Jewish Press Publishes Op-Ed About Ex-Gay Abuses

Jim Burroway

January 26th, 2012

The Jewish Press, a conservative newspaper which has published advertisements for the Jewish ex-gay group JONAH, this morning published an op-ed by Chaim Levin detailing the abuses he experienced while participating in ex-gay therapy. Levin wrote in response to another op-ed by Elliot Resnick published six months ago in The Jewish Press, “Orthodox Homosexuals and the Pursuit of Self Indulgence,” in which, without mentioning Levin’s name, Resnick responded to Levin’s “It Gets Better” video by saying that he should learn to suffer in silence. In this responding op-ed, Levin describes what Resnick believes he should remain silent over:

The worst part of my experience in reparative therapy came at the end. In a locked office, alone with my unlicensed “life coach,” I was told to undress, stand in front of the counselor and do things too graphic to describe in this article. I was extremely uncomfortable, but he said that I must do this for the sake of changing and that if I didn’t remove my clothing I wouldn’t be doing the work it takes to achieve change. I would do anything to change, and so I did what he asked me to do. It was probably the most traumatizing experience of my life.

I tried to tell people what happened, but the organization said it wasn’t true and refused to fire the life coach. But I have spoken to other men whom underwent the same experience. And I can only imagine how many other young men who this has happened to who have not yet come forward. One of the most frustrating aspects was that because this coach is not licensed by any professional board, he is unaccountable to any licensing committee. Since I was over eighteen and agreed to this kind of therapy, I am told that I have no legal recourse. But I do have my voice! Yet, even after coming forward with what happened, nothing has changed. I often hear that this therapy has helped people, that it is wonderful, but I wonder, how helpful can an organization be when it causes great suffering and pain to many who come to them for hope.

Two weeks ago, JONAH founder Arthur Goldberg admitted and defended the practice of asking clients to undress, but denied that anyone was asked to touch their genitals.

Levin lays out the evidence for homophobia in the Orthodox community, citing the recent Torah Declaration case for “perpetuat(ing) the notion that all homosexuals in the Orthodox community must change in reparative therapy. …Unlike these other statements, it does not allow those for whom this kind of therapy is harmful or not working to seek other options. It kills me that this Torah Declaration will be used by parents to force their children into therapies that may be harmful to them.” He also mentions a grass roots Orthodox support community, JQYouth, who he says “saved my life.”

Jim Hlavac

January 26th, 2012

Every time I read about the Orthodox Jewish community and gays I can’t help thinking back to the day, decades ago, when the movie “Making Love” came out, and in a theater in Manhattan six young Hasidic Orthodox Jews (oh, 20-somethings) came in and sat as three clear couples, and watched it in raptured silence through to the end, while many other non-Hasidic, maybe not even Jewish, in the audience got up and booed and spewed out invective (what those people thought they were going to get, I can’t imagine,) as they walked out. But those six, the near tears in their eyes when the lights came on, and they were leaving the theater. Yes, an image that will stay with me forever.

Regan DuCasse

January 26th, 2012

OMG…

Sometimes I really don’t know what to say to the depths of lies, deception, abuse and manipulation that’s exacted on vulnerable gay youth under the banner of heaven.
One of the most disturbing things is how the ex gay industry STILL insists on a template of ’causes’ of homosexuality that included abuse of some kind.
Yet won’t own that bigotry and suspicion and the burden of forcing gay people to change is abuse.

Using FEAR, ignorance and vulnerability TO that industry’s purpose is exactly why and how it can be defined as evil.
To say nothing of being secretive to outside observers and advocates.

Truly compassionate and EFFECTIVE counsel doesn’t need such tactics. Let alone denies the bad results they get.
A wrongful diagnosis, won’t get rightful results.

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