It's very rare that a blog does some serious investigative reporting, but that's just what Box Turtle Bulletin has done.
The story begins:
In 1970, a well-known expert on homosexuality and transgender issues appeared on a local television talk show in Los Angeles to talk about feminine boys. He described how very young boys who behaved in a feminine manner would almost invariably grow up to become a homosexual. Alongside that expert was a gay man who described his own childhood and confirmed what the expert said. But there was hope, the expert announced. A new program at the University of California at Los Angeles would ensure these young boys grew up to become masculine, normal men. The expert gave a list of symptoms to watch out for, and urged his viewers to call him if their children exhibited the problems he described.
The mother of a four year, eleven month old boy saw that program that afternoon. She noted the list of symptoms that the expert gave and concluded that there was something seriously wrong with her son. She and her husband decided to take their young boy to UCLA for treatment to prevent him from growing up to be gay.
The boy's name was Kirk Murphy. He was "treated" by a young UCLA grad named George Alan Rekers.
The UCLA treatment was partially successful. Then, Kirk's therapy — the one devised by George Alan Rekers — went into the household. Blue and red poker chips were used. The mother explains:
“When Kirk would do something bad, or play with the doll instead of the train or the truck or whatever, he would get a red poker chip. If he picked up a helicopter or an airplane or did a boy thing, then he would get a blue chip. At the end of the day, I would deduct the red from the blue. And then however many blue chips there were, they told me to give him an M&M for each for a reward. And then I had to keep this all written down.”
Over time, the punishments got stronger — they turned into beatings.
But after a while, the therapy was deemed a success. George Alan Rekers had made a name for himself in the psychology community, and wrote dozens of papers about Kirk (who was named "Craig" in the literature).
You may have already guessed the rest. Kirk survived his ordeal, and he continued to grow up under relative anonymity. Neither he nor his family knew that he was the subject of nearly two decades of discussion among behavioral therapists working to change their clients' sexual orientation. Through it all, Rekers wrote that Kirk had a "normal male identity, had normal aspirations for growing up to be married and have a family, and was well-adjusted as a teen-age boy in general."
The truth was far different. His suicide attempt at the age of seventeen was unsuccessful. But twenty years later, he took his life on December 21, 2003. He was 38.
And perhaps the name Rekers rings a bell for some of you. Rekers' career effectively ended on May 4, 2010, when two reporters at The Miami New Times revealed that he had been photographed at the Miami International Airport while returning from an overseas trip in the company of a handsome, blond twenty-years-old man who Rekers found on Rentboy.com.
Rekers protested that he had hired the escort to help him with his luggage, but his escort himself begged to differ. Rekers’s colleagues began distancing themselves from him, and he eventually resigned from the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group composed of dissident therapists who believe that homosexuality is a pathology in need of treatment, a scientific fallacy proved wrong by Kirk's experience itself.
The full story — a blog expose — can be found here.
THe mainstream media focuses on this story too. Tonight at 10 ET on CNN TV, "AC360º" examines the shocking "experimental therapy" designed to make feminine boys more masculine. See what one family says was the devastating result in a special report, "The Sissy Boy Experiment."