This story broke on my old nemisis/now friend’s TWO (Truth Wins Out) project’s founder and director Wayne Besen on November 2nd. NBC picked it up and writes (linkage by NBC):

A Florida psychologist who has compared homosexuality to obsessive-compulsive disorder and claimed that he could change clients’ sexual orientation through therapy was found soliciting “hookups” on gay dating apps, according to LGBTQ nonprofit Truth Wins Out.

Norman Goldwasser, clinical director of Horizon Psychological Services in Miami Beach, Florida, allegedly used the screen name “hotnhairy72” to meet other men on Manhunt and Gay Bear Nation. The Manhunt profile, which has since been deleted, includes several nude images that appear to be of Goldwasser and lists a number of interests, including “dating,” “kissing,” “married men,” “massage” and a series of more explicit activities, according to screenshotsprovided to NBC News by Truth Wins Out.

So this story repeats again… and again and again… and again. In the past it was my job to follow-up with folks like this and try to “find the truth” and help them on a path to restore them to “ministry.” Today my heart breaks as I look at a man who clearly needs to accept who he truly is as a gay man instead of living a devastating double life. Like many other therapists and leaders, I worked with who did the same as this man and succeeded in hooking up with anonymous encounters, or their own clients, they should be reported to state licensing boards.

While others are taking on the responsibility to hold this man accountable publicly, I believe our goal at Thrive LGBT+ is different. Why does this happen and more importantly, what happens to all the people who looked to him as a source of help? Someone they could trust?

In the past I would privately lament that therapists were the WORST hypocrites. The absolute worst because they would always find ways to excuse their hypocrisy… and do the most outrageous behavior just begging to be caught. I am not a therapist, but it seems that profession when mixed with toxic theology attracts people who claim to be able to help others but they obsessed over the alleged dysfunction because they can’t resolve it within themselves. They have all the answers for others but can’t make it work in their own lives. So, they spend all day telling others what to do and living vicariously through their “struggles.” As Jesus Himself said, they place unnecessary burdens on others while they don’t hold themselves to the same standard. Over time, all that stimulation in the therapist’s office, or even pastoral care office, spills over and creates sexual assault by the therapist on the client or a double life like Goldwasser was living.

By the way, how many times has Restored Hope Network spoken about this scandal? Zero. While Goldwasser is not a part of their network, conversion therapy is a therapeutic practice they sanction and defend. But again, they live on Myopia Mountain and I am sure they conveniently go out of sight out of mind on this scandal.

My heart goes out to Goldwasser’s clients who looked to him for the way out of their distress. These LGBT+ people (probably most are gay men in this situation) had bought into the unnecessary and untrue burden that something was wrong and needed to be fixed. This man was guiding them down that never-ending circle of shame and despair saying it would eventually change. Yet he betrayed his profession, his family, and his clients by reveling in his own attractions as a gay man. A betrayal that didn’t have to happen if he had simply accepted the truth, that it is ok to be gay.

If you are a client of Goldwasser’s or friend, I know you are heartbroken. I had my heart-break dozens, if not hundreds, of times as I watched leaders, therapists, and friends “fall” over the course of 23 years. But the truth is, you don’t have to be disheartened by people acting hypocritically. It took a lot of convincing, but I now know that you can be a healthy LGBT+ individual with a brand-new life outside of the false ex-gay accepted point of view. If you are a person of faith, God loves you for all of who you are, including the gift of what it means for you to be a LGBT+ person.

Step out of the false ex-gay conversion ministry and therapy world. Step into the true freedom of what it means to be authentically you.

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