Paper: George ‘Rentboy’ Rekers Once Tried to ‘Spank the Gay’ Out of Effeminate Boys

The Miami New Times this morning published an interesting look at some of George Rekers work with boys — not "rent boys", but effeminate boys — boys he felt needed the gay violently "spanked" out of them. The beatings were Rekers' first attempt at an "ex-gay" therapy cure.

The New Times reports:

Rekers In 1974, Rekers, a leading thinker in the so-called ex-gay movement, was presented with a 4-year-old "effeminate boy" named Kraig, whose parents had enrolled him in the program. Rekers put Kraig in a "play-observation room" with his mother, who was equipped with a listening device. When the boy played with girly toys, the doctors instructed her to avert her eyes from the child.

According to a 2001 account in Brain, Child Magazine, "On one such occasion, his distress was such that he began to scream, but his mother just looked away. His anxiety increased, and he did whatever he could to get her to respond to him… Kraig became so hysterical, and his mother so uncomfortable, that one of the clinicians had to enter and take Kraig, screaming, from the room."

Rekers's research team continued the experiment in the family's home. Kraig received red chips for feminine behavior and blue chips for masculine behavior. The blue chips could be cashed in for candy or television time. The red chips earned him a "swat" or spanking from his father. Researchers periodically entered the family's home to ensure proper implementation of the reward-punishment system.

After two years, the boy supposedly manned up. Over the decades, Rekers, who ran countless similar experiments, held Kraig up as "the poster boy for behavioral treatment of boyhood effeminacy."

At age 18, shamed by his childhood diagnosis and treatment, Rekers's poster boy attempted suicide, according to Gender Shock, a book by journalist Phyllis Burke.

George Rekers: still dangerous after all these years.

Don't miss Frank Rich's column from Sunday's NYT on Lucien, the "heaven-sent rent boy".


  1. voet says

    It is criminal that a self-proclaimed expert like Rekers is allowed to inflict emotional abuse on people like Kraig. I hope Kraig has found acceptance and some measure of healing from his horrific treatment.

  2. Matty says

    I expected some juicy story about this wacko spanking some rent boys but this is terrifying. I can´t believe that the mother actually went through with it. I played with my sisters Barbies when I was 4 and nobody thought I was effeminate…because I was frikkin 4 YEARS OLD!

    Isn´t illegal or something?

  3. LetSodomRing says

    Not only is spanking, belting, beating, paddling your children legal in all 50 states, but in many of them, it’s legal for teachers to do it to students.

  4. Jim says

    This story is highly disturbing! Abuse to this level is criminal. I hope this story is brought to national attention to highlight the abusive, both mental and physical, these so called programs employ.

  5. walter says

    this man is so self loathing he feels if he can beat it out of kids it may work on him.
    this man should have his license revoked
    immediately.any doctor who basically drives a child to attempt to kiill himself really desrves to be punished by the law. i quess if he can’t cure them you take them to europe.hope the people of florida see what their tax dollars bought. just remember that before you vote for mccollum

  6. Jay says

    Thanks, Andy, for keeping our focus on this sick man who has spread his hatred far and wide for so many years. Apparently George Rekers is the modern-day Dr. Mengele of the far right. I suspect that we do not yet have a full appreciation for the depth of his evil. If there is a hell, I hope there is a special place reserved there for twisted minds like his.

  7. chuckfll says

    This man and his creepy cohorts have been doing their damage for decades…They were “experimenting on pre pubertal boys who have a history of gender-identity problems” An associate of Rekers favors “electric cattle prods” to change unwanted behaviors…One can only imagine the damage the asswholes did to children too young to know the evil that was being done to them.

  8. Interested Bystander says

    Unfortunately this reminds me of the kind of Applied Behavioral Analysis treatment used on children with autism beginning at an even younger age. Parents are conditioned to tolerate their own child’s distress.

    What is most profoundly sad about this story is the number of parents who would submit to it if it had any effectiveness.

    Maybe you can negative reinforce away the autistic behavior, but boyhood effeminacy seems immutable.

    We (especially psychologists) don’t know what we don’t know.

    Love to all.

  9. Rascal says

    There is obviously no excuse for such barbaric behavior, but one ought to be aware of the context of the era. Before Freudian perspectives were tempered or downright debunked, the prevailing belief was that early childhood development was the source of nearly every type of mental and emotional state encountered in adulthood. It was an era when nurture was thought to far outweigh nature.

    What is most important is that information about this kind of “treatment” reach the general public. It is so extreme and horrifying on its face in today’s rather-more enlightened understanding of genetic and biological imperatives, that even some the most conservative among us are likely to condemn it.

  10. jerry says

    Extremely disturbing, you need to be tested and licensed to drive a car but not to raise a child. The parents should be charged with voluntary manslaughter.

  11. yonkersconquers says

    This is the most disgusting story I’ve read on Towleroad in a long time. That poor kid.

    We have to keep fighting to protect them from homophobic closet-cases and their ‘cures’. And that makes it a civic duty to expose these hypocrites.

  12. Jay says

    Is Univ of South Carolina aware of what their famous Professor has done ? This kind of human experimentation would not be allowed under the research ethics protocols in force today in most research institutions.

  13. FunMe says

    PLEASE keep printing these stories. Eventually this part of the EVIL ABSUE that this closet queen committed is reported, too.

    Perhaps the Trevor project should get together with some legal organization and sue Rekers and the fake NARTH organization along with its “leaders”? Something should be done just like those who were abused by the Catholic priests.

  14. anon says

    There are make-a-buck medical scam artists in several fields, including serious professions such as oncology and cardiology, but psychiatry is particularly prone to quacks because progress in the field has been very, very slow. Psychiatry today is where anatomy was in about 1700.

  15. Daniel says

    Thank you Andy for continuing to follow this story as it plays out.

    I have a question. Are there any journalists out there trying to track down Rekers???

    IT’S OBVIOUS this sick “doctor” wants to keep a low profile and hope this story goes away!

    Someone needs to find him, and ask him some questions. Where does he live? Isn’t he a pastor at a Baptist church? Where does he shop, or eat out? Find this fucking piece of scum, and GRILL HIM FOR ANSWERS! Is he going to return the $120,000 back to Florida taxpayers for cheating them with his BOGUS TESTIMONY?



  16. Wayne says

    Try searching, or and you will find they have no mention AT ALL of Rekers. All other news sites I tried have numerous articles. What’s with Rupert Murdoch? Is it a news blackout?

  17. missanthrope says

    Let the people who question the morality of outing queer people who work their hardest to harm other queer people while in the closet try and defend this guy.

Leave A Reply