Five-year-old Kirk Andrew Murphy used to play with dolls and wigs. So his concerned mom enrolled him in an experimental therapy at UCLA where then doctoral student George Rekers told his parents they would turn Kirk from a femmy boy into a masculine young man.
They rewarded Kirk for any “masculine” behaviors and physically punished him for any “feminine” ones. By the end of the therapy, his siblings said they no longer recognized Kirk as the same person. Decades later, Kirk came out as gay, could never sustain intimate relationships, and then committed suicide at the age of 38.
This week, silver fox Anderson Cooper ran a three-part series on George “Rentboy” Rekers’ “ex-gay” therapy. We’re presenting all three parts of his report along with small vignettes from each, though each video is worth watching in full.
Keep in mind that Kirk’s treatment was not a proven therapy but an experimental therapy where they rewarded Kurt with blue chips and parental affection for acting masculine and red chips and physical abuse for acting femmy. When the therapy ended, Rekers said that Kirk was “indistinguishable from any other boy.” His sister says that for the next three years Kirk chose to eat his school lunches in the boy’s bathroom rather than face others.