Monday, May 17, 2010

Not always a joke

Much light has been made, here and elsewhere, about the journey of George Allen Rekers, who spent a lifetime driven by self-shame to vehemently deny reality.  Religious truth told him that homosexuality was not only wrong, but an illusion from which the victim, with proper guidance, could awake.  Rekers became the scientific face of the conversion therapy movement, which has left a trail of misery.  The Miami New Times, which broke the Rekers escort story, recounts the story of a 4-year old boy with effeminate tendencies who was brought to Rekers' clinic for treatment.  Rekers set the child with his mother in a play room and instructed the mother to ignore him if he played with girlish toys:
According to a 2001 account in Brain, Child Magazine, "On one such occasion, his distress was such that he began to scream, but his mother just looked away. His anxiety increased, and he did whatever he could to get her to respond to him... Kraig became so hysterical, and his mother so uncomfortable, that one of the clinicians had to enter and take Kraig, screaming, from the room."
The treatment continued, expanding to include spankings for feminine behaviors, and after a few years the boy did become more masculine.  Yet at age 18 he attempted suicide.  These events happened in the mid-1970's, but Rekers continued to use this story (minus the devastating effects) for the intervening decades as an example of a success story.  But the real example here is of refusing to accept plain reality due to a dogmatic view that proclaims (often wrong) answers by fiat.

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