CONVERSION THERAPY CAN KILL: RELIGIOUS LGBT COMMUNITY MEMBERS SPEAK OUT

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07/19/2019

A 20-year-old religious Zionist yeshiva student from Jerusalem, who asked to remain anonymous, said he wanted to cry when he heard Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz say last week that he recommends LGBT people undergo conversion therapy. His reaction was similar to that of many LGBT people who have suffered through conversion therapy, a multifaceted form of psychotherapy that attempts to “convert” a gay person to heterosexuality. Shay Bramson, deputy director of the religious gay support and advocacy group Havruta, said he was “very angry. It was really stupid because he’s not a physician, he’s not a social worker, he’s not a therapist in any way – and yet he claimed to understand and know how to do [conversion therapy] and that he himself performed conversion therapy, although he wasn’t so clear about that.” He pointed out that as a minister, parents might respect him and therefore choose to send their kids to such therapy. Conversion therapy has been called “dangerous” and “ineffective” by Israeli psychological associations, Bramson said. Bramson himself is gay and religious, and said that growing up he struggled with his sexuality, thinking that “a gay man is a very bad person… God doesn’t want it and I wanted to be very close to God. I wanted to be very religious; I was very religious.”

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