Kirk Murphy

Image: BTB

Conservative Christian psychologist Dr Warren Throckmorton says that the story of Kirk Murphy, aka “Kraig,” should provoke “a serious re-examination” of gay-to-straight therapy.

Yesterday, Box Turtle Bulletin and CNN broke the true story behind the “Sissy Boy” experiment, during which Kirk, then five, underwent psychiatric treatment intended to turn an effeminate, “gender-confused” homosexual-in-waiting into a masculine, heterosexual boy. That was in 1970. In 2003, aged 38 and gay, Kirk committed suicide. The experiment — which George Rekers hailed throughout his career as an “ex-gay” success — was a failure.

Now Throckmorton, a former advocate of reparative therapy, says the revelation calls all ex-gay therapy into question. He found that the “classic” reparative therapy volume A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Joseph Nicolosi, refers to Rekers over 20 times and cites the 1974 paper about Kirk — renamed “Kraig” — as evidence that such therapy can change children with “Gender Identity Disorder,” or GID. Nicolosi writes:

GID Children Can Change

In fact, experts have reported that GID children who were assumed to have a biological problem may in fact respond surprisingly well to therapeutic intervention. Researchers Reker, Lovaas, and Low describe one of their young clients:

When we first saw him, the extent of his feminine identification was so profound (his mannerisms, gestures, fantasies, flirtations, etc., as shown in his “swishing” around the home and clinic, fully dressed as a woman with long dress, wig, nail polish, high screechy voice, slovenly seductive eyes) that it suggested irreversible neurological and biochemical determinants. At the 26-month follow-up he looked and acted like any other boy. People who view the videotaped recordings of him before and after treatment talk of him as “two different boys.”

Interestingly, a look at NARTH’s 2009 literature review, which purported to represent a century’s worth of research into reparative therapy, makes no mention of the 1974 paper. Yet the Journal of Human Sexuality — the discredited NARTH created this and published the literature review in the first edition so it could claim to have published this “significant milestone” in a “peer-reviewed journal” — lists George A Rekers as an associate editor.

Could it be that Rekers and his colleagues, knowing by now that Kirk had committed suicide and was a failed experiment, ensured the paper went uncited? The omission may be telling.

Part 2 of the CNN investigation “The Sissy Boy Experiment: Uncovering the Truth,” will air tonight (Wednesday, June 8th) at 10pm ET on Anderson Cooper 360. According to yesterday’s preview, George Rekers will appear in the segment.

See also Jim Burroway’s online project about Kirk: What Are Little Boys Made Of?

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