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]


  1. anon (gmail.com) says

    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.

  2. peterparker says

    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?

  3. 1♥ says

    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.

  4. Dnash says

    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.

  5. MississippiTim says

    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.

  6. stevo says

    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!

  7. says

    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 . . . .

  8. Michael says

    I went to there training a few months ago despite some not so positive things that was said by and colleuge. I had been drawn to there website on more than one occasion for several years. And being the curios man that I am, I went I have to say I am happy that I attended. There was not one bit of ANTI-GAY remarks or comments. On the contrary it was very supportive to each man for his own uniqueness. The training is not for everyone its challenging in many ways and very rewarding. As a man on a spiritual path I feel it helped me get clearer on some things in my life. If your drawn to it at all, I say go.

  9. says

    The Mankind Project is about becoming a better man, not a straight man. I went through it in 1999 and am a stronger, healthier gay man today than ever. I highly recommend it. Besen’s article is unfortunately skewed and contains false information. He will hopefully be correcting some of that soon. Read more at http://www.straightguise.com

  10. says

    This “Man Project” would never be endorsed by a Christian Ex-gay org such as Parents & Friends.20m.com or Exodus International. This sounds as pagan and New Age as it gets! I am sure that most Christian Churches would not approve of this ackward attempt at masculinity. True masculinity is learning to have a right relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not based on “pseudo-masculinity” Touching another persons penis while you are blindfolded sitting in a circle sounds pretty stupid to me.

    Please read my new book And Such Were Some of You: One Man’s Walk Out of the Gay Lifestyle if you interested in reading about true examples of masculinity. True masculinity is finally growing-up and walking past the hurts of our earlier lives. True masculinity is learning how to control our basal sinful nature and submitting it to God. That’s when you really become a man…when you submit yourself to God and say; “I have failed Lord; let’s do it your way now”!

  11. 1♥ says

    Mr. Falzarano,
    “True masculinity”, as you put it, doesn’t need the lies and fairy tales of your pro-slavery Bible. Your Bible was not written by God therefore it is not the word of God. Your statement “True masculinity is learning to have a right relationship with Jesus Christ” is absurd because there are no scriptures with Jesus commenting on “true masculinity” or homosexuality.
    Your sites proclamation of the “gay political lobbyist machine that is destroying America!” is nothing more than fear and hate-mongering disguised has religion. You feed like a parasite on the innocent gay people that must endure and surfer through the bile and hatred you and your religion force on them on a daily basis.
    As a Deist I’ll pray that your victims (a.k.a. your followers) will discover the truth that God loves them as they are and that they see you and your book for the lie that it is.

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