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N.Y. state Assembly to consider ban on gay conversion therapy for minors

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
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Matthew Shurka of Long Island, N.Y., says he remains emotionally scarred from five years of attempts to "cure" his homosexuality.

Matthew Shurka of Long Island, N.Y., says he remains emotionally scarred from five years of attempts to “cure” his homosexuality.

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Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, a California licensed clinical psychologist who founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, believes that conversion therapy only works when patients are motivated to change.

“We see homosexual behavior as the client’s or the patients attempt to repair something deficit within themselves, mainly masculinity,” Nicolosi said. “According to the theory of reparative therapy, the male homosexual is engaging in homosexual activity to connect to the masculinity he feels he possesses within himself.”

Shurka said he decided to take part in the conversion therapy after feeling scared and confused about his attraction to men.

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“My only focus became becoming heterosexual,” Shurka said. “I felt like this was the most important thing. It was out of fear, but no one held a gun to my head and said ‘you’re doing conversion therapy.’”

While Shurka was still underage, he said the therapist advised him to watch heterosexual pornography and practice certain masturbation techniques to curb his attraction to men. He said that didn’t work, however, because he instead focused on the men.

A conversion therapist also advised Shurka to avoid women— including his mother and sister— and surround himself with male friends to pick up their heterosexual mannerisms so he could become “one of the boys.”

After five years of therapy, Shurka embraced being gay and said that therapy wasn’t going to change that.

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