I imagine many people have seen the story of the life George Rekers ruined, but its a story I think everyone should see – and see how damaging ex-gay therapy is, how poisonous homophobia and how homophobic bigotry can be used to justify horrendous child abuse.
Kirk Murphy was a 5 year old boy who was considered too “feminine” and it was worried he would become gay. In fear of this oh-so-dreadful state, his parents took him to government funded “therapy” where he was “treated” by, among others, the now infamous “Can I lift your luggage” George Rekers.
The therapy consisted of forcing Kirk to play only with “appropriate” toys and only to show “masculine” behaviour. When he dared to be himself, he was ignored by his mother. Over and over he was shunned by his mother until he only acted as “properly masculine”. Further into the therapy and at home he was given blue discs for “appropriate” behaviour and red discs for the “inappropriate, feminine” behaviour. When he had several red discs, he was beaten with a belt by his father.
It's, perhaps no surprise that Kirk learned to suppress his behaviour after being so abused. It is, sadly, equally unsurprising that Kirk eventually took his own life.
His bigoted “doctors” have no right to the label. And, frankly I side-eye the prejudiced, abusive parents that allowed and co-operated in this abuse. And no "today it would be abuse" is false. It was abuse.
His story can be seen in part in the video behind this link here. It is, obviously, extremely painful and triggering to watch
In depth accounts of the steps of this tragedy can be found at the Box Turtle Bulletin
Remember, the “research” from this is still being cited by bigots today. Remember that until Rekers was outed in the rentboy scandal, he was still being hired as an expert on GBLT people. Remember, ex-gay therapy, aversion therapy and all this vile abuse is still happening today.