Monday, August 1, 2011

Journey Into Manhood Shows Off Ex-Gay Weidrness

Journey Into Manhood, run by Rich Wyler, is back in the news after NPR covered the program in response to the Bachmann fiasco. The retreat, which is pretty fringe even among ex-gay advocates, employs controversial "touch therapy" techniques. Apparently what men with unwanted same-sex attractions need is some alone time in the woods to cuddle with one another...

The bit at the end with the wife was probably the saddest. She clearly sees how much her husband is still attracted to men, she also clearly believes what her Church has told her, specifically that if they are faithful he will change. How much destruction will she have to witness in her life when that promise doesn't come through?

1 comment:

ludovico said...

Just want to make a few points about JiM as one who is an alum of one of their weekends. I would disagree that JiM is "pretty fringe" as they hew to the standard Robert Bly/Iron John boilerplate that one finds in similar men's groups such as New Warrior Training Adventure (which is gay-welcoming and affirming) and EdgeVenture (a carbon-copy of JiM, only Christian, and not specifically concerned with "de-gaying" men w/unwanted same sex attraction, though through Christ, their true identity as men [i.e.,non-gay identified] will be realized).

JiM is non-religious, though most, if not all, the men who attended my weekend were religious, either Catholic, evangelical Christian, or orthodox Jewish.

I think JiM proved to be helpful mainly to those men who are married, with children; they were able to find other men in a similar situation from whom they could now gain support. What do we tell such men who have same-sex attraction which is unwanted? Divorce?

As far as cuddling--it was always done with a room full of men, and always fully-clothed. It was just holding each other while new-age music played and affirmations which each man had written were read.

I think that JiM gets a bad rap as portrayed in the media, as though it was some kind of deep woods, secret, depraved sex orgy. I do find it curious, however, that NWTA says you can be gay and be authentically masculine [per the Iron John template], but JiM says the way out of gay is through the exact same techniques that NWTA uses!

For the record, I am no longer on board with the goals of JiM, as my same-sex attraction is not unwanted, and I'm enjoying gay-dating, gay friends and gay activities like our recent pride parade. I just think that JiM, in particular, can be a positive influence for some men who do not wish to identify as gay.

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