‘People Can Change’ Is Changing Its Name
International Fellowship for Men Who Put Faith and Values
Before Homosexual Attractions Takes on a New Identity as It Marks Its
100th ‘Journey Into Manhood’ Weekend Program
(Charlottesville, Virginia, Oct. 4, 2016) – A high-profile non-profit organization that provides peer- support programs primarily for men who experience same-sex attractions — but who chose not to live gay lives or to identify as gay — is changing its name.
Known since its 2000 founding as People Can Change, the international non-profit is renaming and rebranding itself as an interfaith fellowship called Brothers on a Road Less Traveled — or Brothers Road for short. Its website is moving from www.peoplecanchange.com to www.brothersroad.org. Its new self-descriptor: “Men supporting each other in addressing our same-sex attractions in affirming ways that align with our faith, values, morals and life goals.”
This change also reflects an important acknowledgment of what has long been the reality of its mission and membership — that it is largely a religious community supporting members of a wide range of faith traditions, including Christians of all denominations, religious Jews, Muslims and others.
The group is best known for its experiential weekend intensives called Journey Into Manhood. In fact, this past weekend in Texas the organization concluded its 100th three-day Journey Into Manhood event. Since the first “JiM” weekend in Maryland in January 2002, the group has now presented Journey Into Manhood 100 times in 11 U.S. states and in England, Poland and Israel.
Some 2,500 men from 45 U.S. states and more than 40 countries have participated over the past 15 years. Participants range in age from 18 into their 60s, although the average age is about 36. About a third are already married to women. Participants attend primarily in an effort to make peace with themselves and their sexuality, to minimize their eroticization of other men to the extent possible, and to bring their sexual behavior and feelings more in line with their morals, values and life goals.
“Our new name, Brothers on a Road Less Traveled, better communicates who we are and what we’re really about,” explained Rich Wyler, founder and executive director.
“The word ‘Brothers’ emphasizes our vital need for authentic brotherhood, community and acceptance as we seek to meet our same-sex bonding needs through deep platonic friendships rather than sexual relationships,” Wyler said. “The phrase ‘on a Road’ emphasizes that this is a life journey—a new way of living, not a quick-fix. And the words ‘Less Traveled’ recognize and honor the reality that we are a minority within the larger gay minority.”
The reference to a road less traveled comes from the 1916 Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, in which the writer encounters two equally valid choices but concludes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
“Experiencing deep internal conflict over same-sex attractions can feel for many of us like standing at that crossroads where two roads diverge,” Wyler said, “Do you follow society’s gay-affirming path, or do you take a more faith-affirming road that acknowledges the reality of same-sex attractions but addresses those needs through platonic brotherly love rather than sexual relationships?”
Wyler emphasizes that the newly renamed organization is not backing away from the personal, lived experience of so many of its participants who have, in fact, seen profoundly positive changes in their self-esteem, thought lives, relationships and behaviors. Many have seen their same-sex sexual attractions diminish over the years or have seen sexual or romantic interests in the opposite sex develop or increase. These kinds of shifts are not universal, Wyler says, but they’re not unusual either.
Based near Charlottesville, Virginia, Brothers on a Road Less Traveled is an interfaith fellowship serving members of numerous religions. It is run as a virtual organization with no physical offices and no full-time employees, but with volunteers, contractors, supporters, participants and donors across the world.
The Brothers Road community offers eight to 10 inner-healing and personal-growth weekend intensives a year in the U.S., Europe and Israel, as well as online groups and webinars and in-person support groups and reunion retreats in some locations. It also offers a weekend program for wives of men who experience same-sex attractions or sex addictions, called “A Wife’s Healing Journey”—including one coming up Dec. 2-4 in the Nashville, Tennessee area.