A activist who was forced to endure years of conversion therapy is once again speaking out about his experience.
27-year-old Mathew Shurka was raised in a “conservatively Jewish home” in the suburbs of New York. When he was just 16, he was urged to undergo conversion therapy after his father learned of his same-sex attraction.
“My father was afraid I would live a horrible life as a gay man in society,” he says.
Related: Bizarre And Homophobic Conversion Practices Exposed In Trial Of Ex-Gay Leaders
Shurka spent the next five years participating in both face-to-face and phone counseling, during which he was told there was “no such thing” as being gay and that homosexuality was a “psychological condition” that stemmed from unaddressed childhood trauma.
“It made it sound like a disease,” he says. “It was made to feel like a disease too, that I was suffering from.”
Part of the “cure” included being “banned” from talking to his mother or sisters.
“This was so I didn’t pick up any feminine behavior from girls,” he says. “It was extremely difficult to come home from school and not talk to them. The word uncomfortable doesn’t even describe it.”
Related: A Disturbing Undercover Look At How Conversion Therapy Tries To “Cure” Gayness
Shurka says his mother disagreed with the therapy for the get-go.
“My mother didn’t agree with the therapy at all. She felt like she was losing me,” he recalls. “I’d walk out the door in the morning and not say bye to her. But I was 16 and vulnerable, so listened to the advice of my therapists for a while.”
The bogus therapy continued for five years. It wasn’t until he was 21 that Shurka finally refused to keep participating in it.
“I was 21 and although the therapy taught that there was no such thing as love between two people of the same sex, I had fallen in love with another boy,” he says. “When I said this, I was told I was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. I had been doing everything they said, and yet my attraction for men never lessened. So I left conversion therapy and went through two years of recovery and standard therapy.”
Related: The Horrors Inside A Christian Conversion Cult Are Exposed First-Hand
Today, Shurka serves as an ambassador to the #BornPerfect campaign with the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The campaign is working to end conversion therapy in the United States by 2019.
As for his father, Shurka says they have been able to work though their differences.
“I let go of any resentment I had towards him in that conversation,” he says. “I know my father truly loves me, and was only seeking what he thought was best for me. I’ve got my father back in my life, and now I get to share it with him.”
h/t: Daily Mail
“Then, in May of the same year, he underwent a personal and professional development program called The Landmark Forum, which is designed to improve the quality of lives and personal relationships, and was life-changing for him. After the course, he made peace with his father and resolved everything he had been through.” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3415402/Gay-man-forced-father-conversion-therapy-FIVE-YEARS-turn-straight-banned-talking-women-including-mother-sisters.html
The Landmark Forum is $cientology Lite.
Old story, 5 years of delusional thinking! News would be: The name of the therapist he continues to protect to have his license revoked! This will speed things along given that there are ONLY 4 states that has banned this sick, twisted business!!!!!!!
If a child is not feeling LOVED (FEELS GOOD) then they are not!
5 years, really!!!!! CHILD ABUSE.
We need to do something about rampant white homophobia. We need to go into their communities and churches and educate them about the damage their homophobia causes to gay people.
White homophobia needs to end.
Alan down in Florida
@Captain Obvious: All homophobia needs to end,
“My father was afraid I would live a horrible life as a gay man in society,” he says.
So he had you put through hell to ensure you DID live a horrible life as a gay man. Thoughtful.
@Tobi: i’ve heard of that before and Landmark forum is a sect and the ‘mouvement’ is very active in Montréal (Qc) and in the USA (specially in California). Poor guy ! Hope he will recover from that other brainwash too !
@Captain Obvious: Color has nothing to do with homophobia, it is the entire USA society that needs to be educated.
I thought that maybe, perhaps the film Brokeback Mountain would start people thinking – hey – ya know it is not JUST the gay people that pay, to quote Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – ALL ARE PUNISHED – society pays a terrible price when it tries to put round pegs into square holes, the “spouses” the children, and the extended family all end up paying. The cost in human misery that the Judeo/Christian “ethic” has laid on humanity for centuries is enormous, and it does not look like it will end any time soon.
And what exactly is the Judeo/Christian ethic on sex? Do you know? Do THEY even know. It seems to me that everyone is talking in circles. Many claim the Bible is “explicit” on this or that, but I see very little to back up that claim. It’s GRAPHIC for sure, but explicit it is not.
@paulbear30: here are some lecture for you. https://bible.org/seriespage/13-boundaries-godly-sexuality-leviticus-186-29
I am very glad he has found some peace in his life and seems to have accepted himself as he is.
Homosexuality in men is completely natural. It is completely unnatural to try to erase homosexual feelings in men.
My views are revolutionary because they turn on their heads the conventional wisdoms of sexologists and psychologists going back to Sigmund Freud. Here are my views in a nutshell:
As men have sex for fun – as opposed to becoming pregnant – it is natural for men to seek sex with others who have sex for fun. Those others are men, not women. Women have sex to become pregnant.
Therefore, it’s my position that homosexuality in men is the natural default sexuality of men. Deal with it.
@Stefano: I’m not the last bit interested in a lecture. I’m interested in *specific* prohibitions against *specific* actions.
Brian I don’t agree with you completely, but it’s refreshing to see that you think outside the box, unlike so many others that regularly comment here.
This young man’s observation that even after therapy he fell in love with another boy simply shows that homosexuality is innate, genetic, natural. I am saddened by what he went through and the disgraceful banning of speaking with his mother and sisters is almost criminal. I hope he can lead a happy, gay life and that his family acquiesces and decides it’s okay to love him and nurture his loves.
@paulbear30: if you can’t read it is not my problem.
@Brian: i just can’t stop laughing ! You’re so funny ! Now you have a ‘revolutionary’ view on men’s sexuality ! Stop it stop it ! You are becoming more and more ridiculous ! Loll
@Stefano: You made it your problem when you referred me to that website that failed to adrress my inquiry. Again, I’m not interested in interpretation, but instead in explicit statements. Isn’t it ironic that the most virulently antireligious gay people are CONFIDENT that the bible is against them, yet can’t justify it any more than their supposed enemies?
@Stefano: Stefano, can I kiss my male partner? Please refer me to the bible verse that answers my question or kindly shut the fuck up. 🙂
If you are a man who doesn’t wish to offend women, you would be opposed to my revolutionary views. In fact, my views are not only revolutionary in the current climate of sexual identity politics, they are based on reality.
Face it – the politics of gay identity is opposed to male homosexual desire. That’s why a lot of gay-identifying guys oppose the idea that homosexual desire exists in all men. You simply can’t stomach the idea that gay identity politics is a construct that was invented, and not a real world thing such as male homosexual desire.
You also can’t stomach the idea that male homosexual desire renders women useless as far as “fun sex” is concerned. As gay-identifying men, you see your roles as flattering women and assuring them that they are useful in the face of the threat of male homosexual desire.
@paulbear30: i’m not a christian, i dont beleive in your god and dont beleive anything that is written in that book. You can say anything you want, i dont care.
@Stefano: I never claimed to be Christian either!! But I am also not atheist. You can conflate your atheism with being gay identified if you like, but I don’t care. But don’t think for a moment it’s not obvious.
@paulbear30: blah blah blah i don’t care what you think. You don’t know me. This is my last respond to you.
Yeah don’t expect any different treatment when ears turn deaf when you start whining about homophobia. Critical thinking is your friend, sir.
@fireman452: Is it not interesting that both Jesus and his Mother Mary “Rose up to Heaven; Body and Sole” when they died? How convenient! We know where the other early Religious proponents were buried. There is also physical evidence of their existence, but not for good old Jesus and his mother. But what is worse, are the brutal murders, hangings, and physical mutilation of people in years past that did not believe in all of that nonsense. However, it is still manifesting itself today in the middle East.
@paulbear30: blah blah blah blah now the intimidation ! Go ahead ! Spit your poison to me ! I don’t care. I don’t beleive in your god (who ever he is, Christian Muslim, Jewish, ect.)and i never did and never will. Goodbye. I have better things to do than discussing with a nutcase like you. Return to tour hell. 🙂
What this article conspicuously leaves out is that Mathew endured this cruel “therapy” from a despicable group called ‘JONAH’, a Jewish organization dedicated to “curing” young Jewish boys of their same sex attraction.
If ‘Jonah’ had been a Catholic group you can bet this story and the comments section would be just oozing with blatant anti-Catholicism.
Let’s be frank, most world religions today are solidly homophobic. Particularly the Orthodox Jew and Muslim varieties.
@Alan down in Florida: Agreed. And, it all begins with each of us.
@fireman452: It MUST end soon.
Organized religion rears its ugly head once again. Nothing but bullshit, power, money and unquestioning obedience in “their interpretation” of God’s Law. Burn another witch. Kill a queer. Stone a woman to death “for an act of folly in Israel.”
Here are some more “wonderful” passages from the bible preached upon by some from organized religion:
Leviticus. 21:9. “If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute…she must be burned in fire…”
Leviticus. 24:16 “Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him…”
1 Corinthians 6:9. “Or do you not know the evil men do not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; no fornicators, neither worshipers of idols, neither adulterers, neither sexual molesters, neither males laying down with other males…”
REAL NICE STUFF!! All this through organized religion. STONING (folly…prostitution), BURNING (prostitute of daughter of priest), and those damn guys who lay down with other guys… And this is just the TIP of the huge iceberg. No wonder we have so many people screwed up in the name of organized religion!
@Kieran: Let’s be frank, atheists are trying hard to co-opt gay identity to advance a totally separate agenda.
Your complaint is not that there isn’t anti religious bias (as you predicted a stream anti Catholic comments if this was a Catholic organization. No, it’s that there should be bias against all religion.
My mother took me to “therapy” when I was 16 because she thought something was “wrong” with me. (1978) It hurt me more when I was told (by a psycho) [that] I “Was not right” and that they could “fix” me with a few months of counseling. I succumbed to the “torture” because I wanted to feel loved and also wanted by the “normal” people and live as the rest of society did. I joined the Church of the Nazarene and stood up during a sermon and stated that “I have been healed by the power of God! I am no longer gay!” The “parishioners” looked at me like “WHAT the HELL!?” I never went back! Fast forward, 15 years later, I also wanted to “escape” the gay “lifestyle”. I went for a mental evaluation then come to find out, my Psycho turned up at a GAY bar a week later! Hypocrites/Rebubs… sooner or later we all get caught and they will too.
@fireman452: Yup. Straight people pay. Everyone pays.
@martinbakman: And all because people are too stupid to think critically, ask pertinent questions and more importantly be fucking explicit while demanding explication. Publicly discussing sexual morality when everyone thinks sexuality is “private” is a perfect example of round hole/square peg. It’s patently absurd. When people are left to assume, “interpret”, and gossip, that’s when shit hits the fan. The devil is NOT in the details. It’s in the love of unnecessary controversies.
@paulbear30: No Paul my bias isn’t against religion…nor is my complaint Catholic-based (since the bible is used by all faiths–Old Testament by Jews as well). Organized religion. Those quotes were “interpretations.” 1 Corinthians 6:9. For instance is only quoted that way in one interpretation…not the King James Version I assure you. I actually had to search for that interpretation.
The bible is all an interpretation of stories (most of them written in Ancient Aramaic) that no one even speaks, reads or writes anymore. These stories were then converted/interpreted to different versions of the bible until we have the current “accepted” version that most religions use. Some gospels were voted on and “left out” by an independent counsel. Now do we have the “complete” word/Gospel of God or just the interpreted words that some men thought would be “acceptable” under their form of organized religion?
We then have a minister/preacher, or whoever that interprets that interpretation of the bible once again.
I’m not anti-faith by any means. Not anti-God by any means. Man however can and does corrupt. Religion is no exception. Faith and Religion are two totally different things. One is totally man-made. I don’t bow down to man.
@youarekiddingme: Oh, even the versions of the bible that we accept as written in plain-text (I.e. Understandable language), were still written by men…not God. Men still have flaws (most stories were written years/decades after events occurred)…memories fade (even after hours). Men still have agendas.
Why didn’t he just refuse to go to the therapy then?
@Stached1: Let’s see…he was 16…a minor?
@youarekiddingme: nothing new to me in what you wrote.
@youarekiddingme: But here’s the problem. The same people who will say it’s all interpretation (rather than gaining a new perspective) will actually concur with the interpretation that they find repulsive!! Why? Apparently so they can discredit the whole shebang for whatever hidden agenda that THEY have.
@paulbear30: Good circular argument, but doesn’t hold up. The gaining of a “new” perspective is through faith and/or meditation, where one gains his own new enlightened perspective on life/God…not through an interpreted version that is further interpreted through a faulty view of a “religious” expert (who is tempted by power and money).
@paulbear30: Reality is that the Bible is myth – interpretation is immaterial. It is myth and has been. Ancient Sumerian myths fed through the lens of early Judaism, which was henotheistic, not monotheistic btw. Jewish versions of Sumerian myth then fed through the lens of early Christianity, until the Council of II Carthage, acting on a resolution from the Synod of Hippo passed what we now call canon in 397AD. There is literally nothing, not even a whisper, divine about the Bible. It’s a human book being used for human purposes. NOR does it have a thing to do with Christianity. There were Christians long before canon. Christian means Christ follower. If you believe in Jesus Christ and think that the Bible is worth nothing but toilet paper – you are still Christian.
@youarekiddingme: Buddy, you think you are an island unto yourself? LOL You aren’t meditating on anything without any content to meditate with.
@Hermes: Where did you get that information? By traveling through time or by reading human books used for human purposes, but which you treat as Gospel?
This is child abuse and his father should be prosecuted for it. I would suspect that he also abused or intimidated his wife into submission as well.
@Stefano: Sorry you are missing out on the most beautiful and fulfilling life you could have, a relationship with the God who loves you and has a plan for your life.
@paulbear30: your point about “gaining a new perspective” is exactly what I have done. You are following what others have given you. I have sought out a fresh perspective which, by the way , is distinctly different than the majority of society which is Christian an follow organized religion. I think I have gained that fresh perspective.
Buddy? Ok. Anyways, I do have something to meditate on. A belief in a God who is the creator. Is merciful…without all the other connotations given by man. I will meditate on that. I DO NOT criticize your BELIEF. Don’t criticize mine please. Thank you.
@Tobi: Sorry, but you are wrong here. Scientology is a religion, and a totally bizarre one at that. Landmark is a 21st century re-hash of the EST/Forum training, based on the work of Warner Erhard. Erhard sold the corporation EST to the Landmark people in 1991. Although Erhard used concepts from Dianetics (and many other sources), and though he has been called a cult leader (which he may or may not have willingly been), he was never a Scientologist, nor did he ever endorse the religion. He was however uncannily charismatic and did a fair amount of good. I was involved with his Hunger Project for a number of years and can vouch that there was none of the fascism, bullying and homophobia so common in Scientology (I actually joined the church of scientology for a year back in 1970 to try and become straight, found they were a bunch of clueless, dogmatic assholes and left).
For what it is worth, EST an The Forum (his second incarnation of the training) were non-judgmental not sharing the homophobia intrinsic to Scientology. Scientology considers homosexuality a “personality disorder” that they can “cure”.
@youarekiddingme: The “old testament” is not used by Jews, nor do “all faiths” use the bible! What world do you live in exactly? Jews use the Tanakh: the combination of Torah, Prophets, and assoociated Writing. We also use the Talmud &Mishna. The so called “old testament” is a christian re-imagining of Tanakh with a different compliment of books and a wildly different interpretation and translation based on the necessity of making it seem to uphold the religious value of Jesus’ torture and murder, as well as his presumed divinity.
None of that has any relevance to Judaism, nor was it presaged in any Jewish scripture until the organized church re-wrote it (made most obvious in the KJV).
@Kieran: Do you really think that Orthodox Jews are more rabidly homophobic than Evangelical Christians? You’d be hard pressed to substantiate that with facts.
As for Islam, it is still young and has no organized equivalent to the Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist movements of Judaism. In the latter two openly Gay men and women can be ordained, and among Conservative Jews total acceptance is growing. Jews do not dwell on sin and punishment in the same way Christians and Muslims seem to.
@Brian: “That’s why a lot of gay-identifying guys oppose the idea that homosexual desire exists in all men.”
Actually, most gay men oppose the idea (belief really, and there is a difference), because facts (actual reality) demonstrates it is not so. Not everything that pops into a person’s imagination is real.
@Brian: “Therefore, it’s my position that homosexuality in men is the natural default sexuality of men. Deal with it.”
Here is the easiest way to “deal with it”:
1. There is no empirical support for your “position” at all. It is well established that both men and women have sex for a variety of reasons, and sexual attraction varies in many ways.
2. A position with no empirical support is simply wishful thinking, imagination or dogma.
@dwes09: I stand corrected when I said ALL FAITHS use the bible. I should have said all CHRISTIAN FAITHS use the bible. My error and my apologies if I offended anyone. As for the point about the Jewish Religion. You are “technically” correct however, they do use writings from the Old Testament. Some examples include and are used in the Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Please don’t try to argue that the Torah predates the Old Testament. Both are written by man, subject to interpretation and debate as to when written and I have equal distaste for both because of the corruption of man in the process.
Belief in God. I have no belief in religion (created by man) in ANY of its forms.
And dwes09 swoops in to save the day with a dose of “reality”. Dude please!
@Stefano: @fireman452: Do you have a hose to go with that name? If so, my ass is burning down right now.
@o.codone: Your comment is really stupid. You are no better than an ISIS member.
@paulbear30: It maters not what people think about, or quote the “BIBLE”. It is no different than the thousands of other works of fiction that have been written thrue out history.
: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
You don’t even know the définition of a religion ! Wow ! Keep talking ! Ignorance is bliss.
@o.codone: oh by the way, you seem to have an obsession with shit (it’s not the first time you make that ‘joke’), why dont you just eat your own shit? Oh silly me ! You already did !
@twinkie1cat: No thank you. I’m not a disable person like you. I don’t need a crutch to walk.
@Stefano: Okay, that was EASY. I found you Gian Carlo 85. Now reinvented as “Stefano”. Queerty threw you off again (is this the third time?) and now you are back for as long as it lasts. Problem is, only the name has changed. The inane bull sh it hasn’t. Being a guatemalan drag queen is a very time consuming job. How do you have time for Queerty? Let me suggest that you spend more and more time on your wigs and make-up and less time on Queerty. We really didn’t miss you at all. Finally, don’t put everybody through the fake BS about how Stefano isn’t GCarlo. You are SO obvious, that’s a discussion that would just waste everybody’s time. I for one am glad you re-surfaced, shit floats, right, because I do enjoy the spar, but telling me that my Mum dropped me on my head when I was a baby is getting a little old. Think up another insult, Charo. Yawn.
@Stefano: Stefano (I.e., rain man), I have said COUNTLESS times my distaste is with ORGANIZED Religion!!! Wake up!!! Can you not read contextually? Do you not grasp the concept of an idea or thought transmitted via the written language? Wait, would you like me to point out your syntax, spelling, verb and context errors littering your posts as well or do you think most people get the general idea of your thoughts without those things being pointed out to them (by the content/context) surrounding them?
Let’s not jump into something and make an “ass” of one’s self shall we?
Stick to the subject to huh? Most everyone else was (at least those I was talking to) were.
@dwes09: Although Erhard used concepts from Dianetics…
= $cientology Lite
@youarekiddingme: Is holding your wrists under the cold tap not working for your hissy fits, hon?!
@Tobi: Actually saw your lover under the bridge giving blowjobs again sweetie!
@Tobi: Following me from post to post, just like your mom does!
@youarekiddingme: Aw, did he wake you up, or were you busy drooling over a goat?
@Tobi: Tobi, so tell me…how exactly is your little brother related again? You and mom had sex and your mom gave birth to your “brother?” Is that the only relationship there? Is that why he has those problems?
Wow, if you could only stop with the stalking, no one would have to know about your family “secrets” now would they?
@youarekiddingme: If we’re going to talk about family secrets, don’t forget you’re the one with “kid” in your user name.
This US/Canadian church openly announces continued “discipline” against LGBT people until conversion (aka “repentance”):
@judith: How does the link you provided have to do with this story? What am I missing? Thank you.
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