Ted Cox’s Journey Into Manhood
April 13th, 2010
We’ve had Tex Cox here before, writing about meeting Caleb Lee Brundidge during an ex-gay “Journey Into Manhood” event. (Cox would later discover that Brundidge was one of the three Americans who appeared at the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Kampala, otherwise known as the “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda”.) Cox is a straight former Mormon journalist who spent more than a year undercover in the ex-gay movement posing as a gay Christian man struggling to overcome his homosexuality. He’s currently writing a book about his experiences in the ex-gay movement, and this week he embarks on a series about attending a Journey Into Manhood weekend. The first part of his series debuted on Stinque on Monday, and the second excerpt was posted today. The entire series has been uploaded onto Scribd.
Journey Into Manhood, an ex-gay program recommended by NARTH, is one of those wilderness programs ostensibly designed to allow gay men to get in touch with their masculinity while addressing the lack of affection and affirmation they supposedly received from their fathers. By doing so, goes the unproven theory, they fill their so-called masculine gender deficit, and become heterosexual. Or more heterosexual than they were before. Or celibate. Well that’s the theory anyway, and its one that Cox found wanting:
I don’t remember exactly when I felt his erection pressing into my back. It might have been while he whispered in my ear, “Long ago, you were the Golden Child. But, somehow, that Golden Child was hurt, and you put up a wall to protect yourself.”
…I sat on the floor between the outstretched legs of a camp guide, my head leaning back against his shoulder. The guide sat behind me, his arms wrapped around my chest. This hold was called “The Motorcycle.” Five men surrounded the two of us, their hands resting gently on my arms, legs and chest.
There were about ten other groups like this sitting on the floor in the darkened room: one guide giving “healing-touch therapy” while the surrounding men rested their hands on the receiver. Some men were held in the Motorcycle position. Others were turned towards their guide, cradled the way a parent would hold a sobbing child who had just scraped her knee on the sidewalk.
Being able to tell the story about Journey Into Manhood posed a particular challenge for Cox. Because Cox has signed a confidentiality agreement, JiM threatened legal action to keep the story from going public. But Cox said that he felt that, confidentiality agreement or no, he had to shine the light on the ex-gay movement:
I had to. If I don’t talk about this, this is going to keep happening. I met one man who is married and has children and he would go online to hook up with other men and he was having anonymous sex with strangers and then going home to his wife. Another man was married and making phone calls to gay-sex chat lines and his daughter discovered the bill. A lot of these men are living lies and it affects themselves, their wives, their children. I can’t stay silent about this. I feel like there’s a greater good in talking about this and exposing what’s going on.