"Ex-Gays" | News | Wayne Besen

Wayne Besen on the "Ex-Gay" Nude Warrior Adventure

At PageOneQ, Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out discusses the latest trend in "ex-gay" reparative therapy, The ManKind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure:

Ritual"This cult-like national program is a $650 weekend boot camp where participants - mostly straight - are greeted by large, intimidating men dressed in dark clothing and faces painted black. During their stay, the men are forced to take cold showers, survive on about four hours sleep, and subsist on very little food. In follow-up meetings, the activities include shaving another man's face, kidnapping a member of another camp group and changing clothes with other men. The idea is to help them get in-touch with their feelings and uncover and heal deep wounds that are barriers to successful lives."

One "ex-gay" who committed suicide after attending the camp described its bizarre rituals which included "blindfolded walking tours in the nude, people blowing sage smoke in his face while 50 or so naked men danced around candles, men sitting in a circle discussing their sexual histories while passing a wooden dildo called The Cock, and naked men beating cooked chickens with a hammer."

Besen adds that the wife of a man who attended the project told a Houston paper why he left: "So, everyone was sitting Indian-style in a big circle in the lodge when the man leading the group said, 'if you wish, you may reach over and grab your brother's dick. If your brother doesn't want your hand there, he can remove it.' Well, my husband told me he just froze. And, from that point on, he just wanted out."

Uh, yeah.

ADDENDUM: A reader has notified me that Wayne Besen recanted his claims that the Mankind Project is anti-gay and that their New Warrior Project is an "ex-gay" retreat. Besen's mea culpa is here.

Wayne Besen: Nude warrior adventure [pageoneq]
Truth Wins Out [official site]

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  1. Thank you Mom and Dad for raising a well adjusted son.

    Man, these people are just soooo fucked up it is actually really sad.

    Posted by: Will | Nov 29, 2007 12:40:43 PM

  2. sounds like "But I'm a Cheerleader"

    Posted by: dion | Nov 29, 2007 12:42:31 PM

  3. well... the concept sounded pretty hot...

    a little awry in the execution. (could still make for a good porn movie).

    Posted by: James P. | Nov 29, 2007 12:44:47 PM

  4. LMAO! I agree with James P.

    These guys sound gayer than us!

    Posted by: MT | Nov 29, 2007 12:47:34 PM

  5. I think I just found the theme for my next Halloween party! But please, bring your own fake chickens and hammers.

    Posted by: junior | Nov 29, 2007 12:49:24 PM

  6. And this is aimed to make a gay guy go straight?

    Are you shitting me!?!?!?!

    Posted by: Allen | Nov 29, 2007 12:59:17 PM

  7. Are they still in "therapy" or is this some sort of retreat where they recharge their batteries? They hardly seem to be avoiding same sex attraction here. Beyond bizarre.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Nov 29, 2007 12:59:27 PM

  8. How completely bizarre. A couple of years ago, I wrote a story in my comic where the main character, Troy, goes to an ex gay camp where all the guys run around naked and are encouraged to "comfort" one another. Only I played the thing as a joke. These guys are truely bizarre. http://www.derryproducts.com/Troy_124LayYourHands.html

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Nov 29, 2007 1:02:25 PM


    Posted by: Darren | Nov 29, 2007 1:03:53 PM

  10. I'm confused. The article says that this is a camp for men seeking to change their orientation from gay to straight. But it also says most of the participants are straight. Can someone clarify?

    Posted by: peterparker | Nov 29, 2007 1:06:23 PM

  11. That is so psychotic.

    Posted by: Wes | Nov 29, 2007 1:08:50 PM

  12. I remember that Troy comic. It was terrific. It's really hard to create satire when the truth is so bizarre.

    Posted by: sam | Nov 29, 2007 1:10:44 PM

  13. Yes, these are very, VERY well attended, monthly retreats. No gurls allowed.

    Wasn't this a skit on "Kids in the hall"?

    Posted by: Rad | Nov 29, 2007 1:26:09 PM

  14. Where can I sign up?

    Posted by: Gregoire | Nov 29, 2007 1:28:27 PM

  15. Wow, it sounds like the ex-gays are getting more cock than I am.

    P.S. I'm a big fan of the Troy comics. Maybe Andy could interview the artist (Micheal Derry) for the site.

    Posted by: 1♥ | Nov 29, 2007 1:37:59 PM

  16. I'm a bit puzzled. A good friend of mine - who's an out gay man - has been a participant with one of these Mankind Project groups for a number of years. As far as I know there is nothing "ex-gay" about them. I read something a year or two ago where a small number of members somewhere tried to insert an ex-gay tone to it, but the national organization ended up going against that.

    Posted by: Dnash | Nov 29, 2007 1:40:07 PM

  17. Following on my earlier comment - here's a link to a post on Joe Perez's "Gay Spirituality" blog. It includes a statement from Mankind Project's leaders declaring that they do not participate in "reparative therapy" and that they do not endorse outside groups' attempts to use Mankind Project warrior training as part of "reparative therapy":


    Posted by: DNASH | Nov 29, 2007 1:43:10 PM

  18. Maybe Trent Lott needs to get naked and beat some baked chicken--if he hasn't
    been doing so already...

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 29, 2007 1:45:37 PM

  19. Sounds like an S&M version of a "Radical Fairies" get-together.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 29, 2007 1:57:51 PM

  20. I'm gay and went through the New Warrior training in May 2003. I was sponsored for my weekend by a gay man and the plus for me in going was that there would be a large number of gay men staffing the weekend.

    In no way, shape or form have I ever felt I was being recruited for the ex-gay movement...not on my weekend and not in my IGroup (which, in fact, I shared - until I moved to return to school - with another gay man).

    There are entire weekends devoted, exclusively, to Gay/Bi-sexual men held throughout the country. Their sexuality is affirmed from beginning to end. There are gay men who are leaders within the movement.

    The Houston Press article is truly sickening and nothing but a hack-job. The stories from every one of the confidential interviewees was hearsay, secondary source material while those who went on the record, members of MKP whether active or not, did not hide behind anonymity. That should tell you something.

    Posted by: MississippiTim | Nov 29, 2007 1:58:07 PM

  21. check out Mankind Project's webpage http://mkp.org/, nothing ex-gay about them at all so the story must be bogus.

    Posted by: the queen | Nov 29, 2007 3:13:57 PM

  22. As a PR guy working in Houston I can tell you most of what you read in the Houston Press is crap...except for the restaurant reviews,,,that Robb Walsh sure knows his tex-mex dives!

    Posted by: stevo | Nov 29, 2007 3:18:04 PM

  23. HOT!!!

    Posted by: ReasonBased | Nov 29, 2007 5:57:27 PM

  24. fun!

    sounds like hazing

    Posted by: Jordan | Nov 29, 2007 7:50:16 PM

  25. Been there, done that. And this article is completely wrong, unless it is reporting some sort of weird splinter group from the main movement. My experience with these people was very "butch", yes, but in no way anti-gay or recruiting for straightness. Many, many leaders in the movement are gay and proud. On the whole, I found them to be well-meaning but, like everyone in similar movements, extremely deluded as to their own importance in the scheme of things. 'Weekend Warriors' describes their trip perfectly. Not bad, just a bit lost, looking for masculinity in a society they consider over-feminized, but in my experience there is NO homophobia, none at all. And BTW, I completed their training but never went back - like a one-night stand with that tatooed guy from the traveling midway attractions . . . .

    Posted by: Leducdor | Nov 30, 2007 4:18:45 AM

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