The 1979 book Homosexuality in Perspective, often-cited by right-wing religious groups and the Catholic Church, has no evidence to back-up its findings; it has been claimed by a new book.

William Masters and Virginia Johnson conducted a fourteen year study in the 70’s which would show that it was possible to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals. Their results were published in the book, which they promoted on various television programmes.

However, a new biography of the sexologists, Masters of Sex, by Thomas Maier claims that when the Masters and Johnson clinic’s top associate, Robert Kolodny, asked to see the files and hear the tape recordings of these so-called “success cases”, Masters refused to show him. Kolodny began to suspect that they were fabricated.

When Kolodny approached Johnson, she apparently also expressed her suspicions, but she continued to publicly support her husband. The prospect of being exposed as a fraud greatly upset Johnson, a self-educated therapist who didn’t have a college degree.

Until he died in 2001 Masters felt confident the book would be eventually embraced by the medical community, not just by purveyors of religious or political agendas.

But despite Masters’ claims that his conclusions were valid, Maier says that the evidence behind the study has never been produced and that “gay conversion” therapy has never been proven to work.

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