Ted Cox went undercover into the ex-gay industry for a solid year.

As part of his investigation he attended the secretive retreat, Journey into Manhood (JiM). This experience included getting another man’s erection shoved into his back – in the guise of therapy. By the way, Ted is straight, so kudos for his having to put up with such nonsense. Here is what he also had to say:

While the ex-gay movement has publicly declared that they can bring “freedom from homosexuality,” there’ no evidence that someone can change his or her orientation through these religiously motivated programs. Rather than turning straight, the men and women that I met throughout this project dealt with a cycle of repression, backsliding into sin, then shame, guilt, and repentance. These programs collect hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on a promise they can’t deliver.

These programs are dangerous. Ex-gay watchdog groups document the stories of men who, after years of failed attempts to become straight, resort to suicide. Later I’ll introduce you to Eric, a fellow JiM attendee who would hook up with men on Craigslist and then go home to his unsuspecting wife. For many men in ex-gay programs, often their wives, friends, family, and church members have no idea they struggle with SSA.

What I saw and experienced at JiM both enraged and disturbed me. I had trouble staying in character as I watched one man, as part of his therapy, act out beating his father to death with a baseball bat ‚Äî just one of several “Are you kidding?” moments. How anyone could believe that a JiM weekend could turn a man straight still baffles me.

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