A practitioner of discredited and dangerous “gay conversion” therapy has allegedly been seeking anonymous gay sex online.
Norman Goldwasser, an Orthodox Jewish therapist based in Florida, had ties to controversial conversion therapy groups including National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which promotes dangerous gay conversion therapies, according to Pink News.
LGBTIQ activist group Truth Wins Out has outed Goldwasser as a user of gay hookup sites Manhunt and BearNation, where he had the profile name “Hotnhairy72″.
The Manhunt profile states that he is looking for “f–k buddies” and “married men” but with “hairy guys only,” and the activist group claims they approached him on one of the sites and Goldwasser offered to meet up for sex.
In a statement to NBC News, Goldwasser addressed his “personal behaviour” but did not address his advocacy of harmful conversion therapy.
“The fact that this story and others have been brought to the public is incredibly painful but will become a catalyst for me seeking the right help for myself,” he said.
“It is sad that despite the fact that I have been able to help many people over the years who have suffered from the effects of child sexual abuse and sexual addiction, I obviously was unable to help myself.
“There is no justification for my personal behavior and I deeply regret the pain I have caused people in my personal life.”
Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen said that they “do not engage in the outing of people participating in ex-gay programs unless there is overwhelming hypocrisy, exchange of commerce, and the threat of harm to LGBT youth.”
Goldwasser’s outing “passes all three tests” and he “can’t claim his personal life is none of our business when trying to ‘cure’ LGBT people is his business,” Besen said.
“Here is a case where a charlatan is committing consumer fraud by misleading clients and adversely affecting their mental health.
“We urge every state to ban the scourge of conversion therapy that attacks the mental health of LGBT youth and puts them in harms way.”
In 2015, Wasserman was dumped as keynote speaker of an event at a Jewish Community Education Forum in Melbourne after uproar over his involvement in gay conversion therapy.
“Gay conversion” therapy describes the discredited practice of trying to change sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual means.
The practices have been widely condemned as unethical and dangerous by numerous bodies around the world including the United Nations, the Australian Psychological Society, and peak psychology bodies in the US and the UK.
Conversion therapy is the subject of new film Boy Erased, directed by Australian filmmaker Joel Edgerton and based on a survivor’s real experiences.
According to a report released last month by La Trobe University and the Human Rights Law Centre, “gay conversion” therapy remains a “real problem” in Australia’s religious communities.
The report claims there are 10 organisations in Australia and New Zealand still publicly advertising “gay conversion” practices.