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Professor Says Antigay Activist Misused Her Research

Professor Says Antigay Activist Misused Her Research

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Yet another scholar has complained about religious right activists distorting her research to back up their antigay stances, bringing the count to at least a dozen.

Theodora Sirota, an associate professor of nursing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, says an adviser to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality -- which claims homosexuality is a disorder that can be "cured" -- has mischaracterized her findings in a parenting study, using them to oppose adoption by gay people, Box Turtle Bulletin reports.

Rick Fitzgibbons (pictured), a psychiatrist and member of NARTH's scientific advisory committee, wrote an article published online in November citing Sirota's research, saying women with gay or bisexual fathers experienced more difficulties in adult relationships than did women with heterosexual fathers. Fitzgibbons used the research to support his claim that "children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father."

Fitzgibbons, however, left out some key information about Sirota's findings: "The gay and bisexual fathers in Sirota's study were married to the mothers," Box Turtle Bulletin reports.

Sirota contacted the blog this week for help in rebutting Fitzgibbons's assertions, and she has contacted Fitzgibbons as well, but he has not altered the article. In a statement about his misrepresentation of her research, she writes:

"My study was only about women raised in the context of heterosexually-organized marriages where fathers were identified as gay or bisexual. My research was not about and did not measure anything in women raised by gay parent couples or by single gay fathers. The women I studied were not raised in the context of gay or lesbian partnerships or by single gay fathers actively rearing their children. Therefore, no conclusions about gay or lesbian fitness to adopt children or quality of active gay parenting can be drawn from the findings of my research. No conclusions about the well-being of children who are or were actively raised by gay or lesbian parents can be drawn from the findings of my research."

According to Pam's House Blend, at least a dozen individuals or groups involved in scholarly research have complained in recent years about antigay organizations misusing their data. Read more here.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.