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Kirk Murphy’s Story Honored With NLGJA Award

Jim Burroway

July 10th, 2012

Kirk, at the age of 4 years and 6 months, just a few months before entering treatment at UCLA's Feminine Boy Project (Photo courtesy of the Murphy family)

I was just notified that I have been honored with the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) Award for Excellence in Online Journalism for last summer’s “What Are Little Boys Made Of?” That investigation told the story of four-year-old Kirk Andrew Murphy, who was treated for “pre-homosexuality” at UCLA by George Rekers in 1970. It affected the rest of his life. He committed suicide in 2003.

Anderson Cooper and his team were also honored for “Sissy Boy Experiments,” a three-part series which also covered Kirk’s story. Congrats to the entire CNN team. Sadly, much of the team has been laid off when CNN cut its investigative journalism bureau.

Also congratulations to Chris Geidner (a former Buckeye!) for winning the Sarah Petit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award. No one does legal reporting better. No one even comes close. Also congratulations to Steven Thrasher for winning 2012 NLGJA Journalist of the Year.

2012 NLGJA Excellence in Journalism Awards Announced

Washington, D.C.– Today the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) announces the recipients of its Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The recipient of this year’s Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher of the Village VoiceNew York Times, and Out. The recipient of this year’s Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media goes to Chris Geidner, formerly of MetroWeekly.

NLGJA’s Excellence in Journalism Awards were established in 1993 to foster, recognize and reward excellence in journalism on issues related to the LGBT community. In addition to Journalist of the Year and the Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for Excellence in LGBT Media, awards will be presented for excellence in news writing, feature writing, opinion writing, local television, network television, radio, online, HIV/AIDS and student journalism.

The 2012 Journalist of the Year is Steven W. Thrasher, a staff writer for the Village Voice and writer for the New York Times and Out. Whether it is about multigenerational gay families, a homeless shelter for LGBT youth, or a controversial political dynasty involved in New York’s same-sex marriage battles, Thrasher’s work succeeds at being interesting and unexpected. A keen interviewer and beautiful writer, his willingness to move beyond the usual in covering LGBT lives hit its peak this year.

This year’s Sarah Pettit LGBT Journalist of the Year Award goes to Chris Geidner, former political editor at Metro Weekly, starting July 16 as senior political reporter at BuzzFeed.  Geidner was the go-to voice for important news stories in Washington, D.C., covering the White House, Supreme Court, and Justice Department.  His sober and intelligent writing thoroughly explains some of the most important political stories of the year, quickly becoming one of the attributed LGBT journalists online and in the mainstream press.

“It was another outstanding year for quality journalism reporting on LGBT issues and lives.  The 30th Anniversary of the beginning of the AIDS crisis brought outstanding work from KQED and CNN, while Cary Aspirnwall’s story of a transgender teen in the Tulsa World shined a light on transgender lives in an unusual place. Judges were especially impressed with the work of Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, who took citizen journalism to a new level with his coverage of Geoege Reker’s experiment in uncovering what makes little boys gay and its impact on one particular man,” says David Steinberg , NLGJA’s National Board President. “NLGJA’s excellence in journalism awards recognize a variety of media and journalists who exemplify NLGJA’s commitment to fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues.”

NLGJA Journalist of the Year
Winner: Steven W. Thrasher – Village Voice, New York Times, Out

Sarah Petit LGBT Journalist of the Year
Winner: Chris Geidner – MetroWeekly
Runner-Up: Jen Colletta – Philadelphia Gay News

Excellence in News Writing:
First Place: Chris Geidner, MetroWeekly, DOJ Stops Defending DOMA
Second Place: Brett Zongker, Associated Press, Coverage of the National Portrait Gallery’s first show on history of LGBT art
Third Place: Jen Colletta, Philadelphia Gay News , Coverage of the Stacey Blahnik murder

Excellence in Feature Writing:
First Place: Cary Aspinwall, Tulsa World, “Becoming Kate”
Second Place: June Thomas, Slate, “The Gay Bar”
Third Place: Karina Bland, Arizona Republic, “2 Gay Dads, 12 Happy Kids”

Excellence in Student Journalism
First Place: Simon Husted, Fusion (Kent State), “Jake Nash: Speaking For The Transgender Community”

Excellence in HIV/AIDS Coverage
First Place: CNN, “30 Years of AIDS: Profiles”
Writer/Producers: Elizabeth Landau and Madison Park,
Second Place:  CNN, Sanjay Gupta MD: AIDS Turns 30
Correspondent: Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Senior Executive Producer: Roni Selig
Executive Producer- Jennifer Pifer Bixler
Third Place: Regan Hoffman, Poz, “R.I.P. HIV”

Excellence in Opinion Writing
First Place: Aaron Stella, Philadelphia Gay News
Second Place: Sean Bugg, MetroWeekly

Excellence in Radio
First Place: California Report for KQED, “AIDS at 30”
Host/Reporter: Scott Shafer
Second Place:  SiriusXM OutQ News, “Live Coverage: Gay Marriage in New York”
Anchor/Producer: Xorje Olivares;;
Third Place: State of the Re:Union, “Laramie After Matthew Shepard”
Host and Executive Producer: Al Letson
Producer: Laura Starecheski
Senior Content Editor: Taki Telonidis
Executive Director: Ian DeSousa

Excellence in Online Journalism
First Place: Jim Burroway, Box Turtle Bulletin, “What Are Little Boys Made of”
Second Place: Michael Luongo, The Advocate, “Unlikely Activist”
Third Place: Adam Polaski, Bilerico Project, Lez Get Real/Paula Brooks Scandal

Excellence in Network Television
First Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Sissy Boy Experiments”
Correspondents: Anderson Cooper, Randi Kaye,
Executive Producer for AC360: Charlie Moore
Executive Producer: Bud Bultman
Producers: Jessi Joseph and Scott Bronstein
Editor: April Hock, Blake Luce
Second Place: CNN International, “World’s Untold Stories: Corrective Rape”
Executive Producers: Mike McCarthy, Sheri England
Producer: Brent Swails
Correspondent: Nkepile Mabuse
Editor: Earl Nurse
Third Place: CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360: Bullying It Stops Here”
Correspondent: Soledad O’Brien
Anchor: Anderson Cooper
Executive Producer: Charlie Moore
Senior Broadcast Producer: Kara Kasarjian
Senior Editorial Producer: Kerry Rubin
Producer: Chuck Hadad
Associate Producer: Elise Miller
Writer: Marshall Arbitman, Maureen Miller
Editors: Nathaniel Little, Carl Graf

Excellence in Local TV
First Place: WDAF-TV (Fox-Kansas City), “Meet My Moms”
Reporter/Anchor: Abby Eden
Photojournalist: Sarah Thacker

Awards will be presented at the UNITY 2012 Convention NLGJA Awards Reception, August 3, 2012 in Las Vegas.  For more information on the convention, visit



July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Congratulation Jim!!
Although Las Vegas might be a bit warm in August… Oh and we will want pics :)

Priya Lynn
July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Way to go, Jim!

July 10th, 2012 | LINK


July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Well-deserved. BTB is the gold standard in investigation and analysis.

July 10th, 2012 | LINK


It is very well-deserved. I recall reading it and anxiously awaiting new entries. It really illuminated (for me) the whole NARTH/Nicolosi/Rekers nexus.

July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Congratulations Jim.

And, I think some of the contributions by the commentors have been part of reason for the award. The discussions in the comments sections are one of reasons BTB is unique and a favorite blog of many.

Plus, I bet you are on your way for another award next year.

F Young
July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Congratulations, Jim! Well-deserved.

July 10th, 2012 | LINK

Congrats, Jim! What an honor! Very well deserved, for sure!

Lindoro Almaviva
July 10th, 2012 | LINK


July 11th, 2012 | LINK

Well deserved & congratulations!

Timothy (TRiG)
July 12th, 2012 | LINK



Richard Rush
July 12th, 2012 | LINK

I’m not surprised by the award, Jim. You thoroughly deserved it. Your series was so illuminating and moving that I was compelled to read each installment in its entirety, and then go back to reread certain parts. I don’t often do that (I usually skim through articles, especially longer ones, not only here at BTB, but everywhere).

July 14th, 2012 | LINK

Congratulations for this well deserved award. Jim’s and BTB’s reporting and coverage of this issue was impeccable. We are all devoted to you for exposing this tragedy and teasing out the ramification of the sissy-boy treatments. Your work shows concretely the power and potential of the gay blogosphere.

July 14th, 2012 | LINK

Just noticed a blog about your receiving the award by Claude Summers at Here is the url:

He says the award is much deserved and describes the investigation as riveting.

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