CNN’s AC360 aired part 1 of the “The Sissy Boy Experiment,” a series about the tragic consequences of an experimental “ex-gay” therapy promoted by discredited psychologist George Rekers.
In the first episode, which aired Tuesday, Anderson Cooper interviewed relatives of Kirk Murphy, who took his own life in 2003 at age 38. His concerned mother enrolled Kirk at age 5 in an experimental, government-funded program at the University of California, Los Angeles, run by Rekers, who attempted to “change” the behavior of young boys perceived to be effeminate.
His siblings describe a horrifying daily routine overseen by Rekers to punish Kirk, known as “Kraig” in therapy documents, when he behaved in a way perceived to be effeminate and to reward him when he behaved in ways perceived to be masculine.
In the years since, Rekers continued to promote his therapy, even testifying against adoption by gay people in Florida at the behest of the state’s attorney general, who paid him. Last year the married Baptist minister was caught in the company of a male escort by two reporters for the Miami New Times at an airport.
The second part of the three-part CNN series airs Wednesday night.