Nov 2, 2018

Chaim Levin

"Chaim Levin is an activist who advocates for causes that include the fight against sexual abuse, LGBTQ issues within the Orthodox Jewish community which he was raised in, as well as the issue of secular education not being taught in many ultra-orthodox Jewish schools."

"Levin was part of a successful lawsuit that forced the closure of a Jewish conversion therapy organization (JONAH) that purported to "cure" LGBTQ people of being LGBTQ."

" ... I spent the better part of my 20's pursuing justice and dignity for LGBTQ people, especially within the Orthodox Jewish community.

As a survivor of four years childhood sexual abuse and conversion therapy in my late teenage years, I have been on a very public journey of healing and seeking justice after 8 years ago I decided to share my struggles with the world as I was going through and coming to terms with them.

I believed that the only way for me to survive was to take my battles to the public in order to try rectify some of the injustices that were done to me and many others at the hands of the conversion therapy industry. In 2010, the words conversion therapy weren't known to the world like they are today. With the help of Wayne Bessen, a mentor and friend who founded the organization Truth Wins Out, Benjy and I appeared in a Youtube video in which we described the specific things that organizations such as (the now-shuttered) organization JONAH once did to their clients in order to supposedly cure us of [what they called] same-sex attraction. Some of those things included having us strip naked while standing in a locked room alone with a JONAH ‘life coach’ who himself ‘struggled with same-sex attraction.’ 

That Youtube video was the first step of many that ultimately led to a consumer fraud lawsuit against JONAH. Ferguson v JONAH was filed on behalf of myself and six others by the Southern Poverty Law Center on November 27th 2012. It was because of this lawsuit that conversion therapy was found to be a fraudulent and unconscionable business practice by a jury. More importantly, it was because of this lawsuit that we got a real insight into the inner workings of the conversion therapy industry. In open court and in depositions that are mostly public record now, the junk science and emotional manipulation that fed and continues to feed groups like JONAH affiliates such as People Can Change (now known as Brother’s road), was exposed in public for the world to see."
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