It looks like media outside of Bilerico and Zoe Brain's blog decided to take a little stroll down Memory Lane and revisit George Rekers's work at UCLA, where he told parents to spank their boys for being too femmy and to psychologically torture them as young as age 4 (which actually isn't that hard) in order to make real men out of them.
What we know now is from a passage in Phyllis Burke's Gender Shock. I'm sure that a plucky LGBT journalist working for an LA or a national publication could find out a bit more about how far Rekers's experiments at UCLA's Feminine Boy Project went. Were children hit by the researchers themselves? What were parents told and promised? How did they secure their government grant? And how many of children they experimented on ended up committing suicide?
Consider this from Rekers in 1977 on whether psychiatrists should help people accept their homosexuality or try to overcome it (remember, this is several years after the DSM removed its entry on homosexuality when it became apparent it was there for no reason other than to stigmatize gay people):
For example, it has been suggested that the only appropriate goal of the psychotherapist dealing with a homosexual individual is to help him adjust to his homosexual orientation and behavior. Some critics go so far as to suggest that a referral to a "Gay Counseling Center" is even more appropriate, with the goal of placing the individual in contact with others like himself. We find this line of argument to be totally unacceptable and irresponsible.[...]
The non-neutrality of "gay counseling" imposes further limitations on the individual's growth potential, and unnecessarily sanctions a debilitating pattern of personal adjustment.
Of course. And spanking boys for being to girly is completely neutral.
This isn't anything that we haven't seen before, of course. Queer people don't need to be told that there are plenty of people who will punish sexual and gender non-conformists with poverty, humiliation, violence, and death. In fact, just looking at today's headlines shows a few stories along similar lines.
A man whose same-sex "marriage" has become a symbol of the struggle for gay rights in Africa has vowed to become a martyr rather than give in to homophobia, campaigners say. Tiwonge Chimbalanga and his partner Steven Monjeza are facing a possible 14 years in prison with hard labour after becoming the first gay couple in Malawi to declare their commitment in a public ceremony .
Peter Tatchell, the veteran British gay rights campaigner, has maintained contact with the pair at the maximum security Chichiri prison in Blantyre as they prepare to stand trial next week.
A local library exhibit on the Holocaust:
But the German man, born in 1914, faced great persecution at the hands of the Third Reich. In 1936, he was arrested for being a homosexual. He was sent to labor camp at Neusustrum, where he was forced to perform manual labor for 12 hours each day.
He later recalled that the Nazis believed hard work would transform Germany's 2.5 million homosexuals into heterosexuals -- one of the beliefs that compelled them to imprison gay men.
Pauly's story is one of four selected to personalize the "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945" exhibition, which opened Monday at the Alachua County Library District.
"It's a unique look at an aspect of Nazi persecution that most aren't familiar with," said Sol Hirsch, executive director of the library district.
From Minsk this weekend:
Police wearing black berets and armed with batons moved in after the protesters advanced about 300 meters down the street. They tore away the flags and hauled off the marchers, some of whom had traveled from Russia for the event.
"The police reaction was completely disproportionate to the threat which they thought the protesters posed," Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev told Reuters.
"There were 20 people there, behaving peacefully, there were no scuffles and there was no basis for such a rough operation by the authorities."
Between 5 and 10 of the parade participants were arrested, a Reuters reporter present at the event observed.
It even affects Irish pop stars:
WESTLIFE star MARK FEEHILY has allegedly received a string of "death threats" since he went public with his sexuality - insisting he has been bombarded with "abuse for being gay".
The Irish singer stunned fans in 2005 when he opened up about his homosexuality, having kept his secret since he shot to fame with the band.
Feehily is glad he told the truth about his private life, but admits he has been targeted by homophobes since he 'came out'.
He tells Britain's Daily Star Sunday newspaper, "I'm the one who always gets the death threats and hate mail. It's generally abuse for being gay from a few psychos."
I just pulled those from the international news today. Tomorrow's news will have more, and there'll be more afterwards. There's plenty of that going on in American news as well. And don't forget that most instances of homophobia go unreported.
What's often interesting about homophobia is that it isn't rash or enraged. Lots of times its violence is calm and cloaked in the language of science, law, philosophy, or religion. George Rekers wasn't telling parents to beat up their kids if they acted in gender variant ways - he told them to give them chips that represented a single spanking. There were rules to keep emotions from getting involved in the process (even if the entire project was driven by an emotional reaction to homosexuality).
In that sense, it's therapeutic for society at large, especially people insecure in their own genders and bodies and sexualities, and especially people like George Rekers who devote their entire lives to researching ways to cure themselves, to see gender variant people get punished. There's absolutely no evidence that punishing people could ever change their sexuality - Lord knows people have tried that for centuries - yet folks keep on being motivated to go down that path.
Did Rekers feel relief when he saw those kids spanked? Did it make him feel hopeful when he saw children modify their behavior after being punished? Did it devastate him when these kids kept on growing up to be queer and often suicidal?
I'm guessing the last answer is "no." He kept on doing what he was doing - trying to punish people for being gay or gender variant. He must have known by the time he was testifying against gay adoption in Florida that changing someone's sexuality through punishment is impossible; he is, by all accounts, an intelligent man who should have easily put two and two together.
Of course, that would assume that the point of his - and NARTH's - "therapy" is to actually change people, to actually make them straight. But their persistence, after all these decades, in punishing gender variance and homosexuality, shows that it's about something quite different. It's about making these people feel good in their own skin.
Unfortunately, it isn't just a few troubled individuals who experience this pain in quiet; it's the force that drives the movement against us.