success rates

Journey Into Manhood’s Ex-Gays Still Actively Cruising Dudes

Conversion therapy outfits like Journey to Manhood, the ex-gay getaway retreat created by Richard Wyler and David Matheson, usually frown on reporters trying to infiltrate their secret dens of mischief. But Wyler and Matheson (pictured below) made an exception for Nightline, letting cameras roll as self-hating homosexuals engage in a $650 course of changing their sexuality. Well, letting cameras roll at a reunion — a made-for-TV regrouping of former clients. UPDATE: It appears ABC has yanked the segment offline.

It generally takes either disgruntled clients or undercover reporters to know what gay men — who are steered to these harmful programs by groups like Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) — actually are subjected to at these events. But Journey Into Manhood, an event put together by the group People Can Change, welcomed the coverage of the ABC News program. And why not? The network basically posed the question about whether ex-gay programs can work as a real possibility.

The segment left activist Wayne Besen wanting more: “JIM does not work for the vast majority of people who go through it. Yet, ABC made the critical mistake of focusing on the hand-picked alleged success stories, while largely ignoring the vast majority of attendees — which were victims who were ripped off by this scheme. Why would a network elect to create what essentially was an infomercial for JIM, while skimming over the harm perpetrated on the majority? Shouldn’t this story be told in the form of an expose from the perspective of the victims?” Besen says what ABC’s cameras filmed was a “Potemkin Village,” not the destructive “therapy” gay men actually face.

The segment does include (very brief) responses from ex-ex-gays Chaim Levin and Ben Unger, who call bullshit on the therapy.

And it also includes some pretty bold admissions from supposed ex-gays themselves, including Preston who says by age 12 he began feeling same-sex attractions, and “it wasn’t a struggle prior to that until I learned from other people and was shamed into thinking it was a problem.” That is: Preston had no problem being gay until bigots made him feel “disgusting” about it. Now Preston, who says he is “sometimes” attracted to men now, is married. And his wife Megan says the pair cruise guys together.

Well if that isn’t a resounding endorsement of Journey Into Manhood, I don’t know what is.

[ABC News]

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  • CHI79

    If you can convince a person of the existence of god, they will fall for just about anything.

  • Wonka

    THis is hot.


    Put any odds you want that you follow any one of these vile scumbag “ex-Gays” around for a month and you will find them engaging in anonymous sex more than likely barebacking at the closest cruise areas……….

  • FreddyMertz

    I’m an x-smoker…so I had an oral thing that I would not give up is dick..just sayin’.

  • daveny

    Me and my partner watched this last night. One thing we notice was the extra long embraces they were giving each other lol As if I better make the most of it now while I get a chance to touch this hot guy lol. That poor guy is probably going to kill himself because he will always like guys and will never be able to live with the fact that he likes them and is shamed into believing he is not “Normal”.

  • Red Meat

    You know all those guys are having gay sex after gay camp is over.


    @Red Meat: I saw an interivew with a 15yo Gay teen who was forced to go to a “conversion” summer camp to “de-Gay” him. For some reason the whole conversion thing just did not seem to take and he is proud and openly Gay.

    When asked about what the camp experience was like, he replied: “What do you think?, bunch of horny Gay teen boys all forced to spend an entire summer toghether in a remote camp in the woods”…..he said their motto was “lights out, dicks out”……. :p

  • Matthew

    This is disgusting. Like the saying a leopard can’t change it’s spots. truly pathetic -_-

  • Soupy

    Don’t you just want to be the hot slut that infiltrates these groups and seduces them all?

  • Dollie

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Was that the kid who posted the “confidential rules” of the camp on his Myspace page? His name was Zach or something, if I remember correctly. Good to know he’s doing well!! Do you, by chance, have the link to that interview?

  • brandon

    i would actually love to pay for this camp and laugh at all the ridiculousness that would occur for the time spent there haha.. sad that the creators of the group are making a shit load of cash by persuading these men not to be themselves.

  • prohomo

    All this is sad, delusional, false, and very enraging. These poor guys are good, sweet, sincere guys who have been hurt by society and religion’s anti-gay junk, and seek to ape stupid straight men’s take on being maleand male relationships. What utter crap. And that fat therapist: princess, you are not straight.

  • TedinCalifornia

    I’m sooo sick of this idiotic post-hoc neo-freudian bullshit. Freud was a whacko because explaining a behavior through a metaphor, after the fact isn’t science of medicine. Thank gods we have modern psychology and psychiatrics. Only a moron with no understanding of basic mental health would fall for reparative theraphy.

  • JadeLycra

    Does anyone else notice that the labels Preston wants to be recognized as can ALL be achieved while still accepting the fact that you’re gay? Father, Husband, Lover, Masculine (although that tag is so controversial) are not affected or discarded if you’re gay! How could they not have a problem with being SHAMED into being “straight”? Their comments just ooze with self hatred!

  • Michael in San Jose

    What a load of crap….ABC should be ashamed of this…

  • dlm

    @Prohomo LOL @ the therapist comment.

  • Kelly Moore

    I spent 7 years in a ‘counseling ministry’ like this and realized it should’ve been called ‘White-Knuckling-It’. It did nothing but help me come to terms with who I was and finally come out. Praise God. I also learned where the gay bars were and that my counselor was attracted to the man laying his new roof.

  • patty

    @Michael in San Jose: Agreed.
    “not legitimate “from a clinical standpoint”

    How is this legitimate from ANY standpoint?! And, outside of softball journalism, we say SCAM, not “non-scientific”. If this were any other scam, ABC would report it as such.

    It’s sad that people can get away for preying on others like this.

  • prohomo

    @TedinCalifornia: Hi five to your truthful statemnt! You said it right!

  • Alex

    If you’ve ever been around ex gays it’s really creepy.

  • Alex

    It’s my dream to work my body into perfect 10 mode and attend one of those things.

  • Little Kiwi

    This was an appalling program, and I’m frankly stunned that ABC aired it. I tuned in fully expecting an intelligent and intellectually HONEST look at the ex-gay movement, and instead it sure seems like ABC sure does promote ex-gay ‘treatments’ as a viable alternative to…you know…honesty.

    None of these men are ex-gays. They’re simply desperate to please the anti-gay bigots in their lives that they’ll convince themselves of anything. I’m truly appalled at ABC for this. What about the many more who kill themselves after ex-therapy has failed them? What about the reality that the VAST majority of ex-gays end up renouncing the whole process as delusional lies and cockamamie nonsense?

    Ex-gays are sad men with bigoted and ignorant families and they’re all terrified of emasculation because they subscribe to the bullshit of a patriarchal society.

    I’m gay. I’m proud. I’m happy. My life rocks.

    There are more happy GAY-gays than there are happy and successful EX-gays. That should tell you something….

  • Aaron in Honolulu


  • Rikard

    the cathartic weeping session accompanied by Carly Simon singing Itsy Bitsy Spider was more than i could tolerate without snorting in laughter till i choked on my own phlegm and gagged till i was appropriately nauseous.

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