In my adventures around YouTube, I discovered a very interesting, several-month-old series by Anderson Cooper about the “Sissy Boy Experiment.”
Back in the seventies, Kirk Murphy was a five-year-old boy who was thought to be too “feminine” and likely to become gay. His parents took him to government-funded experimental therapy featuring George Rekers, who later turned out to be non-straight himself. In the therapy, he was ignored by his mother unless he played with masculine toys and showed masculine behavior. At home, he was given red poker chips when he did “feminine” things, and his father beat him with a belt when he collected several red chips. (Sometimes his brother stole Kirk’s chips and took the beating.) Eventually, Kirk learned to repress his natural behavior and stop being himself; the therapy was judged a success.
Kirk Murphy took his own life when he was thirty-eight years old.
Rekers’s research continues to be cited by homophobes and those who claim to be able to cure homosexuality around the world.