr. Spitzer. He found: "To the contrary, they reported that it was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual orientation itself."
Dr. Spitzer-- who has long been (and still is) a strong ally of the gay community--is now convinced that change is possible and can be beneficial.
In his conclusion, Spitzer states that "the mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has, as a goal, a change in sexual orientation. Many patients, provided with informed consent about the possibility that they will be disappointed if the therapy does not succeed, can make a rational choice to work toward developing their heterosexual potential and minimizing their unwanted homosexual attractions."
Dr Spitzer believes that the ability of patients to make a free choice of therapy is fundamental to client autonomy and to self-determination.
Not An Inborn Predisposition
You did not address another factual error we pointed out to you. This is the statement that "...homosexuality appears to result from an inborn physiological predisposition, not from sexual abuse, poor parenting, or contact with homosexual people."
Researchers have openly admitted that they have been unable to find the "gay gene," although they have been searching for it for nearly 20 years.
Please see "The Innate-Immutable Argument Finds No Basis In Science," by Drs. A. Dean Byrd, Shirley E. Cox, and Jeffrey W. Robinson who quote several researchers --including researchers who are themselves homosexual--and have an obvious social-political stake in the outcome. 
Gay-activist researcher Dean Hamer, M.D., for example, says this: "There is not a single master gene that makes people gay ... I don't think we will ever be able to predict who will be gay." 
Gay-activist researcher Simon LeVay (author of the much-publicized "gay brain" research that made international headlines) has stated: "It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain." 
Many other researchers have reached the same conclusions. In fact, there is no recognized researcher in this field who claims that homosexuality in simply "inborn."
Gay Male Behavior Is Inherently Unsafe
Another serious matter of consideration: Gay male behavior is fraught with deadly health risks. To say that someone who has a same-sex attraction is fixed in his sexual identity and cannot change, is to relegate that person to a lifestyle that is much more highly associated with STDs, substance abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, and broken relationships.
The fact is, homosexual identity and behavior can indeed be modified, and in some cases, there is substantial development of heterosexual responsiveness. The AMA would not recommend that individuals addicted to alcohol continue drinking, or claim that alcoholics are "born with those desires" and should not be supported --when they request such help-- in modifying their unwanted behavior.
Hard facts about the unhealthiness of a gay male lifestyle is as follows: In 1997, the International Journal of Epidemiology published the results of mortality rates among gay and bisexual males in Canada. The report was conducted by the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, Canada.
The authors of this survey concluded: "In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban center are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871." 
One of the most recent surveys of the inherently unsafe sexual practices among homosexuals was published by John R. Diggs, M.D. Writing in "The Health Risks Of Gay Sex," Dr. Diggs notes that homosexual males contract syphilis at a rate that is three to four times as high as among heterosexuals. In addition, anal intercourse puts gay males at a high risk for anal cancer, and anal intercourse is also responsible for hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anorectal trauma, and retained foreign bodies. There is a extremely high rate of parasitic and other intestinal infections among male homosexuals who engage in oral to anal contact.
According to Dr. Diggs, a 1988 CDC survey of gay males found their sexual behavior responsible for 21% of all Hepatitis B cases. This is significant considering that gays only comprise about 2% of the population. 
A CDC report released in November, 2003, indicated that AIDS infection among gays is rising in 29 states. And, in 2004, Seattle public health officials indicated a rising level of anal cancer among gay males.
Public health officials are also concerned about the increasing practice of "barebacking," or "bug chasing" among homosexuals. Bug chasers are gay males who deliberately seek to become HIV infected. This was reported in the April, 2004 edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. 
You can learn more about barebacking and bug chasing from "Barebacking among gay and bisexual men in New York City: explanations for the emergence of intentional unsafe behavior," by Perry Halkitis, Jeffrey Parsons, and Leo Wilton in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, Issue 4, 2003. The authors conclude that this new practice could result in a second major HIV epidemic in the U.S. 
You stated in your letter to me that the AMA is concerned with providing clinical information and advice to your readers. I am sure you are also concerned about providing accurate advice and information. This is important not only to your constituents, but also to the American Public. In this case, it is clear that you have not elected to do so when we have brought the facts to your attention. We are hoping that the additional data that we have referenced will convince you to either make the necessary corrections or provide evidence to the contrary. Should our concerns not be satisfactorily addressed, our legal advisors as well as the physician members of NARTH have counseled us to provide notification to both federal agencies as well as state and local medical associations.
NARTH stands ready to work with you to provide your readers with factual, science-based information on homosexuality.
We also stand ready to meet and respond to any challenge to our recitation of the above facts.
My sincerest regards,
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
 William B. Rubenstein, "Some Demographic Characteristics of the Gay Community in the United States," The Williams Project, UCLA School of Law, 2003.
 "StatsCan Report Confirms Lower Than Claimed Incidence Of Homosexuality, At 1%," Life- Site News.net, June 15, 2004.
 "Editor Admits Lies About Homosexuality," REAL Women Of Canada web site.
 Dr. Robert Spitzer, "Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?" Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32; Issue 5, 2003.
 Drs. A. Dean Byrd, Shirley E. Cox, Jeffrey W. Robinson, "The Innate-Immutable Argument Finds No Basis In Science: In Their Own Words: Gay Activists Speak About Science, Morality, Philosophy," NARTH web site.
 David Simmons, "Sex and the Brain," Discover, March 1, 1994.
 R.S. Hogg, S.A. Streathdee, K.J. Craib, M.V. O'Shaughnessy, J.S. Montaner, and M.T. Schechter, "Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men," International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 26, 657-661, 1997.
 "The Health Risks Of Gay Sex," Dr. John Diggs, Jr., Corporate Resource Council publication, available on NARTH's web site.
 Francis Elliott, "'Gift' of potentially lethal sex is linked to rise in HIV cases," The Independent Sunday (London), April 18, 2004.
 Perry Halkitis, Jeffrey T. Parsons, Leo Wilton, "Barebacking among gay and bisexual men in New York City: Explanations For The Emergence Of Intentional Unsafe Behavior," Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32; Issue 4; 2003.
This letter has been endorsed by 39 professionals in the fields of medicine, psychology, psychiatry, social work, as well as lay leaders who are members of NARTH.