Did Therapy Destroy The Boy Who Played With Dolls?June 9, 2011 No Comments
When the news of Baby Storm and its undisclosed gender came out, reactions went from outrage to doubt and incomprehension.“The Sissy Boy Experiment,” a documentary presented on CNN this week is a great argument against the idea that the traditional conceptions of gender and sexuality are the only ones we should promote.
The film revolves around Kirk Andrew Murphy. He worked with the then-doctoral student, George Rekers, at University of California-Los Angeles, to make himself more masculine and less gay. He ended up committing suicide in 2003, at age 38. He had had a career in the Air Force, but despite his therapy, he was gay and never accepted his sexuality.
His mother first took him to Rekers because she was worried he played too many girly games and wouldn’t have a normal life with other children. Rekers then prescribed a therapy where whenever Murphy would engage in “masculine” behaviour, he would get rewarded by his mother. On the other hand he would get punished, often beaten, by his father when displaying a “feminine” attitude.
His family now believes that this therapy caused his suicide. Rekers, who later made a career for claiming to be able to preventing being gay, told CNN that was “inaccurate to assume” this conclusion. He has always presented Murphy’s case as a success in the academic papers he released about his research, referred to as “Kraig.”
It would be easy to see Murphy’s story as just a sad tale from the past (his “treatment” took place in the 70’s) but anti-gay therapy still abounds today and has yet to show significant results.
From the hell houses that show thousands of teens around Halloween that homosexuality is a sure ticket to hell, to the fundamental Christian groups such as Exodus International, which has affiliates in all US states and Canada provinces as well as abroad, the belief that you can squish the gay out of someone still has an abundance of followers.
And they’re not all religious groups. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) uses a brand of science that still claims that homosexuals are troubled to “help” those with same-sex attractions to get rid of them. Their research is often used by the aforementioned religious groups to back up their stance.
Parents who tried to change their children’s sexual preferences to try to protect them from homophobia were instead perceived as rejecting their child’s individuality and sexual expression, according to Caitlin Ryan, the director of the Family Acceptance Project. True acceptance is telling your child that the others are wrong for judging someone for their sexual orientation.
Let the story of Kirk Andrew Murphy serve as a cautionary tale. Decisions you make for your child impact them for their entire lives. No one else should be submitted to that kind of suffering.
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