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:
“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.”
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.