In interviews that aired on CNN Tuesday and Wednesday, Kirk Murphy’s family said that experiments designed to make him more masculine led to his suicide.
In the 1970s, at the age of five, Murphy’s parents took him to see then-UCLA doctoral student George A. Rekers out of concern that he might grow up to be gay.
“Well, I was becoming a little concerned, I guess, when he was playing with dolls and stuff,” Murphy’s mother told CNN.
Rekers eventually launched his career based on the anti-gay therapy experiments he conducted on Murphy, writing about him in no less than 20 publications. Rekers would later become an activist for anti-gay causes.
After a lifetime of struggling with his homosexuality, Murphy killed himself in 2003, at the age of 38. His family now blames the “sissy boy” experiments.
When Rekers refused to return CNN’s calls, they went to Florida to track him down. The psychologist and ordained Southern Baptist minister said he had no idea that Murphy had committed suicide.
“That’s too bad,” Rekers told the CNN producer.
“What do you say to the family if they say the therapy you did with him as a child led to his suicide as an adult?” the producer asked.
“Well, I think scientifically that would be inaccurate to assume that it was the therapy. But I do grieve for the parents now that you’ve told me that news. I think that’s very sad.”
Box Turtle Bulletin has more details about the experiments conducted on Kirk Murphy.