Jake Weinraub

Anderson Cooper 360 Airs Investigation on Ex-Gay Therapy This Week

Filed By Jake Weinraub | June 09, 2011 12:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Media
Tags: Anderson Cooper, box turtle bulliten, CNN, ex-gay ministries, George Rekers, Jim Burroway

This week CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 aired a three-part series "The Sissy Boy Experiment: The Consequences Of Ex-Gay Therapy", which traces the effect kirkmurphy.pnggovernment-funded gender-normalizing therapy had on a young boy named Kirk Murphy in 1970, who took his own life at 38. Dr. George Rekers, who co-founded the conservative Family Research Council and was recently caught traveling with a gay escort by the Miami New Times claimed credit for the experiments, writing numerous articles and publications citing Murphy's treatment as a success. The 5-year-old received ten months of treatment, which included being placed in a room and given the option of "girls" toys and "boys" toys, receiving punishment or praise from his mother if he made the gender-variant choice. In the home, the family was encouraged to implement a poker chip count system, where blue chips were rewarded for masculine behavior and red chip for feminine, which would result in beatings from Murphy's father.

Murphy's older brother Mark told Anderson Cooper how his brother's outgoing personality began to change:

He had no idea how to relate to people. It was like somebody just walked up and turned his light switch off, and 'we got what we wanted and we'll see you later'.


Jim Burroway, who is keeping up with the investigation on the Box Turtle Bulletin, explains the surprising fact that Murphy's mother only once came into contact with Rekers, mistaking him for a psychiatrist's aide. Burroway writes:

"Dr. Green had two college boys that were working with him," [Murphy's mother] said. "Assistants, aides, whatever you want to call them. The only one I can remember, his name was George. The other one I don't remember his name at all. But I do remember George because he was very, very kind to Kirk and Kirk liked him, and Kirk communicated really well with him. And when Dr. Green and George and the other one came to Kirk's birthday party at our house in Saugas, I had bought water guns and they were all shooting water guns at each other. Kirk just thought that was just the cat's meow, you know. So if George turned out to be a psychiatrist, he was probably a pretty good one."

Well, that was George Rekers, I explained. She said that she couldn't remember his last name. But as time went on, it became clear, both to her and to me, that this young college student that Kaytee gave so little importance to was the famous behavioral therapist who claimed so much credit for supposedly arresting Kirk's developing homosexuality.

Reflecting on Murphy's suicide, his older sister Maris told Anderson Cooper:

I used to spend so much time thinking why would he kill himself at the age of 38? It doesn't make any sense to me. What I now think is, I don't know how he made it that long.

Check out another installment of the investigation (which aired last night) where Cooper informs Rekers of Murphy's suicide, here:


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It's important to understand that this is not just an issue of ex-gay therapy, these psychiatric atrocities target gender identity and expression that differ from stereotypes of assigned birth sex. In his own words, Dr. Rent-Boy Rekers described the "treatment" he inflicted on Kirk as--

"the primary prevention of adult transsexualism or similar adult sex-role deviation."
These cruel conversion therapies remain very much a trans issue today and are enabled by the diagnostic categories of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and Transvestic Fetishism in the DSM. The American Psychiatric Association is requesting public input on proposed revisions for the DSM-5 until June 15. Please take this opportunity to urge the APA to remove the defamatory category of Transvestic Disorder (formerly Transvestic Fetishism) and clarify in the Gender Dysphoria diagnosis (formerly GID) that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and victimization from societal prejudice do not constitute mental pathology.

“Sissy boy syndrome”, by the way, was entered into the DSM-3 in 1980, following a decade of testing that was similar to what Rekers did.

Sissy boy syndrome was the informal but widely used name for the diagnosis of ”Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood” which until that time had not been present in the book (and was joined by the adult version, as well).

As late as 1987 the term was still widely used, as marked in the following passage:

In his book The “Sissy Boy Syndrome” and the Development of Homosexuality (1987), which remains the definitive work on the subject, psychiatrist Richard Green presents a 15-year study on the development of homosexuality. In his conclusion, he states plainly that the majority of boys who exhibit feminine characteristics in everyday behavior will essentially “grow up” to be homosexual.It used — and still uses — the same criteria that is described in the show to determine gender variance.

While some will likely see this as “transjacking”, it is important to note that Green is one of the heroes of Homosexuality as a man who stood up against some rather heated and enduring assaults (some from Rekers), and that he, Michael Bailey, and Ray Blanchard are all very much among those responsible for a great deal of the science that has made it possible to say that people who still use the pejorative idea of “lifestyle choice” are idiots and bigots.

These same men are also some of the greatest “enemies” of transsexual (and, by extension, other trans folks) people, as they decided to apply their core theories to the lives of trans people, both children and adults.

Some of the methodology that is described in the story is still practiced today — by Kenneth Zucker and Susan Bradley.

Based on a Meta-study, 63% of cisLGB adults met the criteria for Gender Identity Disorder in Youth (Bailey, J. M. & Zucker, K. J. (1995). Childhood sex-typed behavior and sexual orientation: A conceptual analysis and quantitative review. Developmental Psychology, 31, 43-55.).

It should also be noted that Bailey (author of “The Man Who Would Be Queen“, which furthered the hypothesis of Ray Blanchard that there are only two types of transsexuals — gay men and men who love the idea of themselves as women) also says that Zucker believes that transsexualism is a bad outcome for children.

Zucker tells parents he cannot “cure the gay”, but he does his damndest to “cure the trans”.

Right now, while you are reading this, this same stuff keeps going on.

Allison Sinclair Allison Sinclair | June 9, 2011 4:26 PM

This almost sounds like some of the treatments that came out of John Hopkins University. Basically, the reason John Hopkins had dropped alot of their programs was because of the errors and suicides that resulted from their treatments. Namely the case where Dr. Money felt that Gender could be learned which resulted in the suicides of the Winnepeg twins. Some of those treatments were just as barbaric as some of those Psychiatrists and Psychologists thought that Shock Therapy could be a cure.

Anderson, host of the show I affectionately call "AC/DC/360" ... Please come out! -- America loves you, and millions of viewers will support you just as we have supported Rachel Maddow and Don Lemon.

Hell, we even put up with Andrew Sullivan!