“People who are told repeatedly that they are innately defective are being abused and traumatized. The cost of conversion therapy to gay men and lesbians may be nothing less than emotional devastation. They may spend years recovering from the trauma inflicted upon them.” -Laura Booker, LCSW
Booker was quoted in a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) article announcing that the SPLC has filed a lawsuit charging Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) of violating New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act for providing “conversion therapy” to lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients.
The SPLC’s complaint, which can be found here (PDF), details the bases of conversion therapy and methods purported to prevent and cure homosexuality including having boys shower with their fathers, having boys beat a pillow “meant to represent the patient’s mother,” having clients removing their clothing during individual and group therapy sessions, cuddling others of the same sex, and being “subjected to ridicule as ‘faggots’ and ‘homos’ in mock locker room and gym class scenarios.”
One of the plaintiffs, a former client, alleges that he suffered depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other emotional harm both as a result of the therapy itself and when he was subsequently unable to change his sexual orientation after using these services.
In addition to restitution to the plaintiffs, SPLC is requesting the revocation of JONAH’s business license.
I’m posting this here because, as we discuss what it means to be “anti-gay” and to believe (and spread the word) that homosexuality is immoral, defective, and/or disordered, I urge folks to contemplate the quote at the beginning of this piece.