PTSD Memoir: Worst Therapist – Part 2

David-Elijah Nahmod is a film critic and reporter in San Francisco. His articles appear regularly in The Bay Area Reporter and SF Weekly. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

David developed Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) after surviving gay conversion therapy as a child and has found that many in the LGBT community suffer from severe, often untreated emotional disorders due to the extreme anti-gay traumas they endured. This column chronicles his journey.

The Worst Therapist In The World – Part 2

Awhile back in this column I recalled a former friend who has a history of throwing tantrums in public and of going on vindictive rampages against anyone who said anything he disagreed with. What was so disturbing to me about Danny’s behavior is that he’s a therapist–Danny is a mentally unstable gay man who had been entrusted with the mental health care of other LGBT people.

During the course of the 18 months that I knew Danny I saw him viciously attack one person after another, often at the slightest provocation–on at least one occasion he filed a false police report because he wanted to piss his target off. At one point he expressed a desire to physically hurt the supervisor at the mental health clinic where he worked. “I want to cut the bitch,” were Danny’s exact words.

As I wrote earlier, I reported Danny’s alarming behavior to the California Board of Behavior Sciences, the office which licenses him to practice as a mental health care provider. The Board dismissed my complaint without even attempting to verify whether or not what I was reporting to them was true. According to the Board, I could not file a complaint against Danny because he wasn’t my therapist. The fact that he expressed a desire to “cut the bitch” was of no concern to the Board.

Danny and I have not spoken in several years, and my life has been all the better for it. A few weeks ago a mutual friend told me that he was no longer living in the United States. Danny had broken up with his boyfriend–a boyfriend I had been accused of trying to steal him from even though I had zero interest in being in a relationship with him. Soon after the breakup, Danny married someone else with whom he now lives in Ireland. The two left the USA in order to escape the horrors of the Trump presidency, though to be honest, I can’t fault them for that.

Out of curiosity, I asked the mutual friend to let me have a look at Danny’s Facebook page–I had blocked Danny some time ago. What I saw was as disturbing, and as sad, as everything, I saw during our friendship.

Most of Danny’s posts came across like manic episodes. Among his many bizarre rants was his declaration that all liberals were his enemy–Danny labels himself “progressive”. He’s on the “there’s no difference between Trump and Clinton” bandwagon and considers Hilary Clinton voters to be sellouts to a vague corporate patriarchy which he seems unable to define. Of course, everyone is morally obligated to agree with everything he says–or else. As far as Danny is concerned, being a “Queer radical standing up for social justice” means that he is infallible and above criticism of any kind.

I’m not a psychiatrist and am in no position to make a medical diagnosis, but I don’t think I’m stretching the truth to say that Danny is mentally ill. I’ve breathed several sighs of relief at the realization that he’s no longer in the USA and therefore no longer able to practice as a therapist here. I shudder to think of how much harm he might have done to his client base.

That the California Board of Behavioral Sciences knowingly entrusted a mentally unstable man to work as a mental health care provider within an already traumatized LGBT community is shameful and reckless. The Board needs to do some serious thinking about its woefully low standards.

And make no mistake about it–we are a traumatized people. Decades, perhaps centuries of being subjected to anti-gay hate has turned us into the very monsters we claim to be standing against. Danny’s behavior is a sad example of what all too often passes for normal, acceptable behavior in the Queer community. Just look at the “Queers for Palestine,” who march “in solidarity” with a government who would murder them. Or the infamous Cathy Brennan, a self-described “radical lesbian feminist” engaged in a bitter vendetta against the entire transgender community. Brennan’s well-documented behavior includes contacting schools to out trans kids and contacting transwomen’s personal physicians. None of this is hearsay–screenshot’s of Brennan’s emails to schools and doctor’s offices have been posted online for all to see:

Most recently Brennan has taken to posting her home address on Twitter, challenging trans activists to come for her–she has also boasted about purchasing a gun so she can protect herself from all the rampaging transgenders she feels are out to get her. The implications of Brennan’s behavior are terrifying.

Both Danny and Brennan are among thousands and thousands of gay/Queer “activists” who engage in horrifically abusive behavior as part of their normal everyday routine. Organizations whose job it is to stand up for and protect our community, like GLAAD and The Trevor Project, continue to knowingly look the other way while this kind of behavior goes on.

Is this how sane, rational people behave?

The Queer community needs and deserves proper mental health care if we are to heal ourselves from what has been done to us. That can’t happen unless offices like the California Board of Behavioral Sciences or LGBT advocacy groups are held accountable for their refusal to adhere to their own mission statements.  We need and deserve better therapists and better advocacy groups.

For another perspective on this topic, please read “Is LGBTQ Infighting A Sign That We’re Becoming Our Own Abusers?” By Warren J. Blumenfeld, an openly gay professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst:


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