Another Former Leader Of ‘Ex-Gay’ Movement Comes Out, Apologizes For Harm Caused

Yet another former leader of the so-called ‘ex-gay movement’ has come out as gay, and issued a public apology for his part in advocating for the harmful practice of ‘conversion therapy.’

In a post on his Facebook page, McKrae Game apologized for his part in founding Hope for Wholeness, which promised to aid those who “struggle with homosexuality find the freedom to live in sexual and relational wholeness.”

From OUT:

Game, who ran the organization for two decades, said its stance that LGBTQ+ people can be cured of their identities is “wrong.”

“I know that creating the organization … was in a large way causing harm,” he wrote. “Creating a catchy slogan that put out a very misleading idea of ‘Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ’ was definitely harmful.”

Game also asked for forgiveness for telling LGBTQ+ that their feelings are “wrong, bad, sinful, [and] evil.”

“It’s all in my past, but way too many continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc.,” he wrote. “Learn to love yourself and others.”

All of the nation’s major mental health and medical associations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have denounced conversion therapy as not only ineffective but dangerous. The harmful practice has been linked to anxiety, depressions and suicide.

To date, 18 states have banned the practice on LGBTQ youth.

According to the Williams Institute, nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. are survivors of the treatment.

Game, married to a woman before coming out as gay earlier this year, is just the latest in a long line of former conversion therapy advocates who have reversed their position on ‘ex-gay’ therapy.

Nine ex-gay leaders who left the movement have called for the treatment to be banned.

Game recently sat down with the Post & Courier regarding his newfound revelations:

Maine Becomes 17th State To Ban ‘Ex-Gay Therapy’

Maine has become the 17th state to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors.

Maine has become the 17th state to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors.

The legislation prohibits state-licensed counselors, psychologists, social workers, health professionals, guidance counselors and pastoral therapists from engaging in the harmful practice of trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Lawmakers in Maine passed a similar bill last year, but the legislation was vetoed by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage. His veto made him the only governor in the U.S. to veto a ban on conversion therapy.

Today, however, Gov. Janet Mills enthusiastically signed the bill into law saying in a statement, “Conversion therapy is a harmful, widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine.”

“By signing this bill into law today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people in Maine and across the country: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are,” she added.

Conversion therapy has been widely denounced by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.

Studies have shown that the harmful practice can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, is invested in ending conversion therapy in every state.

Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, applauded Maine’s efforts to help LGBTQ youth.

“After the disappointment of last year’s veto, they came back stronger and passed legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy,” said Brinton in a statement. “We will continue to push each and every day to insure that every state in the country follows Maine’s example and ends this cruel practice once and for all.”

Conversion Therapy Bill Dies In Utah Legislature

Utah lawmakers have gutted legislation that would have banned so-called 'conversion therapy' in the state.

UPDATE – The bill that would have banned ‘conversion therapy’ in Utah has stalled and died for this legislative session.

Republicans had tried to insert an amendment that would allow professional therapists to ‘talk’ about changing a teen’s sexuality, but not promising to ‘reverse’ it.

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Utah lawmakers have gutted legislation that would have banned so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in the state.

With recent changes, the new bill allows therapists to continue using the same techniques, just not with a promise of a certain outcome.

The new version also doesn’t ban therapy intended to change transgender youth.

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, left the morning hearing fuming about the committee’s decision. The majority of the committee, he said, sided with “quack therapists” and “snake oil salesmen” by approving a version of the bill that would be easily sidestepped by practitioners of conversion therapy.

The substitute bill by Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, focuses on prohibiting practices that cause pain or physical distress to a minor patient. It also would ban claims that a therapy could fully and permanently reverse a child’s sexual orientation and assertions that such a change is necessary.

All of the nation’s leading mental health and medical associations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have rejected conversion therapy as dangerous and ineffective, and 15 states have banned certain counselors from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors. The practice has been linked to suicide and depression, and supporters of Hall’s legislation have framed it as a potentially life-saving legal change.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Craig Hall, told the committee, “This bill, substitute 4, just to make it clear, will not prevent conversion therapy.”

Federal courts have upheld bans on ‘conversion therapy,’ and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused, thus far, to hear appeals on the subject.

Georgia Assembly Considers Banning ‘Conversion Therapy’ For LGBTQ Youth

Georgia

The Georgia Assembly has filed landmark legislation, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (HB 580), to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, which falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation to protect LGBTQ from so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy.

“All children in Georgia should receive care that first, does no harm. Conversion therapy has no scientific basis and contradicts the medical community’s understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said bill sponsor, Rep. Matthew Wilson. “I am proud to sponsor this bill that helps ensure the safety of Georgia’s LGBTQ youth by outlawing this incredibly dangerous practice.”

Organizations like The Trevor Project are actively lobbying in every state to put an end to conversion therapy. Their 50 Bills 50 States campaign is the largest in the world working to protect LGBTQ youth from the discredited practice which can amplify stigma and shame.

A study at San Francisco State University showed LGBTQ youth who were rejected by their families due to their identities were 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide when compared to youth from accepting and affirming families and caregivers.

Conversion therapy is widely denounced by prominent professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

(via press release)

NY Governor Signs Laws Banning Trans Discrimination & ‘Ex-Gay Therapy’ For Minors

Thanks to new Democratic control of the New York state Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was finally able to sign two important LGBT bills into law today.  With an American flag, a New York state flag, a rainbow flag and a transgender flag displayed prominently, the governor signed his name at a ceremony held at the New York City LGBT Community Center.
(image via Depositphotos)

Thanks to new Democratic control of the New York state Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was finally able to sign two important LGBT bills into law today.

With an American flag, a New York state flag, a rainbow flag and a transgender flag displayed prominently, the governor signed his name at a ceremony held at the New York City LGBT Community Center.

One, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, adds gender identity to the New York Human Rights Law to which bans discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces and education.

GENDA took a 16 year journey to receiving a New York state governor’s signature. While it was passed 11 times in the state Assembly, the Republican-controlled Senate kept the important legislation out of reach.

New York is now the 20th state in the country with statewide protections banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at signing ceremony at NYC LGBT Community Center

The second piece of legislation bans the use of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on LGBTQ youth.

Major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all denounced ‘conversion therapy’ which treats being gay as a mental illness.

Also known as ‘ex-gay therapy,’ the practice has been shown to lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, anxiety and, in some cases, suicidal behavior.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued a statement which read:

“Today, with Governor Cuomo’s signature, New York has made bold, historic progress by making GENDA the law of the land and banning the abusive and life-threatening practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on LGBTQ youth.

“These laws will literally save lives, and their passage would not have been possible without the tireless work of advocates and allies across New York over the last decade. We also owe today’s celebration in large part to Senator Hoylman and Assemblymembers Gottfried and Glick for their strong leadership on this legislation, and to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, who made them a top priority this session.”

New York is now the 15th state to prohibit the harmful practice on LGBTQ youth.

Other states that have enacted similar laws are Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire, as well as the District of Columbia.

It’s a great day to celebrate in New York state.

Check out video from the event today in New York City below.

Notorious ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapist Announces He’s Gay And Actively Seeking To Date Men

Notorious 'ex-gay' therapist David Matheson announced he is now living an openly gay life and is seeking to date men.
David Matheson (image via Facebook)

My grandmother used to say all the time, “Ye who protesteth the loudest, do it the mostesth!”

That echoes in my mind as I report that a prominent therapist in the so-called conversion therapy industry has announced he has left the ‘ex-gay’ movement and is actively looking to date men.

Truth Wins Out, a nonprofit think tank and advocacy group that fights against anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination, obtained screen captures of a private Facebook group that shared the news David Matheson, who penned the controversial ‘ex-gay’ book, Becoming a Whole Man, is now living his life as an openly gay man.

During his career as a therapist, Matheson has authored several ‘ex-gay therapy’ programs including the notorious Journey Into Manhood program.

Rich Wyler, Journey Into Manhood’s director, broke the news in the Facebook group writing, “David…says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible’ for him, so he’s seeking a male partner.”

Wyler added, “He has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay.”

TWO reached out to Matheson and received a statement which was appallingly absent any regret for his actions in the past. He also reveals he plans to remain in the Mormon Church.

“My time in a straight marriage and in the ‘ex-gay’ world was genuine and sincere and a rich blessing to me,” Matheson said in text messages to TWO. “I remember most of it with fondness and gratitude for the joy and growth it caused in me and many others. But I had stopped growing and was starting to die. So I’ve embarked on a new life-giving path that has already started a whole new growth process.

“I wasn’t faking it all those years,” he added. “I’m not renouncing my past work or my LDS faith. And I’m not condemning mixed-orientation marriages.”

“I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity,” he wrote in closing. “With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”

At least one former client of Journey Into Manhood rejected the announcement.

“While I am pleased for Mr Matheson that he has found a path forward for his life, I can’t help but think of the hundreds if not thousands of people who are still stuck in the closet, a closet that was created in part by Mr Matheson himself,” said Chaim Levin, who was psychologically harmed by the program Matheson helped design for Journey Into Manhood. “I hope that Mr. Matheson will do whatever he can to rectify the harm that he’s inflicted on many people in the LGBTQ community, myself included.”

A 2007 New York Times article revealed Matheson had earned a master’s in counseling and guidance from Brigham Young University. He began full-time practice in New Jersey in 2004, where he charged clients $240 per 90-minute session.

Matheson helped develop the ‘program’ for Journey into Manhood, which took gay men go into the forest where they were encouraged to engage in “manly” activities in an effort to change their sexual orientation.

“For some people ‘gay’ is never going to work,” he told ABC’s Nightline in 2010 while discussing Journey Into Manhood. “That kind of life, and that kind of living, is never going to gel — ever — with their value system.”

“For those men, that’s why we exist, so that they can have another way, another approach of dealing with their sexual feelings,” Matheson added.

Since the publication of TWO’s report, Matheson has posted a coming-out essay on his Facebook page, which reads in part:

I know my work helped many, many people because they’ve told me so. But I’m sure I’ve hurt some people too.

Not that I would excuse myself, but any shortcomings I had as a therapist came from too narrow a view of what “emotionally healthy” can look like. They came from my own homophobia and narrow mindedness. I am truly sorry for those flaws and the harm they have surely caused some people. And I’m sorry for the confusion and pain my choice may be causing others.

Even today, as a newly-out gay man, I still find too much homophobia in myself.

(h/t Truth Wins Out)

“Ex-Gay” App Dropped From Apple’s Online Store After Petition Protest

So-called ‘ex-gay therapy’ can lead to anxiety, depression & suicide
(stock photo via Depositphotos)

An app promoting so-called “conversion therapy” has been removed from Apple’s App Store one day after LGBTQ advocacy group Truth Wins Out (TWO) launched a campaign in protest.

Non-profit Christian organization Living Hope Ministries had developed and promoted the free app for over three years, according to The Dallas Morning News.

But once the folks at TWO, which fights the ‘ex-gay’ myth, discovered the app, it was time for action.

A Change.org petition was launched asking Apple to remove the app from its store citing the many organizations (American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association to name a few) that oppose the practice as multiple studies show it can lead to anxiety, depression, and self-destructive behavior, including suicide.

In their petition, TWO asked, “Why would Apple allow its online store to be used as a platform to promote such dangerous, homophobic garbage?”

The app was dropped from Apple’s App Store the next day.

Apparently, the deletion occurred without notifying Living Hope Ministries.

Executive Director Ricky Chelette told The Dallas Morning News they plan to appeal the decision, adding, “I don’t know why they would have taken it down.”

On their website, Living Hope Ministries says its mission is “to proclaim God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”

In a statement, Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen thanked Apple for “exemplifying corporate responsibility and taking swift action to remove a dangerous app that stigmatizes and demeans LGBT people.”

“Ex-gay programs are consumer fraud and cause significant harm to the people they purport to help,” he added.

The app is still available, though, on other digital platforms like Google and Amazon, and Besen is addressing those tech giants as well.

“Every minute this heinous product is available on these platforms, the potential exists for it to harm LGBT youth,” says Besen. “We demand that Google and Amazon immediately stop selling and promoting this app, which dehumanizes LGBT people.”

While Texas allows the harmful practice, conversion therapy has been banned for use on young people in 14 states as well as the District of Columbia.

Hypocrisy: Conversion Therapist By Day, ‘Hotnhairy72’ On Manhunt At Night

Conversion therapy practitioner discovered looking for sex on gay dating apps
(Image via Truth Wins Out)

A notorious “ex-gay” therapist who takes money from unsuspecting patients promising to ‘cure’ them of being gay while secretly trolling for sex with men on dating apps has been outed.

From Truth Wins Out:

Norman Goldwasser, by day, is an Orthodox Jewish therapist at Horizon Psychological Services who compares homosexuality to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and misleads clients by claiming that their sexual orientation can be changed with his special brand of quack therapy, which is rejected by every respected medical and mental health association.

By night, an undercover investigation by Truth Wins Out has found, he solicits sexual partners on Manhunt, a gay dating App, using the profile “Hotnhairy72.”

During our operation, Goldwasser, going by the pseudonym “Dave”, offered to meet for sex with our operative, “Brandon,” at a Fort Lauderdale motel room. Goldwasser also had a profile on Bear Nation by the same name.

Clearly, the hypocrisy is stunning.

Studies have shown that so-called “ex-gay therapy” can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

Also known as “reparative” or “conversion therapy,” the practice has been debunked and denounced by nearly every major medical organization including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Currently 15 states – Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Delaware – plus the District of Columbia – all have laws or regulations protecting youth from the harmful practice.

Additionally, local municipalities including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin have also passed similar legislation.

In reporting the story for Truth Wins Out, Executive Director Wayne Besen writes that Goldwasser’s “double life of unconscionable lies highlights the rank hypocrisy and predatory nature of the fraudulent ‘ex-gay’ industry.”

Besen, the author of Anything Bust Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, says his organization doesn’t condone outing others unless “there is overwhelming hypocrisy, exchange of commerce, and the threat of harm to LGBT youth.”

Clearly, the Goldwasser situation ticks all three boxes.

Goldwasser has long ties to the “conversion therapy” community going back to Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), an “ex-gay therapy” organization which was ordered dissolved by a New Jersey Superior Court in 2015 for violating consumer fraud laws.

Besen told JoeMyGod that he had been communicating with Goldwasser in advance of the Truth Wins Out article, and Goldwasser apparently begged Besen to consider his children and grandchildren in regard to exposing him.

Besen shared a text message from Goldwasser which read, in part, “If you want to prove a point, then please do so without destroying my ability to support my family.”

“I reminded Goldwasser that he was asking for sympathy he never afforded his victims, some teenagers, as he coldly collected their money and ruined their lives,” Besen told JoeMyGod.

“I also told him that only caring about his own predicament without apologizing for the harm he caused other people was narcissistic — something he could, unlike homosexuality — fix by visiting a real therapist.”

This scandal comes to light as the new film Boy Erased opens in theaters this week.

The movie, starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe, focuses on the true-life experience of Gerrard Connelly whose parents sent him to “ex-gay camp” when they discovered his sexuality when he was a teen.

NH Lawmaker Defends His Support For ‘Ex-Gay’ Torture

 New Hampshire state lawmaker and Republican candidate for Congress, Steve Negron, defended his decision to vote for allowing gay kids to be tortured through so-called "conversion therapy" during an interview with local station WMUR last month.
New Hampshire lawmaker Steve Negron

 New Hampshire state lawmaker and Republican candidate for Congress, Steve Negron, defended his decision to vote for allowing gay kids to be tortured through so-called “conversion therapy” during an interview with local station WMUR last month.

Via Talking Points Memo:

“I did not vote for that. I believe that’s something that, when you look at these young children that are trying to make a decision, and I remember when I was 15-16 I was confused, I had a lot of options in my life,” he said during a late August Facebook Live interview with WMUR, the state’s largest TV station.

“I think we need to be able to help them understand what it is, give them the right information, and let them get the treatment that they need to understand what the situation is,” Negron continued. “And I think the parents have a huge role in that as well.”

As I’ve reported over and over here on The Randy Report, major medical groups – including the American Psychological Association – have condemned the practice as extremely harmful saying it can lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, hurt self-esteem and lead to substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors.

Delaware Becomes 15th State To Ban Harmful “Ex-Gay” Therapy

Delaware has become the 15th state to ban the harmful practice of so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy.

On Monday, Governor John Carney signed the bill that bans attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors. The legislation considers conversion therapy “unprofessional conduct” for mental health and medical professionals. Any mental health professional caught practicing the ‘theraphy’ on a minor will find themselves subject to discipline.

The new law also contains language preventing the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families from recommending “conversion therapy.”

During the legislation’s journey to becoming law, state Rep. Richard Collins (R-Millsboro) introduced an amendment that would have allowed conversion therapy if a patient were to request it. The amendment, fortunately, gained no traction and was soundly voted down.

HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, a Delawarean herself, issued a statement which read, in part, “Today’s signing is a critical step forward in the fight to ensure that Delaware is a safe and affirming state for all LGBTQ youth, and we hope that the values and progress reflected in this law guide the ongoing conversation in Delaware about protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination.”

The practice has been condemned by the American Medical Association, the American Pediatrics Association, the American Psychiatric Association and many others due to its disastrous effects which can lead to depression and, in some cases, suicide.

Delaware joins Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire – plus Washington, D.C. in enacting legislation to ban the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy.

Additionally, over 30 cities and municipalities have banned the practice from being performed on minors.

See below a map from the Williams Institute showing where bans have been enacted as well as states with pending legislation.