Michael Ferguson tells AC360° that he participated in "very strange" interventions as part of a controversial therapy that was intended to change patients' sexuality from gay to straight.
Now he's suing the New Jersey counseling center Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) with three other men based on consumer-fraud and because of the traumatic experience.
"I was part of a group that formed a human barricade and on the other side of that barricade were a pair of oranges meant to represent another man's testicles. And there was a participant in the exercise who was supposed to break through that barricade and...squeeze them and drink the juice from them, and shove them down his pants. And all this was to symbolize that his homosexuality was related to his lack of masculinity," says Ferguson about one of the activities.
He tells Wolf Blitzer that he suffered from anxiety and depression and thought of hurting himself after trying and failing to do what he was told was possible – switching sexual orientation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is representing the plaintiffs because they believe JONAH's services have no truth to them, and the outcome could set a precedent for other reparative therapy lawsuits.
"This idea that people can change their sexual orientation by doing these absurd treatments...is just completely fraudulent...we feel very confident we'll succeed in this case," says Christine Sun, deputy legal director of the SPLC.
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