"Conversion Therapy" Lawsuit Explains What It's Really Like

Photo: Richard Drew/AP Photo.
A jury in New Jersey will soon decide whether a company defrauded clients who went through its "conversion therapy," the controversial and widely discredited practice that supporters allege can change a person's sexual orientation. Conversion therapy is already illegal in the state, as well as in California and Washington, D.C., and details from the plaintiffs' complaint show just how misleading the "therapy" label can be.

Does sitting through a session in which someone hurls gay slurs like "fag," "homo," and "queer boy" sound like an effective form of therapy? What about stripping naked during group sessions, or snapping a rubber band at the thought of physical attraction to a member of the same sex? According to the Guardian, the complaint against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (or JONAH, the organization that conducted the therapy) included all of those allegations.

But, those were not the strangest of the alleged "treatments." The four men suing Jonah also alleged in the complaint that they were ordered to beat an effigy of their mothers with a tennis racket. It's unclear what therapeutic function this could serve.

With help from the Southen Poverty Law Center, the four men are suing the company under New Jersey's consumer protection act; they argue that because conversion therapy is unsuccessful, the company's claims that it can "cure" homosexuality were fraudulent.

The National Center For Lesbian Rights has collected personal stories about conversion therapy programs. No major medical or mental health organization supports conversion therapy, and the White House called for an end to the practice in April.

More from Politics

1. Here At Home: A teenager killed his father before opening fire at a school in South Carolina where he wounded two students and a teacher. ...
California passed a law Wednesday removing the state's 10-year statute of limitations for filing of child molestation and rape charges. Governor Jerry ...
Monday night was the personification of media bias and rigged politics
If the chaotic party politics of the 2016 election have left you feeling completely birdbrained, this video is for you. The Founding Fathers (presented ...
Election Day lasts just one day — a 24-hour culmination of the seemingly never-ending campaign season. But we’ll spend the next two, four, six years ...
If you had to describe the current political climate in America, what word would you choose: volatile, toxic, or divisive? Perhaps all of the above. ...
Hillary Clinton has been a role model for our generation for years, and now she’s laying out a master class in taking on workplace sexism
1. Major News: A bill to prevent the government from shutting down and to fund the fight against Zika was stalled in the Senate. With a 45-55 vote, the...
We're clearly entering a golden age of socially conscious athletes. As the United States undergoes one of its most important eras of social upheaval since ...
Next week, a bill that bars Louisiana strip clubs from hiring dancers under the age of 21 goes into effect, and while it's been in discussion for some ...
But take heart. There won’t be a President Trump. Not if I and millions of other women in this country have anything to say about it
A young girl delivered a powerful message of peace speaking at the first Charlotte City Council meeting since violence threatened to rip the city apart ...
Hillary Clinton long ago learned to let the insults roll off her back. And in doing so, she’s uncovered Trump's Achilles' heel
Donald Trump believes that climate change is a hoax. Sorry, Donald Trump does not believe that climate change is a hoax. Are you confused yet? I don't ...