Box Turtle Bulletin, CNN Expose Flawed Early Treatment and Writing By George Rekers

Posted by Chris Geidner
June 8, 2011 10:10 AM |

On June 7, Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin -- the same blog that has led the country in its coverage of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill -- unveiled his newest project: "What Are Little Boys Made Of?"

Kirk-Murphy.jpgIn introducing this new investigation, Burroway wrote:

In the summer of 1970, just before Kirk [Murphy]'s fifth birthday, his parents learned about a new federally funded research program at UCLA for young boys who were showing early signs of being effeminate. Concerned that Kirk was exhibiting some of the behaviors listed by a UCLA researcher on a local television talk show, Kirk's parents decided to take him in for an evaluation and treatment. Ten months later, Kirk's therapy was judged a success and his parents were reassured he would now grow up to be a normal, heterosexual man.

When Kirk was undergoing treatment at UCLA, he was under the care of a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. In 1974, Rekers and his mentor, Dr. Ivar Lovaas, published a landmark paper describing "Kraig's" treatment — "Kraig" being their pseudonym for Kirk. That paper, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, was "the first experimental study on the subject of childhood cross-gender problems." That paper launched Rekers's career, first as an expert in childhood sexual development, and later as an anti-gay activist.

Unfortunately -- and despite the treatment's "success" -- Murphy attempted suicide before turning 18 and ultimately killed himself in 2003 at the age of 38.

Rekers, however, went on to co-found the Family Research Council, one of the most vigorously anti-LGBT organizations in the country. He also was a board member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) -- up until he was caught by the Miami New Times returning from having taken a vacation with a young man who he found on

Now, with Burroway's uncommon skill at critically researching some of the most notorious anti-LGBT figures in the country and world, he is taking on the work that formed the basis for Rekers's career -- and for much of the "ex-gay" organizations in which he was later involved. As Burroway writes:

Much has been written about "Kraig," but until now the world knew virtually nothing about Kirk, the real life young boy behind George Rekers's most famous case. It's time to change that.

This time, Burroway has some help from CNN's Anderson Cooper, whose show is running a three-part series on what it calls "The 'Sissy Boy' Experiment." The first segment, below, aired on the night of June 7. The second is to air tonight.


[Photo: Murphy at 4. (Photo courtesy Box Turtle Bulletin.)]

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