Gay Men and their Mothers Sue Clinic that Promises to Turn Homosexuals into Heterosexuals

| by Michael Allen

A group of gay men and their moms are suing the Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) in Jersey City, New Jersey for consumer fraud as the clinic claims to turn homosexuals straight.

On their website, JONAH claims that through "gender affirming processes" and "reparative therapy" that gays can be turned straight, reports the Daily Mail.

JONAH's co-director Arthur Goldberg and 'life coach' Alan Downing, who conducts therapy sessions (which costs up to $100 weekly) were also named in the lawsuit.

Goldberg told ABC News that he knew nothing about the lawsuit and said: "We have a lot of people who were a success and were healed. Hundreds of the clients we serve are satisfied ... Our therapy is very conventional."

According to the lawsuit, the therapy sessions sometimes involved patients and counselors undressing, 'cuddling' between young patients and older male counselors, and patients holding their penises in front of Downing.

Patients also role played students in a locker room, as other men ridiculed them as "faggots" and "homos."

The plaintiffs include Michael Ferguson, Benjamin Unger, Sheldon Bruck and Chaim Levin, who went to JONAH when they were in their teens or 20s.

Bruck's and Levin's mothers, Jo and Bella, are also named as plaintiffs. They said they gave up to $10,000 to the center for failed therapy sessions. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the men and their moms.

Ferguson told the Daily Mail: "Sadly, there is no accountability for those who practice conversion therapy. They play blindly with deep emotions and create an immense amount of self-doubt for the client. They seize on your personal vulnerability, and tell you that being gay is synonymous with being less of a man."

Unger said: "These counselors are skilled at manipulating you into believing just about anything. During my time with JONAH, they told me constantly that my mom had made me gay. I was so convinced that I refused to have any contact with her for several months, which caused a great deal of damage to our relationship."