Undercover at Gay Conversion Camp

Ted Cox goes undercover for Good Men’s Magazine at a Mormon gay-to-straight conversion camp.  And what could be a glib or condescending article (these types of undercover articles always strike me as an unnecessary gimmick and borderline exploitative, but sometimes it is necessary to gain access a reporter otherwise wouldn’t get) is in actuality pretty touching.

For the most part, I dodge the group’s questions. But when pressed, I try to answer their questions with as much truth as possible.

I use the same cover story since I began attending ex-gay programs: From a young age, I was attracted to other guys (false); I was raised in the Mormon church (true), and served a mission (true); I married in my early 20s (true), but the marriage fell apart (true) after I fell in love with my best friend, Brian (false). After my younger brother’s suicide in 2003 (true), I reevaluated my life (true) and had a religious reconversion (false). I recently joined ex-gay ministries in 2007 (true), even though I still haven’t found a new faith (false).

Yes, I’m lying to them. And I feel horrible for it. It doesn’t help that from our long conversation during the ride to camp, I learn that these guys are good men, the kind of people you hope to have as neighbors.

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