Rekers’ Legacy Includes Attempted Suicide
May 17th, 2010
Before discredited anti-gay activist George Rekers was found to have hired a rentboy to “lift his luggage,” Rekers had been one of the major so-called “researchers” into the ostensible causes and cures of homosexuality. Rekers research, however was anything but impartial, taking as it does an a priori assumption that all homosexuality is disordered, and that, according to Rekers, it is always caused by improper parenting despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Those theories have led to Rekers’ adoption of abusive “therapies” and at least one attempted suicide.
A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy Hooper at GoodAsYou discovered a 1976 newspaper article describing UCLA’s “Gender Identity Clinic” which was jointly run by Drs. Ivar Lovaas and Rekers while Rekers was at the Fuller Theological Seminary. The article describes a series of aversion therapy experiments which were conducted on pre-pubertal elementary school-aged boys who showed signs of effeminate behavior and mannerisms. One four-year-old who entered the program in 1974, was identified as “Kraig.” That “treatment” had this effect after only “ten months of behavior modification which included spankings for wrong choices”:
He was, at the start, passive, non-assertive, allowed others to tease him. Now, he “regularly returns aggressiveness in his male-peer interactions.” In fact, the researchers write, Kraig’s mommy was alarmed at her son’s transformation into “a roughneck” — so reckless in play that he was hurting imself and damaging the furniture. The psychiatrists reassured the mother that her son’s “mild delinquent” behavior would be far easier to overcome in later years than effeminacy.
A competent therapist would have seen “Kraig’s” aggressive behavior as a classic warning sign. Abused children often become aggressive to the point of “delinquency.” But Rekers was no competent therapist, and instead held “Kraig” up as a poster-boy for his abusive treatments. The Miami New Times today reports that in 2001, there was a follow-up of “Kraig,” which showed the results of the abuse that he suffered.
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 recently resigned from the National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH), where he was also a member of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee.” Another former member of NARTH’s advisory committee, Joseph Berger, in 2006 endorsed bullying and teasing of transgender children as a legitimate form of treatment. In a message posted to NARTH’s now-defunct blog, Berger wrote:
I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.
On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.
Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.
Birds of a feather…