I met an incredible group of men at the LA Pride Festival in 2016. I immediately made my decision that I would support their efforts in any way possible but hesitant to work on myself.
Finally a few weeks before the LA October 2016 Gateway NWTA, I made the decision to go up that mountain to Camp Colby to do my work. The main reason was, I recognized the fact that I am willing to be of service to men and particularly GBTQ men but i was not willing to be of service to myself.
I have retreated in life, angry, sad and frustrated with how GBTQ men treat each other. Relationships were out of the questions and new friends were out as well. My life only consisted of work and the few friends that I have kept as a 54 year old man.
Hesitant in participating and still unwilling to do my work and with an almost uncontrollable urge to run down that mountain, to my surprise and amazement, I found more incredible men. Men willing to do their work and men there to support us.
My belief has always been to speak my truth. But what I realized on that mountain is that my dark shadow behavior around my own GBTQ tribe or community has taken over. A new perspective has emerged, a new way of relating to my tribe has emerged and a new way to support that tribe has emerged. The work continues!
Happiness and joy with my tribe prevails! ~ Eddie
When I attended my training weekend I knew it would be something extraordinary and different than anything I had ever done before. I also, knew it would challenge parts of my belief system but I was up for the challenge and ready to do the work required to live my full potential. I wasn't sure really what my full potential was I just knew there had to be more.
That was the key for me, I wanted more tools to help me live my life authentically and courageously. My training weekend introduced me to many different ways of looking /working at my life and some incredible men who unconditionally supported me through that process. Although I grew up with three brothers I never knew a brotherhood like what I found and continue to find at MKP.
I came out as a gay man many years ago and I walk life proudly however I am not exempt from certain homophobia that our culture has ingrained in us. The many people to whom I have daily interactions that simply don't believe I am an equal because I am gay. Well, none of those opinions are my business and my continued fellowship with MKP gives me the tools, resources, and relationships to live in my truth with confidence and courage.
Don't get me wrong, it didn't happen overnight. There was work to be done and that is exactly what starts to happen on the weekend -- skillful, loving and masterful men caring for men in the most remarkable ways. -Eddie Wilson
I did my NWTA in 2007 when I was around 52. A therapist suggested it. I had never heard of the Mankind Project before (sounded too woogie-woogie for me!) and information then on the 'net was a mixed bag. So, I signed up, went with an open mind …and much skepticism. What I got totally knocked me out—it was an experience quite unlike any other in my life.
On my Weekend, it was OK to rely on other men. I learned to trust others (a bit). I witnessed and felt compassion; love; empathy, and (something called) authenticity. I touched deeper self-truths about feeling abandoned and lost; anger and the fear-stories that unconsciously ran my life.
My experience rippled out and created positive shifts in my relationships with my wife, my family and with myself. It drove my curiosity to figure out and to work on the other inside stories that gave me a false sense of "safety" while robbing my brilliance. Heroic stuff.
Before MKP, I kept my insecurities about my life as a gay man from my friends, family,
and myself. I feared their disapproval and escaped my pain and fear.
As a result, depression, addiction, and other vices became part of my life.
After attending the NWTA weekend, I knew consciously and unconsciously that life as
I knew it would never be the same. I focused on my self-worth and self-esteem,
instead of trying to gain acceptance of others.
Gradually, I discovered, with the help of MKP men, a new way being of a gay man,
which was focused more within me rather than on the outside world. In addition, I am
proud to be in a community of men of all orientations, where we help and support each
other to be the men we want to be. -DC Benn
I began work on creating the first New Warrior Training specifically for gay/bi men
choosing to stand in my power as a gay man and as a result, the first Gay/Bi New
Warrior Training happened in November, 2003.
I attended my Training Adventure in February, 1996. The Training was more than
I had bargained for, easily having the most impact on me than anything I had experienced before. As one of only two gay men at the weekend, I consciously blended in, convinced that who I was as a
sexual being was not going to be welcomed, safe or necessary.
This was how I lived my life…relegating my sexuality to the closet and repressing a
huge part of my being to satisfy the demands of society. Today, I am still challenged
to stand fully in my power as a gay man, and I continue to come out step by step in
my professional life. I do so with the support of a wonderful community of initiated
gay brothers and allies who have my back both in Tucson and from around the world.
The work is not over. -Thomas Sayler-Brown
I was initiated in a Gateway in DC in 2009, and although I know better now, in the lead
up to my weekend, I believed that only in such a structure could I feel safe enough to do
the work I had at that point been longing to do for DECADES: the work of claiming my
masculine power in a culture that had withheld it from me because of the type of man
I came to the New Warrior Training Adventure weekend seeking a new relationship to
masculine power: my own and that of other men. I came having survived childhood abuse and neglect, shame, addiction. I came having already traveled far on the road to self-recovery, decades into
12-step Recovery, years into therapy, and approaching the age of fifty.
What I found was a challenge to consider new ways of approaching the challenges of life, and life itself. I was held while I did some of the most terrifying and painful self-examination and growth work I
have ever done. Ultimately, I left the weekend with a set of skills that have allowed me
to live a life of increasing authenticity and joy. I return to the Weekend regularly now, as a
Staff Man, because I know that any man who is willing to turn and look at his shadows,
to turn and look within, can leave this weekend empowered to grow into his most Heroic Self.
Michel Léger, Sovereign Trickster Wolf
Initiated July 2009, Claymont Court, Charles Town West Virginia
Mankind Project--Greater Washington
My life was changed for the better back in January 2007 when I went through the Gay/Bi New Warrior Adventure Training on a cold Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona. There I learned how I could take more ownership for my life, strengthen my commitments, stand in my power and belong to a great community of men. Since then, I’ve built on what I learned with the tools given me. I sharpen those tools weekly by participating in a men’s group where I gain support from and provide support to other men. This support and the tools I learn, help me with my work, with my children and with all my relationships. The Weekend Adventure was a key turning point in my life. -Warren T
This ongoing work has done much for me. I have all but banished “not good enough” from my consciousness. It had dogged me all my life and kept me small. For the first time in my life I have real male friends with whom I am not ashamed to work my shadows. They call me out regularly and help me grow. At my first elder gathering I was asked if I wished to declare as an elder. My knee-jerk reaction was “I’m not worthy to sit with these men”. I did it anyway and that small act of courage has given me permission to act like an elder – to more freely share my lifetime of hard earned wisdom, to recognize and develop those qualities that make a man an elder, and to bless freely. My path in MKP now points me toward the training to eventually become a Ritual Elder.
I have expanded and refined my mission of service and it fulfills me, provides me great joy:I am co-creating a world of safety, support and peace for gay youth and gay elders, by seeking those in need and enlisting others to help. These are the most vulnerable groups of my tribe and the most in need. I am mentoring a young man and visiting an older man in an assisted living facility. I speak at church gatherings, at staffings and wherever I find the opportunity. I am educating and making folks aware. It brings peace to our world, and to my soul.
My other and equal passion, energized by my awareness of what MKP has meant in my life, is inviting more men to join us – to heal their wounds and grow, to do service to change our world, and to develop their own leadership. I love to talk to men and it gets easier as I keep doing it. I download posters and brochures, put my contact info on them and post them in my area. Men call me because what we are and what we do is attractive.
I’m not small anymore. Blessings -Tom Reilly
“I like to be called queer these days.”
I’ve always felt an inner sense, a knowing, that whatever I am, whatever I can be – can and will be real. MY truth will out.
In childhood, being picked last for the team did not stop me from excelling. Being called gay or sissy did not deter me from seeking connection. And yet somehow I got lost in the dark. Alone. I felt this most strongly at age nine or so when I described a dream to my mother involving two men. It was a child’s dream: playful and adventurous. She said, “Well, you’re a queer.” That was 1980. I didn’t know any gays or queers that were out. I was isolated from any political groups that could claim that word back from the “hetero-normative” world. I had never heard that word before. But I knew exactly what it meant. And the tone in my mother’s voice conveyed disappointment. In response, I felt shame.
I carried this with me long after I came out with my sexuality – whatever that is exactly. I’m mainly attracted to men but there have been a handful of significant women in my life that have transcended friendship. I like to be called queer these days.
But that’s only due to my journey following The New Warrior Training Adventure. I was introduced to it by a male couple who talked about their men’s group. That inner knowing was tingling in me enough to ask them about it. Soon, I was on a weekend with straight men all around me with all of my fears and judgments of them. I still didn’t trust them. But the support they gave me regardless was telling. They loved me just as I am and gave me what I came for. After that, it would be up to me to continue my alchemical process of transforming my inner self so that my outer world could reflect new and brighter things. I dare say it has.
I am now figuring out what I am these days, likely Bi. I am a storyteller, software sales/marketing knight, a mathematician (deep inside and farther in my past), and an avid reader and learner.
I am also a father of two extraordinary daughters. I come from Romania, where back in the days when I left any open exploration of a sexual orientation other than straight was seriously frowned upon.
I came here to the United States 11 years ago, pursuing freedom and a spiritual teaching that changed my life and took me out of my native cradle.
Going through my NWTA roughly two years ago got me out of a deep rut. I was feeling stuck, directionless, depressed and ill at ease not having my own voice. I was able to gain back my courage and passion, trust men again, acknowledge that I have great help and support in a loving community—and to truly value and joyfully offer the gift that I am to the world. What I tell everyone who asked me what I got out that weekend is: “I got back into my body.” -Andrei Armeanu.
When my best friend told me about the New Warrior Training Adventure, my presumption was, “Play Army with straight guys? No thanks!” I didn’t even ask any questions. Five years later as several other gay friends did the NWTA, I saw them beginning to achieve their goals in life. I figured they must have gotten tools from this training. I was feeling stuck. Maybe I could get these tools.
What I got was so much more! The thing I most value, is learning how to sort out my emotions, especially during a conflict with someone. Before, my emotions were a tangled mess. Now I am able to recognize and express the full range of emotions, especially anger, in ways that are healthy for me and those I love. Being involved in the community has helped me to develop leadership skills. I also love being able to receive and give support through my MKP I-Group men’s circle.- Rod Sauquillo
I’m a gay man, a computer scientist, a ballet dancer, an iPhone app developer, a playful
geek, and a New Warrior.
I tell people of my New Warrior Training Adventure, that it filled ancient holes in my soul.
Things I didn’t even know I was missing were offered to me that weekend, and I found
myself in tears of fulfillment several times. I was fortunate to attend the first training
specifically for GBTQ men, and found being initiated with my brothers to be profoundly
My intentions going into my training were to step into my power, to embrace my
masculinity, and to get in touch with my anger. On that weekend and in my subsequent
involvement with the ManKind Project—sitting in circle with men every week—
I’ve received that and so much more as I’ve become a part of this loving community.
- Dan Craft
My landscaping company, Garth’s Gardens, in Marin County reflects my love for nature.
So does my other long-time work as a nature writer, educator and storyteller. I’ve lived life pretty damn adventurously, and I relish mountains to climb—both real and metaphorical—but
sometimes life can deliver such huge blows, such overwhelming challenges, losses,
and wounds we don’t choose that sometimes it’s almost too much to bear. That was me.
The New Warrior Training Adventure weekend was a new birth for me after a time of
great loss. The load of sadness and weight of shame had me thinking I could not go on.
The NWTA gave me a whole new start, a new vision and fresh hope, and in a sense a
new self. That was six years ago. The years since are increasingly excellent, and the
ongoing support of men in the MKP community has been invaluable and a joyful
adventure in itself.
- Garth Gilchrist
I was a divorced father with two sons. A straight dental colleague recommended the MKP New Warrior weekend to me in 1993 as my “next step.” I was openly out as a gay man at that time. I had earned
my DDS dental degree, served as a dental officer in the US Navy, and was a successful
general dentist in San Diego.
I constantly attempted to convince myself that I was okay with accomplishment after
accomplishment. During my New Warrior weekend I “made peace” with my deceased
father and in so doing became my own man.
I was successful before my New Warrior Training Adventure weekend…and as a result
of the support of gay, bi, and straight men in The ManKind Project, I became even more
successful. -Carl Jepsen, DDS, PhD
My life was doing great. I was enjoying work, relationships were good. A co-worker asked me,
“Do you want to go on a New Warrior Training Adventure this weekend? It will change your life.” I said, “Sure.”
The weekend training launched me to another level of life.
That weekend, I realized I had spent years trying “not to be” judgmental, to “not be” angry.
There were events in my life that I was judgmental and angry about – from heterosexist
and religious bias to personal tragedies.
On that weekend I got in touch with feelings , and left behind the need to try to “not be”
anything. As I got in touch with and accepted more of all of who I am, the energy that I
had used to try to push down feelings was freed up, so that I had more energy for living.
I remember leaving that weekend feeling so alive, and wanting to keep that feeling as
much as I could for the rest of my life.
That was back in October, 2003. Since then, I have enjoyed gathering
with men (and women, through related organizations), both staffing and attending other
events and trainings. I have met weekly with other men for the past 8 years to continue
reinforcing and reminding myself of the principles I was brought face to face with on my
New Warrior Training Adventure weekend. I continue to look at my life, be open and
honest with others about what is going on, and am supported in becoming more like
I want to be in this world. David Monroe
“On my actual birthday, July 24, 1998, I found myself on my way to the New Warrior
Training Adventure through the MKP Houston Community. What led me there was a
combination of ending my 12-year relationship with my partner, being outed in a job
through a school district threatening my place there and my addictive triggers taking
control. Something had to shift for depression and despair were on board and running
Terrified and at the same time excited with readiness, I dove into the training with
complete abandon. Was I afraid of straight men? YES Did I trust men? NO Was my life packed with mundane existence yearning for more? ABSOLUTELY. By the end of the weekend, the answers
and treasures I discovered were in ME. I found my voice, my truth, my power and allow
myself to release fear, shame and old narratives. A realization hit me that what I do not
transform, I will continue to transmit.
13 years later, the men and women in my life are abundant and surround me.
They love, challenge, embrace, and support me in ways I could have never imagined.
MKP surpasses an initiation or an educational training. It allows one to find the essence
and GIFT within.”
My whole life I felt different from men and women…like I didn’t fit in anywhere. even as
I came into acceptance with being gay, I still was plagued by “stories” I told myself which
caused me to constantly police my actions, feelings and authenticity. The result left me
surrounded by hundreds of people who really didn’t know “Tim” and I was alone,
depressed and planning my relapse.
A dear friend, who has always loved me for who I was suggested ManKind Project. It
only took me a couple of years to gain the nerve to sign up. My deeper truth is I doubt I
would of seen another year if I didn’t do something different.
I arrived terrified and from the minute I stepped onto the campsite, my comfort zone was
challenged and I felt support. the knowledge and awareness I gained over that 3 day
weekend was invaluable. All the therapy, self-affirming conversations I had in my head
paled in comparison to the amount of self esteem and integrity I gained.
I’ve staffed a few weekends since and walk into camp a proud, gay man with 45 years of
life experience, 24 years of recovery, and a clear understanding of the man I want to
become and the courage and dedication to become that man.
I no longer feel like I need to police my actions, nor place myself second to straight
people. I am a loving, confident, authentic gay man at last.
Tim Thompson “koi” New Warrior since September 2010
The NWTA and the follow-up group work has been a major part of the change that has occurred in my life these past nine years. This organization has provided the space for me to claim my place in this world as a man whose is gay. I denied that part of myself for so many years, but realized I was not in integrity with my core being. Since I have embraced that part of myself and have learned to love that part of who I am, I have become a much happier man and I believe a better Dad, brother, son, educator, and friend. -Dennis Nicely
I highly recommend the MKP New Warrior Adventure personally and professionally. I went through the program in September, 1999 and found it to be life changing. I have been to numerous workshops and trainings for myself personally and professionally and believe MKP to be one of the best. I was in need of healing around the wounding I experienced from straight males for being gay throughout my childhood.
I never felt so loved and respected by heterosexual men as I have in the MKP circles. Bringing all men together—gay, straight and bisexual—is a great healing for everyone. The work involved in the MKP is done professionally and with the highest level of integrity I have ever experienced and witnessed.
– Joe Kort, MSW, PhD, author of Gay Affirmative Therapy for the Straight Clinician.
Hi I am Tom Weaver and grateful to be living in my 64th winter. Sharing my personal winter count, on my earth walk this time around. I am learning to recover my whole self and body on a path of self love and self acceptance. In my youth, I heard the story that I cried real tears immediately when arriving on this plane, for me, overlooking a river, The Straight that empties into the Cannon, that enters the Mississippi just below, Tinte Winte, Prairie Island of the Dakota Oyate in the part of Turtle Island to politicians known as Minnesota. “Water that reflects the clouds- heaven”
I became aware that I am a two-spirited man, with a balance of male and female, on my journey of holistic recovery, body, mind and spirit. I accept and celebrate that I am a father of two grown sons, 30 and 26, am a teacher, and weaver of stories on my travels. Some turning points included “coming out as gay” to my mom and brothers in the Arizona Desert in 1987 at a treatment center near Tucson, to heal from my suicidal depression working the 12 Steps of Alanon, and then in 1990, participating in my NWTA in Dec 1990 in Minnesota, the first weekend outside of Haimowoods where The New Warrior training weekend itself was birthed in 1985.
I continue to walk the Red Road of Recovery here on Turtle Island, honoring the spirit and beauty of this land, and the indigenous ways practiced by two leggeds of all skin colors across GAIA. I am grateful for the lineage of indigenous healers and teachers who have kept the ways of the healing circles of life, during times of religious and cultural persecution on Turtle Island. May these teachers, Frank Fools Crow, Chief Joseph, Bob Brown, Geronimo, and many more, continue to be honored today in healing the circle of life for the people. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Tom Weaver MD
Retired Allopath and recovering short person
Founder and CEO Wopida Group LLC
“I am a proud gay transman!” MKP made it possible for me to say these words with conviction!
Before MKP I had always been a loner. I was fearful of people. I’d been teased and tormented by my peers from a young age. I carried these wounds as a badge of honor. But also to shield and protect myself. I trusted no one, especially myself. When I could no longer stand the loneliness, I would reach out. I sought out people who I believed were as or more damaged than myself. I remained lonely. In my loneliness, I would hurt myself.
In my heart I knew I needed to form some healthy and safe relationships or I would die. I joined a social club as a way to put myself with people. One of the members introduced me to a man preparing to go through the gateway training. This man saw me as a man. He saw my desire, drive and passion for change. I saw in him courage and openness. Something I desperately needed.
I literally placed my life, with all the trust I could muster, into the hands of men I had never met. That first night as darkness set, my shadow told me something terrible was going to happen. I was sure I was going to be burned alive. I was terrified yet exhilarated. I survived the weekend! I began breaking through those barriers I both cherished and hated.
(9 months later) I’ve created loving and trusting relationships through my new men’s group spawned out of the weekend. I’ve continued to learn from and utilize the tools I was introduced to on my weekend. I was trusted. I found trust. Now I trust!
I am a good man
I am a strong man
I am a wise man
I am a kind man
I am an intelligent man
I am a generous man
I am the kind of man who other men want to be friends with
I am the kind of man who other men want to be like
And I am a transman
Christopher P. Johnson
Mount Lemmon, Arizona, April 2012
"The New Warrior Training Adventure changed my life"
Before the NWTA, my life was great: I had a high-paying job. Owned a cute house.
Awesome friends. Life was very good to me. One day I looked around and thought, ‘So
I guess I just keep doing this until I die?’ It bugged me, on some level, that while my life
was very good, I was missing something…my big PASSION in life. I had come out,
marched in parades, even started a GLBT meditation group, so it’s not like I hadn’t
explored spiritually, socially, and politically. But where was my mission? And I don’t mean
some group’s mission…I had enough of that in my religious upbringing.
I wanted MY mission, the wild passion that unleashed my unique gifts; I wanted to shine
from the inside out. I never understood people who knew they wanted to be doctors, or
nurses. How a passionate 14-year-old decide to follow his bliss in music. I was mystified
by how they knew that.
The NWTA changed my life.
I still have my cute house and awesome friends. I kept a good-paying job. But now
I have a mission—MY mission. I’m changing the world significantly in ways that are
important to me. My first novel is being published by Dreamspinner press. I love writing,
I love creating fiction. It’s my gift –what I am here to give to the world. God, I hope I get
to keep doing this until I die. -Edmond Manning
Mankind Project has transformed my life. I've done lots of work: therapy, personal recovery,
meditation and retreats - and this has been the missing nutrient for transforming my growth.
I have freed myself from the chatter, drama and obsession of my noisy mind. I have never felt
better about myself, clearer about my mission, and more loving towards myself and accepting
of my family, spouse and others.
The mens circles you can join after the weekend are key and they have integrated this weekend into my day to day life. I even visit other groups when I am on the road. Its an incredible community resource, I feel like
I've found CrossFit for my soul. I now authentically celebrate my unique expression of gay
masculinity and reclaim my throne in life. I sing Whitney Houston songs to myself and feel
such fierce love for myself. its priceless. Mankind Pride, thanks for helping me dig deep within
to the fire and gold that has been waiting for me all this time!