Journey Into Manhood is a $650-per-person, ex-gay weekend boot camp for men who mistakenly believe that homosexuality is caused by inadequate masculinity. The retreat is operated by an ex-gay advocacy group called People Can Change.
In response to criticism by a pro-exgay pundit of the retreat’s controversial pro-gay origins and secret practices, PCC recently released a rigged customer-satisfaction survey which claimed overwhelming success — by excluding most of the retreat’s dissatisfied participants from the survey.
According to The Washington Blade, Doug Haldeman — a gay psychologist based in Seattle and a board member of the American Psychological Association — has joined public criticism of the survey. Haldeman said the name of the retreat, “Journey Into Manhood,” has an inherent bias presupposing that “anyone who is struggling with feelings of same-sex attraction is not a man.” Haldeman also criticized the survey for failing to identify why participants wanted to change their sexual orientation.
“Most of those groups use convenient sample surveys like that and try and call it research,” he said. “What they really are … just amounts to testimonials of people that I believe are pressured, either externally and internally, into something as difficult as trying to change your sexual orientation.”
The Washington Blade continues:
Haldeman said sexual orientation does have some fluidity, especially for people “who are basically bisexually oriented and especially for people who have, for whatever reason, some pressure internalized on themselves.”
Haldeman said determining the truthfulness of people who say they changed their sexual orientation is difficult because sexual response can’t be measured. Some “ex-gay” groups have rejected pornography response tests claiming moral objections to adult material.
“We can’t get inside their heads and figure out what they’re fantasizing about, but we do know that for whatever reason they experience strong motivation to identify as heterosexual,” he said.
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, told the Blade that the People Can Change survey is “just an infomercial for them to make more money.”
Besen took issue with how the survey asks about increases and decreases in sexual attraction.
“You’re either attracted or you’re not,” he said. “What does it mean? You had a three-quarter erection before the camp and now you have half an erection?”
Besen said the most disappointing statistics were the ones related to marriage because they demonstrate that gay men are “dragging other individuals into a mess.”
“They’re not creating marriage ‚Äî they’re creating divorces,” he said.
Besen said the retreat’s exercises were absurd. “The very methods that they’re using are bizarre and are scientifically without foundation,” he said. Besen also challenged the notion that sexual orientation could be altered over the course of one weekend. He noted that the idea is at odds with the statements of Exodus International chairman Alan Chambers, who denies observing any “change” occurring so quickly.