The clinical director of Horizon Psychological Service Norman Goldwasser was an active member of gay hookup sites Gay Bear Nation and Manhunt, and using the screen name “hotnhairy72.”
Typically, this would be an issue, however, Goldwasser built a career peddling a “cure” to “cure” gay people of their same-sex attraction.
Wayne Bessen executive director of Truth Wins Out an LGBT nonprofit, was tipped off to the two profiles, Goldwasser used the name ‘Dave’, and Bessen set up a fake account on Manhunt to engage with Goldwasser.
According to Besen, Goldwasser offered to meet ‘Brandon’ for sex at a Fort Lauderdale hotel room. Besen eventually revealed his hand to Goldwasser, explaining that there is no ‘Brandon’ and confronting Goldwasser about his history of harming LGBTQ people through discredited “therapy”.
Besen says Goldwasser initially denied it was him.
“I promptly texted the Manhunt screenshot,” Besen told NBC News. “He then called me and confessed, begging for mercy.”
Besen posted in a blog post that Truth Wins Out “does not engage in the outing of people participating in ex-gay programs unless there is overwhelming hypocrisy, exchange of commerce, and the threat of harm to LGBT youth.”
Goldwasser, Besen said, meets all three standards.
In the post, Besen added:
“Norman Goldwasser’s double life of unconscionable lies highlights the rank hypocrisy and predatory nature of the fraudulent ‘ex-gay’ industry. We urge every state to ban the scourge of conversion therapy that attacks the mental health of LGBT youth and puts them in harms way.”
In an emailed statement to NBC News, Goldwasser seemed to refer to his hookup pursuits as “sexual addiction” and said he is seeking help:
“The fact that this story and others have been brought to the public is incredibly painful but will become a catalyst for me seeking the right help for myself. It is sad that despite the fact that I have been able to help many people over the years who have suffered from the effects of child sexual abuse and sexual addiction, I obviously was unable to help myself. There is no justification for my personal behavior and I deeply regret the pain I have caused people in my personal life.”
14 states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws banning conversion therapy practices on minors, though some groups have skirted the laws on religious grounds.
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law approximates that 700,000 LGBTQ adults have received conversion therapy, about half of which took place during adolescence.