George Rekers, the “ex-gay” therapist exposed for his dalliances with a male escort, once led experiments to change behavior in boys perceived to be feminine by denying the children maternal attention and spanking them.
Young gay journalists Penn Bullock and Brandon Thorp, who broke the Rekers story for the Miami New Times this month, return with revelations about the “violent Pavlovian regimen” at the Feminine Boy Project, a clinic Rekers operated at UCLA.
“In 1974, Rekers, a leading thinker in the so-called ex-gay movement, was presented with a 4-year-old ‘effeminate boy’ named Kraig, whose parents had enrolled him in the program. Rekers put Kraig in a ‘play-observation room’ with his mother, who was equipped with a listening device. When the boy played with girly toys, the doctors instructed her to avert her eyes from the child.”
Rekers also encouraged the use of a “reward-punishment system” that involved spankings from the boy’s father to enforce masculine behavior.
Read more about the experience of Kraig, who attempted suicide at age 18, here.