"Ex-Gays" | Anderson Cooper | George Alan Rekers | News

Watch: How 'Anti-Sissy' Therapy Destroyed a Man and His Family

Tonight, an AC360 special report looks at the "experimental therapy" designed to make effeminate boys more masculine, a treatment that was promoted by Dr. George Alan Rekers, the "ex-gay" proponent who was caught last year returning from a vacation in Florida with a male hustler. Rekers built a career out of this therapy, ruining lives in the process.

Kirk One of those lives was Kirk Murphy. Murphy who committed suicide at the age of 38 after years of therapy basically stole his soul.

Rekers documented his therapy using the pseudonym 'Kraig' for Kirk. Jim Burroway of the blog Box Turtle Bulletin did a major investigation on what happened to Kraig/Kirk:

"In this original BTB investigation, we speak with his family and friend who knew the real “Kraig” to uncover the truth behind Reker’s greatest success story. Their stories reveals the tragedy of a terrible experiment on a very young boy which would haunt him for the rest of his life. It is not only an indictment of a man who built his anti-gay career on Kirk’s suffering, but a rebuke to others — those in the mental health profession then and in the contemporary ex-gay movement today — who would place their careers and agendas ahead of the well-being of this young boy and countless others like him."

Watch the preview of tonight's AC360, at 10 pm EDT on CNN, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I was VERY effeminate growing up, a matter made worse by the fact that I only had female siblings. But the effeminacy all eventually faded away. Once I hit my late teens and started hanging out with more boys, I just automatically began to change. I wish parents would realize this and not react dramatically when their young kids display effeminate behavior. It isn't always permanent.

    Posted by: Jackson | Jun 7, 2011 11:07:40 AM

  2. I was VERY effeminate growing up. And it never changed! What's your point Jackson?

    Posted by: ronjay | Jun 7, 2011 11:23:13 AM

  3. I grew up as a masculine kid. And remain so today. When I was younger I reacted to effeminate males the same way straight guys would... but now I just see people more for how they treat others. I don't really care whether they're masculine, feminine or whatever. Sexually I am only attracted to masculine men, but I'm glad I've gotten rid of those societal prejudices about effeminate men. I'm just sorry it took me so long to arrive at this place.

    Posted by: dancob@aol.com | Jun 7, 2011 11:27:32 AM

  4. I shunned my masculine side as a child because I was surrounded by sadistic bastards and boors. Women were the only ones I felt safe with. Now I embrace both.

    Posted by: Adrian | Jun 7, 2011 11:33:22 AM

  5. It's about time this harmful practice has a thorough airing-out on national television. Let's hope it's as hard-hitting as it sounds like it might be.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 7, 2011 11:41:12 AM

  6. Great stuff Adrian. Masculanity is the biggest bore and in particular when it is over exaggerated. Find it a huge turn off.

    So sad but these people don't care. They are sociopaths.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 7, 2011 11:48:14 AM

  7. Where's Rick...?

    Posted by: Rin | Jun 7, 2011 12:45:56 PM

  8. Will you guys be sure to post the actual story tomorrow, after it airs? I'd be really interested in seeing it.

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 7, 2011 12:57:44 PM

  9. Homosexuality does not equal effeminate. That is a stereotype believed by bigots like George Rekers. At one time, the gay movement challenged such stereotypes. But now, we mindlessly allow ourselves to be labeled "LGBT" - which is a statement that gay people are in the same category as transsexuals (and if you accept the broader definition of transgender, cross-dressers and hermaphrodites).

    Posted by: Steven | Jun 7, 2011 1:00:25 PM

  10. Negative reactions to effeminate men are always rooted in insecurity. I have always found it bigoted and disgusting.

    Posted by: Wes | Jun 7, 2011 1:04:41 PM

  11. @steven
    did a witch fall on your sister?

    Posted by: mld | Jun 7, 2011 1:14:38 PM

  12. A friend of mine is interviewed in the 3rd segment of the 3-part story. He went through this slimy therapy at the forced insistence of his phobic parents, and was the witness on that subject in the Perry/Prop 8 federal trial. I'm so proud of the fine young man he's become after growing up in such an unsupportive environment (to say the least) and being put through such a horrific experimental, soul-sucking therapy/torture.

    I've never been particularly fem nor particularly butch, but if being so in touch with and ingrained by my "feminine" qualities alongside my "masculine" ones is due in any part to me being gay, then it's the best thing that ever could have happened to me.

    Posted by: Zlick | Jun 7, 2011 1:15:28 PM

  13. Ummm... while gay does not equal transgender, we are in the same category in so far as we are all perceived as sexual deviants by the conservative mainstream. We gays don't like being persecuted, so of course we should stand with and support an even smaller and less understood minority. That is, we WOULD do so if we weren't guilty of the same bigoted attitudes as the majority....

    Posted by: fedorajoe | Jun 7, 2011 1:32:06 PM

  14. While I agree with STEVEN that homosexuality has nothing to do with transexuality, we are stronger as LGBT and are trying to achieve the same goals of equality

    Posted by: Jerry | Jun 7, 2011 1:55:15 PM

  15. What people fail to realize is that feminine, masculine traits are all made up. We have been conditioned that in order to be a male you have to act, dress, talk a certain way believe in a certain and the same goes for women. If you study a male cat or female cat there aren't any differences in behavior. They have the same fur, size, fur, eyea, nose etc... What is different about humans is that for whatever reason mans ego has decided to differentiate between the two genders by havin unwritten rules about clothing, behavior and such. Animals only know they are different because of the different genetials. Human's ego, Men mostly have created this system that if you're a man, you're supposed to be this and be that. As a result you see the destruction in therapies like this.

    Posted by: Curt | Jun 7, 2011 2:41:43 PM

  16. This is SO strange! I participate in a small gay message board where people discuss all sorts of topics from politics and news items to silly stuff. In an unrelated thread (gays, WWII, and the birth of the modern gay community) the name Phyllis Burke came up and I mentioned having read her book "Gender Shock," and how disturbing I found one of the experiments it detailed. Despite it being a decade since I'd read the book I was still able to describe it in some detail.

    The experiment which disturbed me so much was this one.

    Then just a couple of days after bringing it up, apropos of nothing really, I discover it's the subject of a TV report and the little boy who I felt such sympathy for, whose treatment I thought was so awful, later killed himself. And George Rekers, the professional Christian Right homophobe and leading proponent of "ex-gay" therapy who was caught not long ago with a "rentboy," was one of the people behind it. I want to see Rekers GRILLED in public about the things he did to Kirk and the many other children who came after him, to see this POS closet-case even TRY to justify what he's done!

    FWIW, Burke's book "Gender Shock" is about attempts to cure so-called gender-variant children and the damage it did to them (though she didn't know the real life identity of Kirk) and it's well worth a read.

    Posted by: Codswallop | Jun 7, 2011 3:31:02 PM

  17. @ MLD Thank you, I really needed a good laugh.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jun 7, 2011 4:42:27 PM

  18. What happens if you grow up exceptionally geeky?

    Posted by: anon | Jun 7, 2011 4:56:47 PM

  19. "What happens if you grow up exceptionally geeky?"

    A future of lots Star Trek marathons, Unix manuals, and masturbation.

    But, hey, I'm happy! :D

    Posted by: AnotherG | Jun 7, 2011 5:08:29 PM

  20. What kind of evil parents do this to their children? They should be prosecuted for child abuse.

    Posted by: jaragon | Jun 7, 2011 6:01:06 PM

  21. I believe his cruel father is dead!

    Posted by: Brains | Jun 7, 2011 6:52:09 PM

  22. I think we were all a part of the sissy boy experiments.

    Posted by: Mike | Jun 7, 2011 7:59:44 PM

  23. This is just one more piece of tragic evidence that homophobes and people like Rekers do nothing but destroy lives. As a child, I was told to be less effeminate but that's where it ended. How Rekers can continue to spout his evil practices while hiring "rent boys" is unbelievable. Thank you, Anderson Cooper, for making this horrific experiment public.

    Posted by: Gene | Jun 8, 2011 9:10:22 AM

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