Reflections on The Quest

We are getting ready to facilitate our final The Quest Program of 2016. It will be the 31st one, with around 500 guys who have now dared to embark on the Program. Those numbers exclude the thematic workshops, retreats and socials that we have hosted over the years. When we include those numbers, we’ve had over 1,500 guys who have interacted with The Quest in some shape or form.

When Darren and myself ran our first offering for Gay Men in the Summer of 2011, at the now closed Barcode, under the arches in Vauxhall, I had no idea that we would still be as passionate in creating a space for Gay Men to come together and untangle the emotional and psychological stuff that can often get in the way of living a life in alignment with our values and/or intentions. Continue Reading →

Sex: Smoke and Mirrors – what lies beneath our desires, addictions and compulsions

In conversation with Robert Weiss

RobWeiss_Web200x300Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. He is author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men and Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction. An author and subject expert on the relationship between digital technology and human sexuality, Mr. Weiss has served as a media specialist for CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Today Show, among many others.

Ade Adeniji (Co-Founder of The Quest) sat down with Rob during his recent visit to London to talk about Addiction, Drugs, Intersection of Race and Sexuality, Gay Culture and much much more.


Ade Adeniji: Having read your book [Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men], one of the things that struck me is that I meet a number of gay men who have many of the signs of sex addiction that you identify in your book, and yet, they don’t use the word ‘addict’. Do you come across that in your work?

Rob Weiss: I think it’s very individual, but there’s also a lot of denial. If you look at the back of “Cruise Control”, there’s a little section about why I wrote the book. What it says is that I was at an HIV conference in the 90s and I was sitting backstage with a bunch of therapists, who were gay men. They were complaining about how they could not talk about the problems within the gay community – such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems, and sexual acting out – because there’s this thought that when you have an oppressed minority, and if you’re among that minority, that you don’t want to say what your own issues are.

It’s like being in an unhealthy family where no one talks about the problem. Because if, as gay men, we say we have sexual problems, then the larger culture says, “See, we knew that. We knew those people were all sick, and all sick about sex,” so it just doesn’t get talked about. This was during the height of the HIV crisis. Continue Reading →

“KILLING MY MOTHER” – Review

….. by Michael Gaffney

Ade - Story 1I was fortunate to witness Ade’s recent performance of “Killing my Mother“. What an arresting title and it soon became apparent how it came about. The performance was performed at the School of Social Entrepreneurs where The Quest hold it’s workshops.

I have experienced many profound and powerful feelings in this venue and this event was no exception.

I was immediately drawn in to the emotion of Ade’s vivid, visceral and candid story of his life. The immediacy and power of events was conveyed by the story being told in the present tense, although the story moved backwards and forwards between different years. I was moved to tears on more than one occasion and there were also flashes of humour, which meant that the story felt incredibly rounded, grounded and real. Continue Reading →

The Past Is A Foreign Country

Editor of “Love Me As I Am: Gay Men Reflect on their Lives” and Quest Workshop participant, Francois Lubbe made a short film about Ade Adeniji’s journey with storytelling, the piece is titled ‘The Past Is A Foreign Country’.

The short film takes a brief but in-depth look at the positive impact and healing power of storytelling, and how its application and practice can transform lives.

The Past Is A Foreign Country from Little Red Shoes on Vimeo.

“Sometimes, the best way to move forward in life is by looking back—even if the story of our past is one we want to forget”

Telling Stories

Short documentary following Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Paul Woodward, international theatre practitioner and academic, as they prepare for their two separate one-man storytelling performances, ‘Killing My Mother’ and ‘Fathers & Feathers.’

The performances were developed in collaboration with The Quest and premiered at The Pinter Theatre, in London, on 5 October 2013.

The Father+Mother Storytelling Performance

In this conflab, Ade Adeniji & Paul Woodward discuss their upcoming storytelling performance – The Father+Mother Project.

Father and Mother Continue Reading →

Reflections on Robbie Rogers Coming Out

“Breaking that silence means emerging from the closet of shame. To proclaim oneself openly as gay is, above all else, to come out of shame – profoundly, to break the silence. This is why the term “Coming Out “ is a shame metaphor’ – Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael (Coming Out of Shame – Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives)

I remember being a closeted 22 year old, when the footballer Justin Fashanu came out in 1990. It was the talk of the office, as we all watched from the sidelines to see how the story would unfold. Sadly, that story did not have a happy ending, for whilst Justin had taken the bold and courageous step to come out, he was not met by a world ready to embrace a footballer, who happened to be gay. Regardless of how that story concluded, I continue to be inspired by the courage displayed by Justin, and his story certainly gave me the courage to eventually come out and live my life as an openly gay man.

Robbie RogersYesterday, almost 23 years after Justin became the first openly gay footballer associated with English football, another footballer came out as gay. The player in question was 25 year old, US born Robbie Rogers, who had played for the US and Leeds United. Whilst Justin’s coming out had provided the tabloid press with stories reinforcing certain stereotypes of gay men around the issue of sex, Robbie’s coming out was very different, as he took us on a journey that many gay men travel, in their quest to live an authentic life. Robbie showed us what lies beneath the surface of the masks that many gay men have learnt to wear. In his note, Robbie says –

“Things are never what they seem….. My whole life I have felt different, different from my peers and even different from my family………” Continue Reading →

Gay Men Living their Best Lives

Welcome to The QuestConflab. What is a Conflab? It’s pretty simple really, Conflab is another term for an ‘informal discussion’.

Every fortnight, Ade and Darren, founders of The Quest, discuss and explore a different theme. The theme of this Conflab is – Gay Men Living Their Best Lives

Ade: So, it’s the beginning of the year and many people are thinking ‘new year – new start’, for some this means living their best life. I guess its therefore apt that our theme should be ‘Gay Men Living their Best Lives’ – when you think of that statement, what comes up for you?
Darren: For me ‘best’ equates to ‘true’ – so when I am being and acting my truth, I have the greatest experience of life. When I am dishonoring my truth, problems and dissatisfaction set in. What does it bring up for you? Continue Reading →

Being Gay at this Time of Year

We hope you enjoy the The QuestConflab. What is a Conflab? Its pretty simple really, Conflab is another term for an ‘informal discussion’.

The theme of this Conflab is – What does this Time of Year mean to gay men?

We would welcome your thoughts, reflections and feedback on the discussion.

Ade: So what are we conflabbing about today?
Darren: Christmas?

Ade: Not keen on that as it is a Christian holiday and potentially excludes so many people. Maybe something broader, like ‘What does this Time of Year mean to gay men?’
Darren: Good idea. This time of year for me has usually led to me feeling very much an outsider – like the uninvited guest looking through the window at the party inside.

Continue Reading →

A new language between gay men

We are really excited to introduce another innovative offering to our friends and supporters, and that is – ‘The QuestConflab’.

What is a Conflab? Its pretty simple really, Conflab is another term for an ‘informal discussion’.

How did the idea come about? Due to our passion for working with gay men and exploring what lies beneath the surface of our lives, we often find ourselves having a range of conversations on that issue. Whenever we mention this to others, the feedback is that we could share more of these musings, as they are relevant to what The Quest is all about. And so we thought – why not try it? Therefore every fortnight, we will review your suggestions on topics and then let you ‘listen’ as we discuss and explore the issue..

We hope you enjoy the The QuestConflab, and we would welcome your thoughts and feedback on the conversation. The theme of our first Conflab is – A new language between gay men. Continue Reading →

Redefining Gay Community

This past weekend has been such an exciting chapter in the journey of The Quest. It was not so long ago, on one sunny Sunday afternoon on 8th May 2011, that Darren and myself sat in a Thai restaurant on Charlotte Street and talked about the journey of gay men. We had just left an event where Attitude magazine, in association with The Drill Hall, London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and Pace Health had put on a panel discussion exploring some of the issues that gay men go through.

The event had used as its premise ‘The Velvet Rage – Overcoming the shame of growing up gay in a straight man’s world’, by Alan Downs. I was a big fan of the book, having bought it a few years prior and had since read it a number of times. The book had spoken to me on many levels and articulated my journey from childhood to adolescence into adulthood. Continue Reading →