This current article by Besen is disturbing to me on a number of levels, not the least of which is the seeming emotional/sexual immaturity, and general lack of intactness, that seems to characterize many, if not most, of those who would become part of such a group that uses means such as the following in order to achieve its stated goals.
"In my previous column, I also discussed how the organization had some unorthodox activities. This includes:
"Blindfolded walking tours in the nude
"Men sitting in a circle discussing their sexual histories while passing a wooden dildo called “The Cock”
"Naked men beating cooked chickens with a hammer
"While this may seem bizarre to outsiders, [Journalist] Kort and [Executive Director of the ManKind Project] Griesser defended the activities as helping men accept their bodies.
“'There is so much shame about the body,' said Griesser. 'The nudity put me and others in an honest space to deal with the shame…the goal is to take men’s sexuality out of the shadows.'
"Critics also point to the harsher aspects of the program, such as meeting participants with men in dark clothing and painted faces.
“'We want to shake men up,' said Griesser. 'They can only be awakened if we shake them out of their routine.'”
When I read some posts, and many comments, regarding Gay issues on assorted blogs, I'm struck by the immaturity that characterizes them, and the amnesia that has occurred since the 1970's regarding the sophistication, maturity, and activism that then characterized many out of the closet Gay people.
When "blindfold walking tours in the nude," and other such nonsense, has come to replace grassroots activism, pride in one's God-given sexuality, and emotional intactness that characterizes a Troy Perry, a Barbara Gittings, a Franklin Kameny, and those like them, I can only wonder why these people are not considered role models by those who are pathetic and/or desperate enough to be involved with such nonsense as the above activities that the ManKind Project seems to embody.
Until and unless we all come to understand that our sexuality is a gift from God, and that the best gift God has given us, besides Oxygen, is our ability to love another human being, we will witness the pathetic and downright embarrassing actions of and by those who are emotionally immature and fragile, having seemingly bought into the homophobia of those who lack this understanding themselves.
Moreover, the very existence of such nonsense, impedes the psychological and political gains that are necessary for LGBT people to finally gain full and equal civil rights, as it plays into the hands of those who condemn Gay people as being "mentally unstable," and who are really "the other" who are merely rationalizing when they say that they are fulfilled as Gay men and women.
As harsh as it sounds, I say to all those involved in the "ex-gay" industry, and who are involved in such activities as the above in groups such as ManKind, or who in any way feel guilty about their God-given sexuality, "Grow Up!"
God made us as we are, and as long as we don't prey on others, as long as our emotional/sexual feelings and actions are loving and life-affirming, we are in the will of God, as we are acting in accordance with the way God made us!
And also know that for the man or woman of God, it is far harder to get out of God's will than it is to remain in it!