June 9th, 2011
Kathleen Gilbert, writing for LifeSite, an anti-gay advocacy “news” site, has her own spin on the life of Kirk Murphy. Gilbert, already a Certified Cameronite for her distortion and dishonesty, borrows freely from Box Turtle Bulletin to reassemble various snippets into a tale that would not be recognized by anyone in the Murphy family, or anyone who is familiar with what happened at UCLA in 1970.
Relatives say the family was partially prompted to pursue therapy out of concern for how Kirk’s father, Rod, acted colder towards his younger son than to Mark, the elder brother.
“They said he had to go to UCLA because of his relationship with his dad,” said Kirk’s cousin Donna, according to Burroway. “They said it was Rod’s fault because he didn’t love Kirk enough.”
Gender identity therapists have recognized a lack of affection from one’s father as a risk factor for males developing gender identity disorders.
That, of course, is not at all why Kaytee took Kirk to UCLA. It was, rather, an explanation given to a child as recalled from Donna’s childhood. Here is the actual context from which Gilbert ripped her fanciful tale:
Mark clearly remembers a “before” and “after” with Kirk’s treatment. His memory is helped by the fact that they moved to a new house in 1969, just before Kirk entered treatment. And so he recalls with confidence that the family deteriorated noticeably during and following Kirk’s therapy. “I can remember a clear difference with our parents in our first house,” he said. “There was none of the ranting and raving, the fighting and drinking. Boy, that sure came after that.” Rod always drank some — “Those Irish Murphys you know,” Kaytee said, “they liked their beers!” — and so she doesn’t attribute Rod’s worsening drinking to the stresses surrounding Kirk’s therapy. But worsen it did, and that added more friction in the family.
Rod was clearly under a lot of pressure. While psychologists had placed a great deal of emphasis on the mother’s role in their children’s development, researchers at UCLA (Rekers included) were turning their attention more directly toward fathers in deciding which parent was more at fault in making a child “prehomosexual.” Donna remembered overhearing the adults in the family blaming Rod for Kirk’s “problem.”
“They said he had to go to UCLA because of his relationship with his dad,” she said. “They said it was Rod’s fault because he didn’t love Kirk enough. Kirk wasn’t interested in sports the way Mark was, and he would play sports more with Mark. Kirk was quieter and more interested in music. And I know it was discussed that he didn’t love his son enough. I don’t believe that was true, but there was a discussion that I remember.” Rod remained resistant to taking Kirk to UCLA. “I don’t think he bought into the whole thing,” she said.
But Gilbert selects this recollection to present as support for her fanciful fiction.
After the sessions finished, the Murphys were instructed to continue encouraging normative behavior on a token reinforcement system, using red and blue poker chips to reinforce both gender-related and other habits. Rekers concluded at a three-year follow-up session that the child’s more masculine habits “have become normalized,” and the therapy was deemed a success.
However, according to the family’s recollections, the reinforcement regimen took an ugly turn when brought back home: instead of the “spanking” advised for Kirk’s misbehavior, according to his children and wife Rod Murphy physically abused his son so violently that Kirk’s sister Maris recalls hiding in her room under pillows to avoid hearing Kirk’s screams. Mark Murphy broke down in tears as he recalled how he would try to save his younger brother from his father’s beatings.
Again, Gilbert’s tale has as little to do with Kirk’s life as does Rekers’ fictitious “Kraig” reports. And the motivation is the same.
Like George Rekers, Kathleen Gilbert isn’t interested in the truth. She despises the truth, prefering lies that advance her church’s doctrine, especially that which demeans gay people and enforces civil inequalities. And, sadly, she is more than willing to abuse a family already the victim of those who share her view of the world.
It’s hard to understand just what compels someone like Gilbert to cause needless pain to the Murphy family. How can she hurt others just to advance a political doctrine, and yet consider herself to be an advocate for God? What kind of person would willfully disregard the truth in a quest for heterosexual supremacy and Catholic privilege?
Those who read here will know that there are a few words we use very sparingly. But it is hard for me to think of Kathleen Gilbert and her deliberate abuse of this story in terms other than “evil”.
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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