Tzedek Australia is an organisation that assists Jewish victims and survivors of child sexual abuse. They are currently promoting Dr Norman Goldwasser as keynote speaker for their Community Education Forum on September 6 2015:
Dr Goldwasser has a controversial past, as outlined on Failed Messiah article “Why Is This Man On The Board Of An Organization That Claims To Fight Child Sex Abuse And Help Survivors?”.
Amongst the many concerns over Dr Goldwasser’s reputation is the persistence of his profile on Coming Out Loved listing him as practicing sexual orientation change therapies:
Increasingly across the USA organisations and practitioners that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, with Exodus and JONAH being two high-profile examples, are being discredited and the use of such practices on minors are being criminalised.
An updated Failed Messiah article expresses further concerns about Dr Norman Goldwasser, including that he is still listed as practicing reparative therapy: “Why Is A Psychologist Who Supports A Dangerous And Discredited Therapy Speaking To A Jewish Group About Child Sex Abuse?”.
Of particular concern to Aleph Melbourne is Dr Norman Goldwasser’s current claim that he treats people for “unwanted bisexuality”:
Claiming to treat “unwanted bisexuality” is admission of a sexual orientation change therapy. It is also a preposterous term he uses to avoid saying “unwanted homosexual attraction” given that bisexual people ordinarily do not have unwanted heterosexual attraction.
The Australian Psychological Society has a statement on the use of therapies that attempt to change sexual orientation. The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has a position statement on sexual orientation change efforts. Both organisations strongly warn against the use of such therapies.
Tzedek Australia has built a good reputation due to the rigorous standards set by its founder Manny Waks. With Manny Waks no longer connected to the organisation this apparent lapse in judgement on the inclusion of Dr Norman Goldwasser is concerning and places its reputation at substantial risk.
To allow a keynote speaker with a less-than-exemplary reputation and a deeply questionable professional approach toward human sexuality to engage on a topic as sensitive as child sexual abuse is of significant concern.
Tzedek Australia must set the absolute highest standards for the practitioners they engage with. If they allow Dr Norman Goldwasser to speak as advertised, whilst he still has his name listed in support of any sexual orientation change therapy, and whilst he has not issued an unambiguous public statement acknowledging the harm done by such therapies, it will be to the detriment of Tzedek Australia’s reputation and ultimately to the community they represent.
UPDATE: August 12 2015
Aleph Melbourne has just been made aware of the presence of Dr Norman Goldwasser’s signature on the document “Declaration On The Torah Approach To Homosexuality”.
This document prominently claims “Same-Sex Attractions Can Be Modified And Healed”:
Ironically Dr Norman Goldwasser’s signature is cozied up next to that of Dr Miriam Grossman, whose presence in Melbourne in 2012 similarly attracted controversy:
The footnote on the TorahDec site claims:
Actively speaking up is vital in order to prevent the terrible harm and suffering to individuals who may erroneously conclude that if they have Same-Sex Attractions (SSA) there is no hope or possibility for them to change and live a Torah sanctioned life. Change is possible and mandated by the Torah.
In the words of Tzedek Australia:
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RT @alephmelbourne: . @TzedekAustralia engages sexual orientation change therapist as keynote speaker https://t.co/WzB1rtEmyb