Tuesday, June 07, 2011

AC360 airs report on 1970s-era "therapy" aimed at "effeminate" boys; led to tragedy, and to FRC today

Anderson Cooper’s AC360 program tonight (June 7) finally, after two weeks delay, started his 3-day report (20 minutes or so each day) on the “’The Sissy Boy Experiment’ – Uncovering the Truth”.

Back around 1970, in Los Angeles, a 5 year old boy named Kirk Andrew Murphy was taken to an “experimental” program at UCLA worked up by George Rekers, subsequently “notorious” with the Family Research Council.  The program was supposed to condition out “effeminate” behavior in boys. Only two years before Wyden’s book “Growing Up Straight” had come out (pun intended), which talked about the idea of a "pre-homosexual child", insisted that growing up "normal" was a moral duty, and pandered to every stereotype (almost all false today) about what gay men even look like.  I recall that book, and I discuss a similar one by James Nicolosi (who had created a stink on a Dr. Phil show about three years ago) on my Books blog on Jan. 21, 2009.

The therapy involved presenting the boy with “choices” of toys and rewarding the “right” choices and ignoring the wrong ones; it also involved a point system for behaviors involving blue and red chips.

The experiment would lead to tragic outcomes. Murphy, unable to show emotion and have relationships,  would actually serve eight years in the Air Force, to run away from his sexual orientation (ironic to report today when the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” hopefully advances) and then worked as a financial officer in India, where he would commit suicide at 38.

AC’ report included interviews with Kirk’s brother, quite emotional, and elderly mother, less emotional; she admitted being taken in by a television spot from UCLA on the program in 1970 and said she thought she could “nip it in the bud” (as said in a particularly silly flu medicine ad).

My “therapy” at NIH in the latter part of 1962 was deceptively disguised as adjustment-related, but in fact the NIH psychiatrists were very concerned about my reliance on fantasy with homosexual attachment, and particularly my hostility to the social and emotional norms of the heterosexual world where men desired women in order to have families and were expected to become protective of women and children.

The report this evening also mentioned the kidnapping of a lesbian blogger in Syria.

The “Ridiculist” report concerned a woman who was thrown out of a movie theater in Austin, TX called the Alamo Drafthouse for violating its no-talking and no-texting policy.  One time a few months ago in the Shirlington in Arlington, a woman complained to me after the movie because she could see my cell phone light (silenced) when I checked the time.  In September, 1992, at an old AMC complex in Bailey’s Crossroads, on a late Saturday afternoon, a woman came in and announced the no-talking policy. It was annoying, and I don’t recall right now what the movie was.

The Alamo Drafthouse site is here.  I love the idea of movie theaters serving good food (like Rave's Fairfax Corner in VA).  I may be in Austin (and Dallas) later on this year, will check it out. 

First picture: My own father in the pillory stocks in Williamsburg, VA in 1940 (estate picture, mine now). 

Update:  (6/8). On the second night, CNN tried to catch up with Rekers, now separated from the FRC after an escort "scandal".  In Florida, Rekers said that what had happened was "sad" but he claimed unrelated to the therapy after so many decades. 


The mindset for attempting "reparative" therapy seems to involve a desire by many people to see everyone measured by the same "rules".  But that's what totalitarian societies (whether communist or fascist) do. The morality of all this is a bit like some of the uncertainty principles in quantum physics.  To have "equality" we have to accept that a kind of inequality always exists, so you have to have complementarity and a community, too.  Maybe that sounds too much like Rick Warren ("it isn't about you," after all). 


NOTE: (6/8/2011): I'm experimenting with making this one blog work on mobile devices, and only then others.  I am experiencing some difficulties.  I'll let everyone know when it can work "normally" on mobile (and not interfere with regular use). 

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