5 Dec 2010

Ex-gay therapy is child abuse and those who practice it have blood on their hands

Gay Rights - May 17, 2010

Ex-Gay Therapy Is Child Abuse

by Michael A. Jones

If there was any further proof needed that ex-gay therapy, like the kind championed by Exodus International and the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), was child abuse, George Alan Rekers has your evidence.

Rekers has become quite the hot story in recent weeks, given that he spent decades of his life trying to cure people of their homosexuality, only to be caught with a male escort in the Miami airport who went on vacation with him and gave him nude massages. Nothing quite makes for juicy headlines like a commander in the culture war being caught (literally) with his pants down, while a dude rubs his genitals.

Rekers gained notoriety over the decades for helping launch such anti-gay organizations as the Family Research Council and NARTH, as well as testifying in court cases that gay adoption was tantamount to terrorism. For his work on the latter, Rekers was paid handsome sums of money by states like Florida and Arkansas, that employed his services in efforts to ban gay people from adopting kids.

In the wake of his scandal, Rekers has had to disassociate himself with nearly all of the anti-gay organizations he's worked with and/or built over the years, and likewise, these organizations have been all too quick to distance themselves from Rekers. The Family Research Council purged his name from their site within 48 hours after the scandal broke, and then tried to issue a mealy-mouthed statement about how Rekers was hardly involved with the organization (despite having his name listed on the founding documents).

Rekers has in large part become a punchline now, yet another example of an anti-gay leader or politician (Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard) caught up in a gay sex scandal. But it's important not to lose sight of Rekers' work over these years, and the destruction that it caused thousands upon thousands of people. Because while Rekers might never work again in the ex-gay movement, there are still loads of people all too willing to do his work.

And it's his work that the Miami New Times is uncovering this week, [see article below] describing a scenario from Rekers past where he tried to cure a four-year-old of "effeminate tendencies." But what Rekers put this four-year-old through is, simply put, nothing short of child abuse.

It was the 1970s, and Rekers was at a UCLA clinic he started called "The Feminine Boy Project." The goal of the organization? To break boys of any "feminine" tendencies, to ensure that they wouldn't be openly gay later in life. (That a program called "The Feminine Boy Project" could even exist at a place like UCLA says a whole lot about where the spectrum of conversation existed vis a vis gay rights in the 1970s.)

The story the New Times documents, courtesy of a 2001 article in Brain, Child Magazine, discusses how Rekers was presented with a four-year-old boy in 1974 named "Kraig." Kraig was showing what his parents thought were feminine tendencies, so they brought him to Rekers to be cured. What Rekers did to this boy defies human decency.

First he put Kraig in a "play observation room," and filled it with girl toys and boy toys. Whenever Kraig played with girl toys, Rekers instructed Kraig's mother to ignore her child and show him no affection. Kraig got so desperate for his mother's attention, that he screamed hysterically. Kraig's anxiety level got so high, and his mother so uncomfortable watching her four-year-old scream, that other clinicians within UCLA had to break up the "experiment."

But that didn't end Kraig's ordeal. As the New Times writes, Rekers continued his experimentation on Kraig at the family's home. In one set up, Kraig engaged in a role play where he got blue chips for manly behavior, and red chips for feminine behavior. The blue chips could be cashed in for candy, while the red chips would earn Kraig a beating from his father. And this all continued for two years, until Rekers was satisfied that Kraig had manned up (or at least "manned up" as much as any toddler can).

Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or, apparently, a UCLA psychologist) to figure out how this turns out. Years down the road, at the age of 18, Kraig tried to commit suicide, ashamed of his life and the "treatment" he received at the hands of Rekers.

Now multiply Kraig's story by 10,000, or 100,000, or maybe even upwards of a few million, and you'll get the grand toll of damage that "ex-gay therapy" has reaped on this world. Does Rekers, as well as the folks at Exodus at NARTH, have blood on their hands?

You better believe it.

(Michael Jones is a Change.org Editor. He has worked in the field of human rights communications for a decade, most recently for Harvard Law School.)

This article was found at:



Miami New Times - May 17, 2010

Before He Hired an Escort, Rekers Tried to Spank the Gay Away

By Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp

What do you do with a little boy who likes cross-dressing and playing with dolls? If you're George Alan Rekers, you "extinguish" the boy's feminine behavior with a sometimes violent Pavlovian regimen while your scientific team observes through a one-way mirror.

That's what the Baptist minister -- who made international headlines when he was exposed by Miami New Times this month for hiring a gay escort -- did in the early 1970s at a clinic he opened at UCLA called the Feminine Boy Project.

In 1974, Rekers, a leading thinker in the so-called ex-gay movement, was presented with a 4-year-old "effeminate boy" named Kraig, whose parents had enrolled him in the program. Rekers put Kraig in a "play-observation room" with his mother, who was equipped with a listening device. When the boy played with girly toys, the doctors instructed her to avert her eyes from the child.

According to a 2001 account in Brain, Child Magazine, "On one such occasion, his distress was such that he began to scream, but his mother just looked away. His anxiety increased, and he did whatever he could to get her to respond to him... Kraig became so hysterical, and his mother so uncomfortable, that one of the clinicians had to enter and take Kraig, screaming, from the room."

Rekers's research team continued the experiment in the family's home. Kraig received red chips for feminine behavior and blue chips for masculine behavior. The blue chips could be cashed in for candy or television time. The red chips earned him a "swat" or spanking from his father. Researchers periodically entered the family's home to ensure proper implementation of the reward-punishment system.

After two years, the boy supposedly manned up. Over the decades, Rekers, who ran countless similar experiments, held Kraig up as "the poster boy for behavioral treatment of boyhood effeminacy."

At age 18, shamed by his childhood diagnosis and treatment, Rekers's poster boy attempted suicide, according to Gender Shock, a book by journalist Phyllis Burke. Rekers, whose early experiments were the first to ostensibly demonstrate a "gay cure," resigned from the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) last week, after it was revealed the gay escort had given him nude sexual massages. NARTH, however, stands by his science.

This article was found at:



UK psychotherapist faces discipline hearing for using discredited Christian based homosexual conversion therapy

Undercover investigation prompts British Medical Assn. to call for ban of discredited, harmful gay conversion therapies

American Psychological Association declares gay-to-straight therapy is harmful and doesn't work

Connecticut Church Posts Exorcism of Gay Teen on Youtube

New website tracks clergy abuse in Church of God in Christ, but is run by pastor who abuses gay christians


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