An Orthodox Jew, Jayson Littman, writes about his attempt to convert to straight via JONAH, the Jewish pray-away-the-gay wagon. His account of various rabbis’ advice to him is depressing and revealing:
The first rabbi I spoke to at the age of 18 told me it was just a phase and during a call back at the age of 20, insisted I speak to other rabbis. An orthodox rabbi in Queens informed me all I needed was a sexual outlet for my feelings, that as soon as I found the right woman to marry, I would be cured. Still not convinced, I spoke to another rabbi in Brooklyn. After some deep thought he said, “everyone has skeletons in their closets, not just you.” He recommended I not disclose anything to the girls I was dating as it was forbidden to speak loshon hora [evil words] about myself. I tried telling him that it wasn’t actual skeletons that were in my closet, but it was indeed me that was in the closet. I decided to visit with one more rabbi in Staten Island. After an hour of examining all possible solutions of what one might do, and what other rabbis might suggest, he flatly answered, “I don’t know.”
Interestingly, Jayson’s years of “conversion therapy” helped him gain self-confidence and helped him feel more at ease with his inner life–so much so that he credits the experience with giving him the guts to proudly come out. He soon founded a gay Jewish event-promotion group as well, the felicitiously named He’Bro. May more such stories end so happily.
[h/t Box Turtle Bulletin]