Perennially straight writer Ted Cox has taken up an interest in ex-gay groups, and decided to go undercover for a weekend “Journey Into Manhood” seminar by the group People Can Change. Journey Into Manhood is one of those weekend manhood warrier-in-the-woods exercise that is supposed to put participants in touch with their masculine side and, thus, reduce their same-sex attractions. People Can Change claim an astounding 79% success rate, in which they define success as a decrease in same-sex attractions. People Can Change’s claims, like those of other snake-oil sale pitches, have not been subjected to peer review or outside scrutiny.
But when Cox was ready to submit his story for publication in the (Salt Lake) City Weekly, JiM founder and life coach Rich Wyler quickly intervened, urging City Weekly not to run Cox’s story because Cox signed a confidentiality agreement barring him from speaking about the weekend,” according to the paper. Instead, the City Weekly published a two-question almost non-informative interview with Cox in which the reader learns almost nothing and must wonder why the paper chose to publish the interview in the first place — except that People Can Change has things they want to hide, and the only way to discover what their doing with their clients is to go undercover:
And the reason you have to go undercover is because there is no other way to find out what’s going on. These organizations cloud themselves with secrecy; everything is hidden—it’s blocked; it’s behind confidentiality agreements. How do we know if what Wyler is doing is ethical unless someone can take a look at it and critique it?
Cox discovered Journey Into Manhood when he learned that Richard Cohen endorsed it. Journey Into Manhood is based on similar to the New Warriors Training Adventure put on by the gay-affirming Mankind Project. According to reports, the Mankind Project has decided this year to move toward transparency following the suicide of a NWTA participant in 2007.