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Posts for May, 2010

St. Petersburg Times Slams McCollom’s “Sleezy Deal” in Hiring Rekers

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2010

It’s rare to see an editorial filled with so much righteous anger, but this one really takes the prize:

Attorney General Bill McCollum and George Rekers have this in common: They were both happy to hire sleazy services, and they knew what they were getting for the money. Now both are having trouble explaining themselves.

That’s the opening gambit. The editorial board slams McCollum, who is now the GOP candidate for Florida governor, over his hiring Rekers as an “expert” witness” for the state’s defense of the gay adoption ban. McCollum ended up paying Rekers more than $120,000 for Rekers’ “expertise.” McCollum protested that he performed a thorough search for expert witnesses who would testify in support of the ban and that Rekers was the best he could find because “there wasn’t a whole lot of choice.” The paper retorted, “There was not a whole lot of choice because legitimate mental health professionals don’t share Rekers’ homophobic views, and Florida is the only state that bans adoptions by gay residents.”

Also, the paper points out that McCollumn’s search wasn’t all that thorough. Three years earlier, Rekers was blasted by an Arkansas court as “extremely suspect” and that he “was there to primarily to promote his own personal ideology.” Rekers tried to bilk Arkansas $200,000 for his services, but Arkansas paid “only” $60,000. As the Times concluded, Florida deserves a refund. “This is not the sort of sloppy staff work a Republican candidate for governor can easily defend,” they said.

What would a Rekers defamation suit bring about?

Timothy Kincaid

May 13th, 2010

Dr. George Rekers is threatening to sue “media outlets” for defamation, and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver has pledged to support him. But what exactly does he mean?

We have been told the following:

1. Rekers found Jo-Vanni Roman on RentBoy.com, a site designed to facilitate gay male prostitutes and their prospective johns finding each other.

2. Rekers contracted for Roman to accompany him to Europe. In addition to ‘luggage lifting’ services, the contract required that Roman spend a designated amount of time with Rekers and also “will provide George Rekers a massage for at least one hour each day of the trip in their shared rooms using the same procedures (“Lucien”) provided to George Rekers in Florida.” Roman has clarified the massages were nude, were sexual in nature, and that the procedures involved genital contact.

Interestingly, Rekers does not dispute – or even address – these details. He seems relatively unconcerned about providing clarification about the particulars of the massages or the origins of their first communication. Instead he has focused his attention, his objection, and his denial around one statement.

Rekers’ first mention of a defamation suit was on the 6th, right after the Miami New Times reported that Roman told them that Rekers “is a homosexual.”

“If today’s news story in the Miami New Times is accurate,” said Rekers in an e-mail to me, “I have been advised to retain the services of a defamation attorney in this matter, because the fact is that I am not gay and never have been.”

You may note that Rekers was not threatening defamation based on prior reporting, but on what had been claimed that day.

Then on the 11th, he reiterated his threat with a statement to NARTH.

“I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.”

Considering the earlier accusations that the Miami New Times was engaging in “false impressions” and “misleading innuendo” and “incorrectly implying”, I think that a pattern has developed which helps clarify exactly what Rekers fears the most.

Dr. George Rekers does not want to be thought of as a homosexual.

He so objects to this that he is willing to file a defamation suit against anyone who claims, implies, or gives the impression that he is. And Liberty Counsel is willing to back him.

But why would Rekers and Staver focus solely on the identity and not on the facts as known? That is because Dr. George Rekers – and Liberty Counsel – define homosexuality differently than you or I.

We accept the concept of sexual orientation. We allocate people into categories based on the sex towards which their attractions point. If a person is primarily attracted to persons of the same sex, we identify them as homosexual. It’s just a matter of fact, and folks have little to no say in the matter.

But to Rekers, a homosexual is defined by his behavior. Those who engage in homosexual acts are homosexuals, and if one chooses to resist temptation, then one is not homosexual.

And Rekers seems to define “homosexual behavior” differently from most of us. It appears to me that he has established a line beyond which he will not go. Erotic massage is not “homosexual behavior”, while oral or anal sex clearly are. This way of thinking is evidenced in his statement to blogger Joe.my.god.

If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse… [emphasis added]

I suspect that Rekers believes himself to be truthful when he says that he did not engage in homosexual behavior and is not a homosexual. Under the definitions he and his community use, he may have submitted to his weaknesses, but he did not cross his line in behavior and he is actively choosing not to be a homosexual.

So if Rekers does sue, this will be a fascinating case. It will go far beyond the questions about who did what to whom, where, and in what state of undress. Rather, this case would hinge on the question, “How do you define homosexuality?”

If “homosexual behavior” is limited to insertive penile contact, and if “homosexual” is one who chooses to live a life centered around one’s same-sex attractions, then Rekers has a basis for his objections. But the court system is not an adjunct of the conservative evangelical Christian movement, and it is not subject to the carefully crafted language that allows Rekers a level of deniability.

Going forward with a defamation lawsuit is very risky for Rekers and Staver.

Defense will call witnesses from the mental health professions who will inform the court about modern thinking on matters of sexuality. They will witness that it is reasonable to use the term “homosexual” to describe a man who is erotically aroused by same-sex contact. They will provide testimony of Rekers’ behavior, of the sexual nature of his contact with Roman, and possibly even a record of his activity on the RentBoy site.

Rekers and his counsel will be left trying to defend their own peculiar definition of homosexuality, and arguing that the media be punished for not adopting their language. This would be a hard sell.

And, in the process, Dr. George Rekers runs the risk of having a court declare him to be homosexual. And that would be truly devastating for the anti-gay movement.

Rekers’ “Entrapment” Excuse

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2010

… was anticipated five years ago by The Onion (headline NSFW).

There is no such thing as parody anymore.

Liberty Counsel Accuses Jo-Vanni of Being An Irresistably Cute “Setup” for Rekers

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2010

The knives are out for Jo-vanni Roman, the Miami-based escort who accompanied disgraced anti-gay activist George Rekers on a ten-day trip to Europe so Roman could “lift Rekers’ luggage” — and provide daily nude massages. As an indication of how important Rekers’ downfall was to the anti-gay establishment, Matt Savers’ Liberty Counsel has agreed to back Rekers’ threat to sue Roman and media outlets for defamation. From this morning’s Washington Times:

Officials at the Liberty Counsel said Wednesday they would back Mr. Rekers if he followed through on his threat this week to sue media outlets and others for trying to discredit him.

“I think [Mr. Rekers] would have a great case to file a defamation action,” said Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel said.

“I think it was a completely arranged setup,” he said, referring to the presence of writers of the free weekly Miami New Times at Miami International Airport when Mr. Rekers and his hired travel companion arrived in the United States April 13.

…The Liberty Counsel’s Mr. Staver said he believes Mr. Rekers’ recent court appearances, in which the professor testified in favor of state bans on gay adoption, became “a major focus of people trying to discredit him as an individual.”

“I think that it’s the classic [tactic], ‘If you can’t destroy the message, you destroy the messenger,’ … and I think this is a personal attack designed to cast aspersions on his character and reputation,” Mr. Staver said.

You see? It’s all Jo-vanni’s fault. The “setup” occurred when Jo-vanni put his irresistible profile onto Rentboy.com. If he hadn’t have done that, Rekers never would have noticed him among all the other luggage lifters the web site had on offer. Jo-vanni was the only one who could pull this off. See?

Damn Jo-vanni, if being cute were a crime, we’d just have to call you convicted!

Sir Norman Fry had a better explanation

Timothy Kincaid

May 12th, 2010

In hearing the explanations, clarifications, and charges of defamation from Dr. George Rekers puts me in mind, for some reason, of Little Britain USA’s delightful skit involving Sir Norman Fry

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Parts two and three are also quite fun.

Rekers Says He’s “Not Gay” Despite “Weaknesses”

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

The more Rekers speaks (or writes via email), the deeper he digs his hole. Earlier today Christianity Today followed up on George Rekers’ resignation from NARTH, in which, despite having paid an escort to, well, escort and nude-massage him through a ten-day trip to Europe, Rekers insists “I am not gay and never have been.” Sarah Pulliam Bailey got a follow-up statement from Rekers via email saying that he is currently receiving counselling from a team of three ”Christian counsellors” (sound familiar?) “so I can more fully understand my weaknesses and prevent this kind of unwise decision-making in the future.”

What those weaknesses are, he would not say.  But just so you know, he’s not gay and never has been.

Meanwhile Rekers says his wife will be retiring soon and will accompany him on trips when their sons are unavailable.

McCollum Doubled Rekers’ Fee For Incompetent Witness Testimony

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

Steve Rothous at the Miami Times Herald explains how Florida Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum came to pay disgraced “luggagegate” activist George Rekers more than $120,000:

The 2008 purchase requisition to pay Rekers $60,900. Click to download PDF (1.5 MB/2 pages). Via Miami Herald.

Anti-gay psychologist George Rekers charged Florida $300 an hour to testify as an expert witness in a trial defending Florida’s ban on gay people adopting. The state planned to cap Rekers’ fee at $60,900 — but paid him $120,693 after he exceeded his contracted hours.

“It is not unusual for estimated costs to require adjustment during the course of trial preparation,” said Sandi Copes, communications director for the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

Copes said the extra hours were not agreed to in writing, but “merely by discussion.”

…A 2008 Florida purchase requisition states that no payment to Rekers should exceed $60,900.Florida paid Rekers $60,900 in 2007 and $59,793 in 2009 for his testimony in the case of Frank Gill, a gay foster parent seeking to adopt two young brothers. Florida is the only state that bans all gay people from adopting.

Among Rekers’ charges to the state of Florida:

• $27,000 (90 hours) to “evaluate and critique” new research.

• $5,400 (18 hours) to meet with staff at the Attorney General’s Office to prepare for deposition.

• $6,000 (20 hours) to standby at trial and deliver expert academic opinions.

The 2008 purchase requisition is available here (PDF: 1.5MB/2 pages). And what did they get for all that money? Testimony that the judge found Rekers’ testimony was “motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science.” The judge concluded: “Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”

McCollum personally selected Rekers to be the state’s star expert witness, claiming that “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case.” A PDF of McCollum’s recommendation and his original suggestion that Rekers be capped at $100,000 is available here (164KB/2 pages). Given the judge’s evaluation of Rekers’ testimony, the sad fact is that McCollum may well have been right: Rekers probably was the best they could find, which speaks volumes about the so-called “expertise” of these anti-gay activists.

Leonard Pitts on Rekers: “There Is A Moral Crime Here”

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2010

Columnist Leonard Pitts notes that what George Rekers did was not without its victims:

If all this sounds like a rerun, that’s only because it is. Indeed, in recent years, the crusader against gay rights who is revealed to be secretly gay himself has become a “type,” ubiquitous to the point of cliché. The list includes disgraced evangelist Ted Haggard, the late former Spokane mayor James West, California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, Mel White, ghost writer for the likes of Jerry Falwell, who became a gay activist, and my personal favorite, Michael Bussee [hyperlink added], a founder of Exodus International, another group that purported to cure homosexuality. He gave it up when he fell in love with a guy named Gary Cooper.

As much free material as fellows like this provide for the likes of Jon Stewart and David Letterman, as perversely entertaining as it is to watch someone work out his private psychodrama in the public space, as fascinating as naked self-loathing can be, it is important to remember that this is not harmless.

To the contrary, there is a moral crime here. We are, after all, talking about men in positions of authority and reach, men who could make laws and influence public perception and who used that power against their own.

Put yourself in the shoes of the teenager, bewildered and frightened by these feelings he or she is not “supposed” to have, feelings of sexual attraction to people of the same gender. You try to deny them, try to ignore them, try to suppress them, but they will not go away. You are all alone, isolated behind a secret that presses down on you like weights, a fear of rejection that haunts you like ghosts.

And here comes Dr. Rekers telling you you are abnormal, telling you you are bad, telling you he can cure you, as if you had a disease like measles or the flu.

Then, in his off hours, after he’s done curing you, he’s trolling rentboy.com looking for young men to handle his, ahem . . . baggage.

NARTH and Rekers part ways

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2010

From the NARTH website:

“I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.” –George A. Rekers, Ph.D.

NARTH has accepted Dr. Rekers’ resignation and would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation. We express our sincere sympathy to all individuals, regardless of their perspective, who have been injured by these events. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH. NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client autonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.

Poor Dr. Rekers. He’s still convinced that going onto a website dedicated to connecting gay prostitutes with those wishing to procure their services, selecting a young man of 20, hiring him to give erotic massage, and then taking him on a 10 day trip in Europe during which he received daily erotic massages is somehow consistent with the claim that he has not “engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever.”

Delusion is a sad thing.

UPDATE: Prior to Rekers’ resignation, NARTH may have been involved with trying to control the story. (Miami New Times)

Lucien asked Rekers repeatedly if anyone else had been involved in the questionnaire. “Yeah, one of the guys who’s on the board of a professional organization with me,” Rekers said.

As Lucien kept digging for details, Rekers finally admitted that the “professional organization” was NARTH.

NARTH’s Pruden denies the claim.
Cuz, ya know, any advice given by NARTH members to Rekers wasn’t on the behalf of NARTH itself, you know.

Political fallout from Rekers’ rentboy exposure

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2010

When Dr. George Rekers was discovered returning from a 10 day European trip with a young man identified as a gay rentboy, the subsequent scandal ended his career as a advocate for anti-gay causes. Further, it added to the growing shared social understanding that ex-gay efforts are futile and based on pretense.

But although the damage to ex-gay and anti-gay efforts cannot be understated, the liabilities of this scandal are wider than could be expected. It appears that the fallout may extend to conservative politicians and may well derail the presumptive Republican nominee for Florida Governor.

In 2007, Frank Gill sued the state of Florida for the right to adopt the two small boys for whom he had become a foster father. Bill McCollum was attorney general at that time and it was his office which defended the state law that banned gay people from adopting.

The case was ideal for challenging the law. The two boys were non-responsive, suffering from untreated medical conditions, distrustful of everyone else and not bonded to any adults. Gill and his partner were ideal parents, and the turn-around in the boys’ socialization was nearly miraculous.

It was virtually impossible for McCollum’s office to convince any judge that it was in the best interest of these two boys that they be taken from the men with whom they had bonded and finally found a family. But McCollum’s office defended the law to the best of their ability. And the best of their ability included hiring Rekers to argue that gay men, on the whole, are less stable and are unfit parents.

Since the Rekers scandal broke, McCollum has sought to distance himself from Dr. Rekers, insisting that the selection and hiring of George Rekers was the decision of the Department of Children and Families, and that his office simply used the witness they selected.

But the Florida Tribune has now discovered that quite the opposite is true. The DCF didn’t want Rekers, and McCollum insisted that he be hired.

McCollum wrote a July 2007 letter to then DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth where he said his legal team “strongly” recommended the hiring of Rekers, a psychologist once on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and who helped found the Family Research Council back in the ‘80s.

“They believe that this expert and his testimony are necessary to ensure a successful result in this case,’’ wrote McCollum in the letter obtained by the Florida Tribune.

McCollum in his letter noted that initially DCF refused to hire Rekers, due primarily to the potential cost of his fees. Instead the child welfare agency wanted to only hire Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies at Kansas State University.

“Dr. Schumm is a good expert, but his areas of expertise are different from Dr. Rekers,’’ wrote McCollum. “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case.”

As it turned out, Rekers did a miserable job. His bias was so obvious that the judge wrote in her judgment:

Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.

It probably didn’t help that Rekers, in his testimony, suggested it would be consistent to also ban Native Americans from adopting children in the state. The ban on gay adoptions was overturned, and the state is currently appealing the decision. For which it seems they have employed Dr. George Rekers.

Now Bill McCollum is running for Governor. And the decision to employ Rekers – and pay him in excess of $120,000 – has now become a campaign issue. And it may grow in importance, potentially threatening McCollum’s coronation as Republican candidate for Governor.

Although early finagling resulted in McCollum running without credible primary competition, the Tea Partiers have fielded a candidate with a substantial fortune and a business background. In an attitude of anti-politician anger, McCollum is considered “too establishment.” (TMP)

Scott, a millionaire several hundred times over, jumped into GOP primary on April 13, after months of a campaign that already moved onto the general, with likely GOP nominee McCollum facing off against likely Democratic nominee and state CFO Alex Sink. But a new poll released over the weekend shows Scott has succeeded in forcing McCollum into an unexpected and costly primary fight.

It remains to be seen if Rick Scott will launch attacks on McCollum over his decision to hire Rekers. And, if so, we do not know the tone such ads may take. But there is no doubt that the fallout from the scandal has tainted the Attorney General.

And I think that one of the unexpected results of exposing Dr. George Rekers’ double-life – and revealing the hypocrisy in his testimony – may well be that politicians in the future are more hesitant to present or rely on the testimony of anti-gay activists. The repercussions of the Rekers testimony may encourage politicians who are conscious of their future to steer as far from anti-gays as possible.

Anderson Cooper on “Luggagegate”

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Jo-Vanni Roman comes across as a pretty solid young man in this piece.

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Rentboy #2?

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

There are bound to be others, aren’t there. Another former escort and self-described former porn star now says that he was hired by George Rekers to provide full body massage with “light sexual contact.” He said this happened “when I was in my 20′s” — he’s 41 now. He also claims that he’s a close, personal friend of Ted Haggard and believes that Haggard “is a faithful husband to his wife,” and that very much unlike Rekers, Haggard “is a dedicated Christian, and he is no enemy of gays.”

Jo-vanni had the fortune (or misfortune) of having been photographed with Rekers in the Miami airport, which makes his connection to Rekers indisputable. Proving “Chaz’s” connection to Rekers might be extremely difficult, and I don’t know how he will be able to make the connection stick. But whether this particular allegation is true or not, I do believe we can be certain that there are more Jo-vanni’s out there just waiting to come forward. Some, under all kinds of motivations. Caveat emptor.

Craig Ferguson on George Rekers

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Craig Ferguson is my favorite late night talk show host, and last night’s monologue was priceless. The George Rekers commentary starts at the 2:15 mark.

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His advice to anti-gay activists: If you’re really really anti-gay, then just “knock it off and buy yourself something fabulous.”

Details of CNN’s Interview with “Lucien” Leaked

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Details of CNN’s exclusive interview with Jo-Vanni Roman (a.k.a. “Lucien”), the Miami escort who accompanied anti-gay activist George Rekers on a ten-day trip to Europe, appeared briefly on the AC360 blog briefly, but it now appears to have been pulled. We don’t know if it’s because they didn’t want to give too much away ahead of time, or if other news stories (the Nashville floods, the oil spill in the gulf, financial problems in Greece, British elections) threaten to push this story off to another day. At any rate, we were able to capture some of what you can expect to see, assuming the story airs tonight:

Here’s the background. “Lucien” says Rekers hired him by answering his ad on the website, RentBoy.com. He says Rekers would have been exposed to all kinds of naked men in compromising sexual positions on the website before getting through to the ads for male companions.

“Lucien” showed me the contract he signed with Rekers. It does show he was hired to carry Rekers luggage because he needed help with that, but #3 in the contract terms spells out that Lucien “will provide George Rekers a massage for at least one hour each day of the trip in their shared rooms using the same procedures (“Lucien”) provided to George Rekers in Florida.” “Lucien” told me he had given Rekers two “sexual massages” in Florida at hotels before they even left for Europe and that Rekers had requested the massages be “sexual.” “Lucien” says he gave Rekers what he called the “long stroke” which included touching his genitals. He said the massages took place in their shared rooms in both London and Madrid. For his services, “Lucien” was paid $75 a day plus the cost of his air travel.

In a statement, George Rekers said “I hired him as a companion and to help with luggage, and that I did not hire him as a prostitute for any sexual purpose.” In a separate statement, Rekers said, “Professor George Rekers requires an assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing condition following surgery… Dr. Rekers found his recent travel assistant by interviewing acquaintances. There was nothing inappropriate with this relationship. Professor Rekers was not involved in any illegal or sexual behavior with his travel assistant.”

Lucien wasn’t paid for our interview and says he has turned down payments from other organizations for his story. He isn’t looking to make money on this. He says Rekers became sort of a “father figure” to him and he feels sorry for him. He told me George Rekers has asked him repeatedly not to talk to the media and not to tell anyone about his “sexual massages” but “Lucien” is talking because he wants people, especially in Florida, “to know who Rekers really is.”

CNN also got a comment from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose office paid Rekers $120,000 to serve as an expert witness in the state’s defense of Florida’s adoption ban for gay couples:

McCollum’s office told us Rekers came to their attention “by recommendation from another academic after an exhaustive search” and that Rekers “had exceptional credentials and he had provided testimony in similar cases on two separate occasions, one of which was a Florida case in Federal Court.” The statement goes on: “The contract was executed at the direction of the Department of Children and Families, and the ACLU did not object to his position as an expert at the hearing. He has completed his testimony and is no longer involved in this case.”

AC360° airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and 7:00 p.m. Pacific

Creepy Bookcover Watch

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

This is the book cover for George Reker’s 1982 book, “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Identity.”

Click to enlarge. I don’t know if that’s Rekers in the photo or not, but he was 34 years old when this book came out. We now know that Rekers hired a 20-year-old escort, a young man who just happens to be the exact same age as Rekers’ adopted son. Reker’s son was adopted at the age of sixteen. Freud is scratching his eyes out in his grave and I’m going to go and take a shower myself.

“Lucien” Speaks To Joe.My.God, Will Appear On CNN Tonight

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Jo-Vanni  Roman, the 20-year-old escort identified as “Lucien” in the latest Luggagegate controversy involving longtime anti-gay fixture Dr. George Rekers, spoke for about 90 minutes in the wee hours this morning with Joe Jervis, who has a synopsis posted on his web site. Roman says that there was very little “Gospel sharing,” and confirms that the massage was indeed sexual, although it also appears that sexual contact didn’t go beyond the massages. Roman also confirms that Rekers has had three hernia operations, and really did need assistance with the whole luggage lifting thing. Joe’s assessment is that Jo-Vanni is “maive perhaps, but not dumb” (Jo-Vanni didn’t know who Anita Bryant was, but then how many twenty-year-olds do?) It’s very well worth reading Joe’s account in its entirety.

Jo-Vanni also revealed that he would be appearing in an interview with “the gay reporter on TV,” apparently referring to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. His program, AC360°, airs tonight at 10:oo pm Eastern, 7:00 pm Pacific.

Univ. of S. Carolina clarifies purging Dr. Rekers

Timothy Kincaid

May 7th, 2010

We’ve heard a response from the University of South Carolina Medical School

Hello, Mr. Kincaid,

I have received your inquiry about Dr. Rekers’ bio information on the School of Medicine Web site. Recent media coverage called attention to the fact that his information was still on the site, when actually Dr. Rekers has been retired from the University of South Carolina since July 31, 2005, and has not had an affiliation with the university since that time.

I Hope this is helpful and that you have a very good weekend.

Sincerely,

Margaret M. Lamb
Media Relations Director
University of South Carolina

Which is nice and all that. But it does not explain why other retired professors continue to be listed as emeritus.

I’ve written back inquiring as to the school’s criteria.

UPDATE: I’ve heard back and It appears the Rekers situation has inspired the school to do a little housekeeping. And it seems that they will be applying a consistent standard:

Glad to try to eliminate confusion. The medical school does not have a policy, and, indeed, some emeritus professors, volunteer faculty and other retired faculty are still listed because they have maintained some contact with the medical school as active faculty by remaining available for teaching, consulting and service. However, medical school staff are going through Web site and over the next few weeks will post only names of active faculty whether employed and or volunteer.

I certainly can’t fault the school for that.

Rethink that lawsuit, Dr. Rekers

Timothy Kincaid

May 7th, 2010

Yesterday Dr. George Rekers threatened to sue the Miami New Times for publishing claims that he had gone on RentBoy.com and hired a gay prostitute for sexual gratification. Unfortunately for Dr. Rekers, the paper wasn’t simply relying on hearsay from Lucien; they were in the room when Rekers was talking on speakerphone to him.

Lucien was offended, too, by what he had learned from friends and press reports of Rekers’ three decades of anti-gay activism, a record the Baptist minister tried to downplay.

“I just stay in the background,” said Rekers, a co-founder with James Dobson of the Family Research Council, a vehemently anti-gay lobbying group. Of gay people, he said: “I’ve never picked a fight with them.”

“What was going through your mind when you went on that website?” demanded Lucien, referring to rentboy.com, the gay escort site where he had posted his profile.

Rekers paused for several seconds, considering. “Well, I’d be happy to sit down and talk to you more about that.” He paused again. “We have to deal with the situation that we have, and make sure it doesn’t get worse.”

It can’t be easy being Lucien at the moment. My thoughts and best wishes are with him at this very stressful time.

As for Dr. Rekers, well at this point it probably won’t get worse. But it will never go back to what it was. The long long journey of denial and double life and hidden motivations and secret yearnings is over.

There’s no more room to deny or to claim innocence.

He had a long run. For decades he was the accomplished professor with impressive credentials who was an “expert” on sexuality. For over a quarter of a century Dr. Rekers could make claims about gay people that, while untrue, were considered to be scholarly.

That’s over now.

FAQ: Hiring Someone To Lift Your Luggage

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2010

Q. Wait! You mean I can hire someone to lift my luggage?

A. Yes, apparently you can. Before this week when longtime anti-gay activist Dr. George Rekers was discovered having done that very thing, I didn’t know it was possible. But now I’ve learned that not only can you hire someone to lift your luggage, there’s an entire industry dedicated to it. Isn’t it amazing how well the free markets respond to meet every need?

Q. Why should I hire someone to lift my luggage when I can get someone to do it for free anytime I want?

A. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who are you trying to kid? I don’t know about you but in my lifetime I’ve had to lift my own luggage much more often than I care to remember. So let’s be honest about this and act like grownups.

Sometimes when you’re single and you don’t have anyone available to lift your luggage, turning to a professional can be a very exciting option. This can be particularly true as you get older and the junk that’s in your trunk isn’t so hot. That’s when you’ll discover you can’t just pick up anyone to pick up your bags like you used to. Turning to a professional can be a very satisfying alternative. But even younger folks can discover that hiring someone can be a convenient alternative to the hassle of finding a volunteer, particularly when you’re traveling and there you are in a strange city all alone holding the bag.

But hiring someone to lift your luggage isn’t just for single people. It’s a sad fact that many married men also hire other men to lift their luggage. Reasons vary, but they often have to do with the fact that these married men haven’t resolved the conflict within themselves between who bests lifts their luggage and society’s expectations of who ought to lift their luggage. Men who haven’t adequately dealt with this conflict often find that hiring another man to lift their luggage is their only viable option. But it also appears that this option isn’t necessarily a bad one. Florida anti-gay adoption expert witnesses have found that the experience can even be quite therapeutic, particularly after surgery.

Q. Would my health insurance cover hiring someone to lift my luggage?

A. I don’t know, but this possibly former professor of neuropsychiatry at the University of South Carolina’s medical school may be able to answer that question.

Q. Where can I find a professional to lift my luggage?

A. Some people search personal ads from the back of alternative newspapers while others turn to Craigslist. But NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee members have learned that Rentboy.com is a particularly useful web site which specializes in providing a forum where professionals who will lift your luggage for a fee can advertise their services.

Q. What should I look for in selecting someone to lift my luggage?

That’s a deeply personal question, and there’s no stock answer that applies for everyone. For example, Family Research Council founders prefer smooth and skinny 20-year-olds to lift their luggage. I find that option appealing myself, but I sometimes tend to pack heavy. So my choice, if I were to go that route, might be a bit different (NSFW). Everyone’s luggage handling needs are unique, which is why it’s very important to evaluate the candidate’s profile to see if his services are a good fit for you. You might even want to interview a few before making your selection. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine who can lift your luggage the best.

Q. How much will it cost to hire someone to lift my luggage?

Rates vary by city. In Miami, for example, it looks like it runs about $200-300 per hour. Since most people can get their luggage lifted in under an hour, that’s probably the most common arrangement. But If you think you might need more than an hour to fully lift your luggage, most will charge a bit of a discount for the second and subsequent hours. If you need your luggage lifted overnight, that can run $1000 to $1500, depending on the lifter’s reputation and what the market will bear.

But if you think you need to bring someone to lift your luggage during an extended 10-day European vacation, then you’ll have to negotiate with your preferred professional as costs can vary widely. If it’s someone in high demand, he may charge a daily rate of a thousand dollars or more (plus airfare, meals, transportation and lodging), but he’ll be there day and night to schlep your satchel any time you want. A few of the younger ones just starting out might lift your luggage for free or for next to nothing in exchange for the free travel. And if that’s the case there are opportunities to economize a bit further. Bogus American College of Pediatricians members have learned that luggage lifters will always accept your offer to share your hotel room (as well as the Gospel) with them.

Q. What other services can I expect from a luggage lifter?

A. According to some of the profiles on rentboy.com, some of the other services include massage, nude modeling, stripping, dancing, and watersports. So don’t forget to pack your scuba gear and swimming trunks. One NARTH officer in particular prefers luggage lifters who excel in the long stroke.

Q. What about sex?

A. “Any money exchanged is exclusively for time and companionship. If anything else should occur, that is a matter of personal mutual choice between two or more consenting adults of legal age, and is not contracted for, nor is it requested to be contracted for, or compensated for in any manner whatsoever.”

So yes, of course. Sex too.

And one final note: there are many options when it comes to lifting your luggage, but it’s a regrettable reality in today’s society that hiring a professional carries a huge stigma, both for the professional luggage lifter and his client. This, I think, is grossly unfair. The few luggage lifters I have spoken to (and in full disclosure, I haven’t hired one myself) are invariably kind, engaging, attractive, friendly, and exceptionally smart. In fact, many have paid for college by lifting strangers’ luggage. I find it hard to imagine a more difficult job, and they tell me that it’s not as glamorous as it might sound, even if they do get to travel.

But the better ones take great pride in their work. They are very attentive to their clients’ needs, and those needs often go beyond merely lifting a sack here and there. Sometimes time and companionship really are the most important services they offer. So while we may snicker at what they do, they’re still people with heart and soul, and they deserve a great deal of respect just like anyone else.

So if you do hire someone, please remember that you’re not just hiring a pair of sure hands, strong arms, sturdy thighs, powerful chest and a set of well-developed shoulders. You’re hiring a real live person. Talk to him. Get to know him a little. If you do, you’ll find your experience to be much more satisfying than if you just ordered him to lift your bags and was done with it.

And if you’re as satisfied with the results as I suspect you will be, don’t forget to leave him a tip. And be sure to pass along your recommendations to me because after having done all that research on Rentboy.com for this piece, my bags are starting to feel really heavy.

Dr. Rekers becomes desperate

Timothy Kincaid

May 6th, 2010

When one is caught in scandal, there are a few responses that may possibly be effective in clearing your name or, at least, providing hope for a future recovery.

One can provide a clear, consistent, and immediate response that clarifies the situation and leaves no outstanding questions. One laugh off the accusations as being beyond ridiculous. Or one can plead the sinner, go through steps of redemption, and hope for a limited recovery.

If none of those are possible, you just shut up and become inaccessible until the whole thing blows over.

However, Dr. George Rekers is taking exactly the wrong approach. He is becoming defensive, providing inconsistent and implausible explanations, and never really addressing the questions that everyone is wondering.

And like a dog worrying a bone, Rekers just can’t stop. And the more he says, the worse it looks.

Now Dr. Rekers is threatening to sue the Miami New Times for printing a story in which his rentboy/travel assistant claims that Rekers is homosexual and received daily nude massages from him during the trip. This tactic seldom works. If you are as rich as Tom Cruise and can truly ruin someone’s life, you can sue. If you are pure as the driven snow and have no secrets that you want revealed in court, you can sue.

But Rekers is going to do nothing but provide free publicity to the Miami New Times by suing them for informing their readers what their source is claiming.

And to make matters worse, Rekers is trying to diffuse reflection on his own sexual desires by listing four questions upon which he and Lucian reached agreement: (Washington Post)

1. Did Dr. Rekers in fact hire you to lift my luggage when necessary as a travel assistant during the trip, because I cannot do so myself since I had surgery?
Together we agreed that I in fact hired him to lift luggage when necessary as a travel assistant during the trip, because I cannot do so himself since having surgery. We agreed that this is what my travel assistant agreed to do for pay prior to taking the trip.

2. Did you in fact lift my luggage during the trip each time it was necessary, or did Dr Rekers lift his own luggage during the trip?
We agreed that my travel assistant did in fact lift my luggage each time it was necessary, that I did not lift my luggage, and my travel assistant did all the lifting.

3. Did Dr. Rekers hire you as a prostitute for the trip?
We agreed that I hired him as a companion and to help with luggage, and that I did not hire him as a prostitute for any sexual purpose.

4. Did Dr. Rekers spend time explaining how the Christian faith is based in love to you during the trip?
We agreed that I explained the Christian faith to my travel assistant in conversations on several days during the trip.

But those questions and answers will satisfy no one. Because nobody – no one at all – cares whether Rekers preached to Lucian. And everyone assumes that Lucian probably did assist Rekers in lifting luggage and was a charming companion.

Because ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether Lucian was hired to “lift luggage” or hired as a prostitute, if he was providing daily nude massages. Rekers could provide a notarized copy of a Travel Assistant Application and a contract for the number of pieces of luggage lifted, in triplicate, and it still would not explain just how an elderly anti-gay activist came to be naked in a European hotel with a very young rentboy.

The real questions that need to be answered are:

1. Did Dr. Rekers and Lucian meet through RentBoy.com? If not, then how? It is not likely that an older white retired anti-gay psychology professor and a 20 year-old Puerto Rican gay prostitute run in the same social circles.

2. What were the qualities that made Lucian an ideal “companion” for a ten day trip? Considering the considerable difference in age, background, education, and interests, what did Lucian have other than his physical attributes which made Rekers desire his companionship?

3. Are the details about daily nude massages true? Had Dr. Rekers paid for massage services before from Lucian? Had he purchased any other services from him in the past? Had he rented anyone else from RentBoy.com or other such sites?

4. How, exactly, does Dr. Rekers reconcile his claim that he is not homosexual with his behavior on this trip?

Until Dr. Rekers can answer these questions in a way that alleviates all suspicion – which, at this point, seems unlikely – then he does himself no favors by his continued protestations about luggage.

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