Part 7, SPLC against JONAH: debunking the allegations

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potok2In a report published in May 2016 Southern Poverty Law Center attorney Martin Potok tries to give an account of the JONAH trial, using the opportunity to justify the SPLC cause in society. He can do so only by twisting and turning the information, changing it into disinformation. In this article we will look closely at what the SPLC has to say on their first page, the page which sets the scene for more disinformation in the rest of the report. At the end of this article, we have a proposal to end the ban on therapy nonsense in congress.

The title of their report is


The subtitle reads:

Conversion Therapists, the Anti-LGBT Right, and the Demonization of Homosexuality”

Page 1 starts off with a few leading questions:

Will standing in a circle of naked men deep in the woods turn gay men straight? Is disrobing in front of a mirror alone with your therapist and then touching “your masculinity” a cure for homosexuality? Does beating a pillow representing your mother really help develop “healthy” relationships with other men?

We need to look into each and every one of these allegations, and see what they are really worth:

1 – “Quacks”. What a one-liner to start off an account of what went on at the JONAH trial! Let me replace this offensive remark with a starting indiandescription of the local Indian descendants, the Native American Paiute Tribe, who inhabit Las Vegas: “The Savages at Las Vegas”. I would get myself arrested with an opening remark like that. I would be accused of hate speech, and rightfully so.

2 – “Conversion Therapists”. JONAH is not into conversion therapy and has stated that again and again (see our article part 2: an eye-witness account). Even though JONAH contradicted the statement, the extremists repeat the phrase nevertheless. We witness a never-ending pounding on the battle drum when it comes to dealing with those who defy gay-lib. It surpasses all rationality, and we may safely conclude that extremists suffer from a cognitive disorder: it just does not compute. You can talk until you are blue in the face; they will reiterate their stance anyhow. This is not normal. This is resistance to the power of three (see our article part 5: resistances).

3 – “Anti-LGBT”. Do you mean anti-LGBT labels or anti-LGBT people? When it comes to labels, a lot of people are against using labels, boxing people, calling names and inciting self-stigmatization. Nothing wrong with that. Or do you mean anti-LGBT people, which is discriminating. Notice how the SPLC leaves this vague, therefore inciting the crowds to believe that JONAH is against people. That is exactly what Hitler said about the Jews: “They are against you, my beloved people, the Aryan nation. And I will stand up for you”. It is rejectionism, and this is projected on the other guy (projection nr. 1).

4 – “The Right”. JONAH is not into being political, neither is orientation therapy. Same-sex attractions after all are not a left-wing or right-wing affair. This is a projection of the SPLC agenda. They are the ones who are political, and they project this onto the other, making it sound as if it is his agenda (projection nr. 2). Thereby an appropriate left-wing reaction is necessary. The reader is manipulated and JONAH is made to look like a political opponent.

The SPLC has received much criticism for its left-wing extremist bias; on their website they try to rebuke it.

demonization5 – “Demonization”. If you read the SPLC report you will indeed see demonization. But it is one, perpetrated by the SPLC. Nowhere do you see “demonization” in the accounts by JONAH members during the trial as recorded in the SPLC report, neither in the eye-witness account (see our Part 2). JONAH is dealing with same-sex attractions which are accepted as given, and is using ways to deal with the underlying identification issues. It has nothing to do with criticizing gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transsexuals.

JONAH is not into transsexuals, it is not their issue. It acknowledges bisexuality in the sense that you can have same-sex and opposite-sex attractions during the same life. And it recognizes persons having to all sorts of extents homosexual feelings. Therefore JONAH is not anti-LGBT.

The issue at hand is the gay lifestyle; the issue is whether or not you resist politically correct social pressure to let some homosexual feelings that you may have, define your entire person and all that you wish to fulfil in life. Experiencing same-sex attractions in a given point in your life does not necessarily mean you are hence compelled to adopt a gay label and gay lifestyle for ever more. You can if you want to, but you do not necessarily have to. You can investigate those feelings, and see where that leads to with an open mind.

People have the right to uphold that opinion in their very own private life without outside interference and coercion. JONAH is not into megaphoning its view on life, and is not a missionary movement with goals to eradicate certain stances in society before a given date. It is gay-lib, with its Bornperfect campaign, that aims to remove all orientation therapy from the face of the earth before 2019 by means of litigation and political activism aimed at politicians. Gay-lib is into politics. It is not the other way around.

Sexuality is fluid, and many left-wing people recognize that fact. Homosexual feelings are not fixed; they can and often do change over time. There is abundant scientific research to substantiate this, as Laura will explain in the next article. Gay-lib is the one doing the demonizing (projection nr. 3), not JONAH.


Let us see how licensed therapists are demonized as the report continues on page 1 with the following statements:

This is a report about junk science and some of the people who propagate it. It is not about silly, perhaps amusing theories about ESP or life on the moon or even purported miracle cures for cancer. The “science” examined here actively harms people, leading with grim regularity to suicide, depression and an array of self-destructive behaviors. It demeans, defames and defrauds human beings, typically at their most vulnerable moments.

And, as if that weren’t enough, it regularly lays the blame for the alleged malady of homosexuality at the feet of gay people’s parents, despite the fact that they are wholly innocent.

The men and women who people this industry — known as “conversion,” “reparative” or ex-gay” therapists — are like modern-day phrenologists, the “experts” beloved by the Nazis who thought they could identify inferior human beings by measuring their subjects’ skulls. They employ theories that have been thoroughly debunked by virtually all relevant medical associations. They cite bizarre studies that were shot down decades ago as key documents. They use techniques that were described in court by one expert as “worse than snake oil.” They are quacks.”


If this isn’t demonization, what is?

For the record we will now scrutinize each and every piece of disinformation presented by the SPLC to the American people:

6 – “junk science”. This strange term was introduced by activist Wayne Besen on his website Truth Wins Out. Laura Haynes PhD, psychologist and member of the American Psychological Association, will demonstrate all the scientific reports, reviews and articles which underlie the insights of orientation therapy in the next part of this series. The articles that she refers to, are of a recent date, many of which were written by homosexuals and lesbians themselves. They are not out-dated nor bizarre, but we will leave that up to Laura to demonstrate. For now let us focus on the tactics that radical gay-lib uses to win the hearts of people. The SPLC seeks to tap into specifically the irrational mind-frame of its readers.

On his website, Truth Wins Out, Besen claims that so-called LGBT science is the way to go. Interested as I am, I clicked on it to read all the scientific articles. Besen writes:

Our project will examine questions, such as:

Is there a biological basis for sexual orientation and gender identity?

What do the experts say about efforts to change one’s sexual orientation?

What are the ethical concerns surrounding this issue?

Such research is still in its infancy and there is an enormous amount we still don’t know.”

In its infancy? Did you say infancy? When Albert Einstein was in his infancy, his Nobel prize-winning equation on the Law of General Relativity sounded like this: oogoo, dadda, babba.

And that is about all we can read on Besen’s infamous website on the subject of science. Where are all the articles, Wayne? The only thing you’ve got is a slogan, LGBT. But the science, Wayne!

(Note how he has dropped the Q of Questioning in the slogan LGBTQ; extremists don’t like people who are Questioning their same-sex attractions. A small detail, but in my view as former gay activist leader a significant one. The more Q you are, the more open minded you will be towards orientation therapy, the more you can bear your boat to be rocked and the more you will ultimately profit from it, instead of being incessantly paranoid. And profit I did: I now consider myself heterosexual ).

Besen, who has no academic credentials, honestly admits there is an enormous amount he does not know. Laura will fill us in next time with what we do know, and which Besen apparently refuses to know. There is absolutely nothing there on his site, but as usual he gives his clients the reassurance that the results are very promising and sure to come. In the meantime he charges on to label his personal and unsubstantiated paranoid prejudices as a truth that will win out. His reference to junk science is therefore a projection, nr. 4. And as an activist, he rallies people to the cause.

His 2003 book “Anything but straight” is clearly heterophobic. How heterophobic can you get with a title like that? Fancy my writing a book called “Anything but black”. If that is not racism, what is? It is therefore safe to say that radical gay-lib equals heterophobia. This phobia is then projected onto licensed therapists to clear one’s own conscience, projection nr. 5.

7. “Some of the people who propagate it”. In the SPLC report there is no distinction between qualified psychotherapists who meet all professional qualifications on the one hand, and people on the other hand who (in the past), as lay people, used a variety of methods they thought would help relieve the confusion of people with unwanted same-sex attractions.

Professional psychotherapy has come a long way in the past twenty years, starting with the ground-breaking accounts written by Joseph and Linda Ames Nicolosi. They went on to meticulously study hundreds of people with unwanted same-sex attractions and to write down each and every sentence the clients pronounced. In doing so, they laid the foundation of the third emancipation wave, transcending labels instead of affirming them on the one hand or denouncing them on the other. It will take time before the third wave is recognized for what it is, and before it takes on.

The activists call orientation therapy “an industry”. What these self-centred individuals fail to see is that homosexuals only constitute less than 3% of the population, and an even smaller amount wish to look into their hangups. No psychologist or marriage counsellor will go bankrupt if less than 3% of his/her clients fail to see  him again. Homosexual clients are no big deal money-wise. There are enough divorces,  gay or otherwise, to compensate the loss. (30% of Dutch gay marriages end in divorce by the way. Keep the money rolling!)

8 – “actively harms people, leading with grim regularity to suicide, depression and an array of self-destructive behaviors”. There are no accounts, grim or otherwise, of evidence, criminal records, police reports, yearly papers from coroners’ offices, suicide prevention organizations or mental health institutes, to substantiate this claim in any way. sherlockSuch a police investigation should be a cinch especially if you know that all this is done actively. The evidence must be sprawled around, waiting to be picked up by any old detective, due to the alleged regularity. Where did Sherlock Holmes go? And where is Watson? What is up with these guys in our hour of need?

You cannot defend yourself against it because there is no evidence to which you can relate. The allegation is therefore clearly fraudulent. On his radio programme ‘The Wayne Besen Show’, he accuses JONAH of being fraudulent. The only fraudulence I can see at this moment is radical gay-lib, projection nr. 6.

9 – “it defames human beings”. We fail to see how objecting to radical gay-lib ideology and anti-psychiatry defames human beings. There is nothing wrong with good old regular psychiatry and psychology, that is looking into your desires, behaviors and personal history. Having sexual feelings for the own sex is worth looking into, but same-sex attractions are not an end in themself. And we fail to see how this private investigation, this journey into your full scope of sexual and social possibilities defames anyone else.

The only defaming we actually witness is the way in which these activists speak of others. Samantha Ames of the National Center for Lesbian Rights for example says of Joseph Nicolosi in her press statements: “he has blood on his hands”. A disturbing and outrageous remark. Who is defaming human beings? Projection nr. 7.

10 – “lays the blame for the alleged malady of homosexuality at the feet of gay people’s parents”. No-one is using the phrase “malady”, “disease” or “cure” than these gay-libbers themselves. They then put this phrase in the other person’s mouth. JONAH does not speak of malady or disease. Neither do psychotherapists. There is no evidence to substantiate the allegation.

Psychotherapists deal with the issue at hand as presented by the client. And all professional standards point in one direction: to accept the client and his wishes as he/she expresses them. Licensed therapists accept their clients unconditionally. It is a pity that gay-lib extremists do not accept all people who they encounter, specifically people who experience their same-sex attractions as unwanted. They sue them into oblivion as they have done with JONAH for defying ideology or actually leaving the gay ranks.

11 – Licensed psychotherapists do not “blame parents”. They are not interested in parents. It is not a forensic examination. They are only interested in the way the client has experienced the parents, whether that is in accordance with the way it really went or not. Perhaps it did not go that way, but that is not the piont. Therapists do not fatigue themselves in policing people outside of the room. It is not of immediate concern to the therapy goals.

It is only the feelings and the emotional consequences of perceived events of the client that they are interested in. The statement of the SPLC clearly demonstrates that the editor, SPLC attorney Martin Potok, has no idea of what psychotherapy is all about. The SPLC spreads ignorant prejudices and blatant lies.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a megalithic organization with a $350 million dollar war chest. Since it has the means to hire a multitude of attorneys and any other consultants it wishes, one can be rather sure this report represents the best the SPLC has to offer. The high powered lawyers and professionals who work for the SPLC do know the difference between licensed and unlicensed and do know what they are doing when they use this deceptive practice.

The report finds and fills their pages with the most sensational outlying practices, giving the impression that they characterize all lay efforts. It thus falsely appears that licensed professional therapists, if not lay counselors as well, are engaging in activities that they are not engaging in, and this practice of the SPLC is deceptive. It is done by anti-change therapy activists with regularity. The SPLC report uses methods people expect from lawyers, political activists, and the Enquirer, and it contrasts, for example, with the sorts of statements one would hope for from professional licensed mental health professionals and researchers when they report results of research that meets scientific standards.

12 – “Will standing in a circle of naked men deep in the woods turn gay men straight?” No, it will not. Any fool can see that. In this way JONAH is made to look like fools. JONAH did not invite the plaintiffs to come to woods and stand naked in a circle. The SPLC is clearly hoping to tap into the taboo that exists under many in the USA on nakedness.

The USA is a very prudish and religious society compared to Europe and Holland in particular, and the idea that your son stands naked in front of others can cause dismay with many American people. That is why the SPLC uses this alleged incident, totally out of any context: to incite outrage. Bingo, we nail them, so is the thought of the editor. This seems to be all about creating an irrational mind-frame for the reader of the report.

13 – “Is disrobing in front of a mirror…”

Someone is pretty focused on nude guys, and it is not me.

14 – Does beating a pillow representing your mother really help develop “healthy” relationships with other men?

No, it doesn’t. No-one said so either. This is a normal technique used in a great array of regular psychological therapy forms, such as Bodywork, Psycho-drama, Bio-Energetics and Gestalt Therapy to name a few. By the looks of it, it is aiming at mom-issues, not at dad- or male peer-issues. Martin Potok has no idea what he is talking about. The mentioned therapist is clearly dealing with feelings about the female world (squaw camp), and not the male world (warrior camp), feelings which are apparently an issue for the vulnerable client, a client who presumably does not want to be spied upon by Martin Potok and publicly shamed and ridiculed without his consent.

On his website, Besen writes:

Our goal is to bring greater scientific understanding to this topic and ensure that critical research is not twisted or distorted for political gain.”

Hostile-aggressive people do everything they can to look innocent and like a victim. So now he insinuates that orientation therapists distort research, and that they are into political gain. Laura will deal with this in the next instalment. Yet another projection, nr. 8.

When it comes to cherry-picking items from second hand information you have heard about therapy, you can always ridicule any therapy or counselling you dislike.

wcpt215 – On his radio show, Besen invited Potok to come and promote his new report. Besen feigned to be an objective journalist merely asking questions. Little did the listeners know that it was Besen himself who had contacted the SPLC in the first place on this issue (according to his website) and that Besen had been off to Alabama on three occasions to inform the attorneys what his goals, strategy, rhetoric and plans were. He also gave them his version of information on orientation therapy. Talk of fraudulent practices on the radio! Projection nr. 9.

This is what Potok had to say about the JONAH trial on the radio:

potokAt time 9m:15sec:

It is an interesting case. We didn’t ask for any damages at all. We simply asked for the costs of the therapy to be repaid to our clients: $72,400. It wasn’t a multi-million case, designed to send all those people into bankruptcy.

It was really a kind of case meant to show the world what these people are really all about.

But JONAH did end up shutting down. That was part of the final settlement. They had to pay lawyers’ fees in addition to that award and they also agreed to shut down, and the principals of JONAH further agreed never ever to become, or to adopt any kind of leadership position in other so-called ex-gay organizations and not to rejoin them in any way.”

In the Netherlands, we call this a show trial, a criminal offence if perpetrated. We have gotten all the International Courts here in The Hague due to our relentless self-criticism. It is the Dutch way and by our standards, the JONAH trial is biased and fixed beforehand due to the judge and the SPLC handouts which he refused to question. The trial is not really meant to prosecute the people at hand and give them a fair chance of defending themselves; the trial is meant as a show case for the external world to intimidate others into the perceived desirable behavior. Potok says it himself. Or as Besen says on his website: to have “a chilling effect”. The reign of terror.

And the gentlemen are not done yet. Potok continues on to say the following:

At the end of the day, we are going to see the end of this practice in our lifetime. There is now a bill at congress that would ban reparative therapy for all age groups in the future.”

The bill entails to

-prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy from being provided in exchange for monetary compensation.

-to bar advertisements for such therapy that claim to:

(1) change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,

(2) eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender, or

(3) be harmless or without risk.

Note how the activist congressmen have no trouble with eliminating or reducing sexual or romantic feelings towards individuals of the opposite sex! This is an official license for Gay Affirmative Therapy to continue its efforts to reduce all heterosexual feelings in their clients. Therefore a bisexual in therapy can only move to the gay end of the Sexual Orientation Scale, although he/she has both possibilities in him/herself.

Even GAT therapists, by the way, are not allowed to discuss heterosexual feelings any more, lest those feelings become stronger and you therefore are breaking the law! So GAT is being forced into becoming a one-way street to the darkroom, where many will contract H.I.V. You will be sent to the darkroom gallows. How harmless and without risk is a darkroom, there where 50% of all young people being initiated into the gay lifestyle will inevitably contract H.I.V. and hepatitis C according to the CDC? Is it also against the law to say that GAT in this era of H.I.V. is harmless and without risk? Not if you read the proposed congress bill.

In other words

-you are not allowed to diminish same-sex attractions even if that is your personal goal in life as an adult and you pay for it out of your own pocket,

-you are not allowed to mention the mechanisms of sexual fluidity, even though all professional organizations recognize those facts

-you are not allowed to seek marital therapy in order to start loving your wife again if you have had homosexual contacts,

-you are not allowed to say that there is no scientific proof of harm, although the American Psychiatric Association has issued that very statement.

-you will follow Wayne Besen’s world-view on your private life or you will be criminalized

In a show trial, the SPLC made an example of JONAH, and now with this report they publish this warning for all to see and take heed.

What went on in the trial?

With JONAH we see that unsuspecting individuals who are minding their own business within their own community,

-had under the threat of total bankruptcy to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of lawyer fees,

-had to shut down their internet website for ever more,

-had to refrain from leading other groups in the USA on any issue except accepting the gay label and going down into the darkroom, your ultimate destiny if you have any homosexual feelings in any way.

-had to refrain from referring anyone to an orientation therapist. The latter must be isolated and marginalized, the Untouchables like in India, the lowest cast in American society with its slogan ‘Equality For All’.

By American law, this violates

-freedom of expression (for example on the internet and in pamphlets),

-freedom of religion (for example being Jewish),

-freedom of speech (for example to resist gay-lib ideology),

-freedom of thought (for example to contemplate not acting on some sexual desires),

-freedom of gathering (in the alleged woods or at other places) and

-freedom from coercion in your very private life (for example to indulge in heterosexual behavior if you so desire).

In short your freedom to be heard and seen ever again. Your public appearance and your private life are under scrutiny under a never-ending threat of bankruptcy.

Military exercise

The ban on reparative therapy for specifically minors was really only a military exercise, letting the American people get used to the unheard notion of micro-managing psychologists and psychiatrists. The real aim of this criminalization of opposite thought is to enforce the bipolar vision on sexuality (you are either forever straight or forever gay), to end the idea of sexual fluidity which is catching on, to end the publication and dissemination of reports that prove you are not born gay, to end all research into sexual fluidity by calling it unethical, and to marginalize anyone who dares speak of it in public or within the professional realm.


This is truly homosexism, and it is equally despicable as heterosexism. If psychiatrists and therapists can be managed in this way, then the road for enforcing and coercing more political correctness in therapy on a great many other issues has been opened for a new generation of politicians and the administration. Therapists must look over their shoulder after each election, and see what ‘harm‘ has now been sold and marketed to politicians as an excuse. Therapy is becoming the bouncing ball, the yo-yo of politics. And this precedent may very well become standard practice.

It will not be a discussion out in a free society any more. Professional autonomy will have to make room for a professional marionette theatre in the best Soviet tradition, a restrictive society that went down not so long ago.

A perspective for the future

We must move forward. In the third emancipation phase we must learn to transcend labels, to stop stigmatizing each other and to deal with the problems or desires you deeply have, and to look into your personal history as an asset. We must learn to let go of labels and move on from there, instead of petrifying them into law for ever more, leaving dissidents nowhere to go except to the Gulag.

In the meantime:

An amendment to the ban proposal

I have a plan. Its simplicity has a quality of beauty. It will mean the end of the proposal. Congressmen want to protect same-sex attractions from diminishment. If you can’t beat them, join them. I propose you add two words to the proposal and leave it at that.

If I were in American parliament, I would propose that you expand the term “same-sex attractions” to “opposite and same-sex attractions”. Why? Because we want Equality For All. After all, that is the gay-lib slogan, so let us agree. Equality for all. We can’t be unfair and one-sided now, when dealing with vulnerable, vulnerable youths, can we?

So the congress bill will now read:

“The bill entails to

-prohibit any form of sexual fluidity therapy from being provided in exchange for monetary compensation.

-to bar advertisements for such therapy that claim to:

(1) change an individual’s sexual orientation or sexual identity from gay to straight or vice versa, or gender identity,

(2) eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same or opposite gender, or

(3) be harmless or without risk.”

This bill means that one cannot assist movement any more on the 7-point Kinsey Sexual Orientation Scale. If one budges just one point on the scale towards heterosexuality, then same-sex attractions are diminished. Hence a crime is perpetrated. That is the current bill. But after the amendment, if a youngster has had some sexual or romantic affairs with the opposite sex and then “comes out” full-blown gay after seeing a Gay Affirmative Therapist, then the opposite-sex attractions and romantic feelings have clearly been ‘damaged’. Therefore the GAT therapist also loses his license, just like reparative therapists are doing in a few states. The GAT therapist must also state how harmful his therapy is, and others can police him on that issue, just like the National Center For Lesbian Rights as we speak is policing the bill in several states when it comes to heterosexual therapists.  GAT therapists can no longer afford to be vague on this issue of harm, or in denial. It is the law.

There is even more. When a male individual sees a GAT therapist and says the following about transgenderism during the intake: “Well, I am a man now, I suppose , but I am having increasing doubts about it”. Bang! From that moment on, the GAT therapist is not allowed to assist him into changing his gender into female. It is against the law, and the GAT therapist must lose his license, even just for being prepared to help him change his gender. It is legislation. The only person that a GAT therapist can see on this issue, is one who knows absolutely for  sure that he/she has his/her gender of choice. All else means change, a criminal offence.

It will force them to see the reality of their move if perpetrated the other way around.

We must also protect opposite-sex attractions in these times of pornography abundancy for youths at a far too early age on their tablet and smartphone, and the dilution of gender identity, so you insist. Remember the magic words ‘Equality For All’. Put on your sissiest smile and use your most innocent apparel when demanding attention for the sexual development of the next generation. You do not oppose the proposal, you just expand it to do justice to all fellow Americans in an equal way. If the Democratic Party opposes this very small amendment, then you can expose the fact that they are not pursuing Equality For All. We must remember, so you state, that there are also countless heterosexual youths in confusion about their sexual feelings, youths who need guidance in their insecurities, in light of so many divorces and one parent families. In short, their feelings need to be protected in advance.

Do not pursue this in a separate bill, giving extremists the chance to see this as a separate issue, or as an anti-LGBT-move and take a victim stance. Insist that the entire issue goes to congress just once in a comprehensive way, in order to do justice to “Equality for All”. Remember that intervention in professional autonomy is a serious affair, and if carried out, then it must be done in an all-inclusive fashion.

(to be continued)

Job Berendsen MD