Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to blame for anti-'sissy' therapy?
The Murphy family in the 1970s: Kirk (from left), Maris, Kaytee, and Mark. Kirk Murphy killed himself in adulthood.
June 9th, 2011
08:31 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Parents to blame for anti-'sissy' therapy?

Comment of the Day:

"A tragedy. Parents having a child that didn't meet their and society's expectations. Parents who used an experimental treatment. A father who brutalized his son and a mother who let it happen. Reker? I can't say what I think. Won't get past the censors. But there is a special ring in Dante's inferno waiting for him."–abbydelabbey

Therapy to change 'feminine' boy created a troubled man, family says

Kirk Murphy committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 38, more than three decades after treatment to make him more "masculine." George Rekers, the doctoral student who treated him, went on to found a faith-based organization that lobbies against gay-rights issues. As recently as 2009, a book Rekers co-authored cited Murphy's case as a success. Murphy's family has a different story.

While most commenters were appalled at his treatment, many they said the parents were to blame. thies said, "The mom blames the doctor?! lol."

QueenMean said, "The parents do not get a pass on this. Beating their kid til he screams because they want him to be more boylike? Forcing his brother to become complicit in this? I don't care if God almighty comes down from the heavens, the parent is the final judge on what occurs in their home. They don't get to point to someone else and say 'he started it.' "

lajodi said, "This story is unbearable. My heart breaks for that boy and the man he grew into. I don't understand how any mother could allow her son to be hurt that way. The parents are just as responsible for what happened as the therapist."

Other readers said that it was unfair to judge earlier times by the standards today. JRKnowsBest said, "I am always shocked when I realize how much our society has changed in my lifetime. I lived through the kind of discipline that is being discussed here, and had forgotten how brutal it was. The story brought back memories that I hadn't thought about in years. Memories of my Dad chasing me around the garage with his belt. I think the humiliation of it was more disturbing than the pain that I felt. But the 70's were like that. That was normal parenting back then. Just 30+ years later, we're amazed, even those of us who lived through it."

SadieBoyd said, "The parents thought they were doing 'the right thing': after all, the doctors were the experts." unknown11 said, "While I in no way condone anyone's action in this case, I think I will assume that the parents actually had his best interrests at heart. Remember that in the '70s you would have been very worried about a gay child. You would be worried about his future and well being. I am not calling that a good reaction, but we all only operate on the information and societal norms that we have at the time."

kermit12 said, "Love your children as they are, or be prepared to bury them sooner or later. Goodness knows how many other 'experiments' have gone on. I know the Mormon church does 'anti-gay therapy' with electro-shock treatment included. A close friend of mine survived this; he is now a lost soul - an alcoholic/drug addict, incapable of having relationships."

Bruce5 said, "I too was beaten and tortured by my father because he correctly perceived that my love of art and music (which he considered effeminate) meant that I might become gay, and he was determined to beat it out of me. He did not succeed. This program brings anew the rage and fury over the premature death of that 'sissy boy' which was me."

Squatter Nation: 5 years with no mortgage payment

CNN.com readers were mostly critical of the article's homeowners, who are not paying their mortgages while they try to negotiate loan modifications or fight evictions in court. TikiGawd, referring to one of the interviewees, said, "Sorry, 'Lynn,' but thinking of your home as a piggy bank is what got you in that situation." Ryan Furlong, said, "You sign up for an ARM, that's your own damn fault."

JJMurray said, "These are the kinds of people destroying this country. Absolutely no personal responsibility and no self respect. Everything is someone else's fault." TheNewWyatt said, "I like that Lynn's biggest problem is, not paying the mortgage, but if she should get another dog or not. Now there is a person who is plannig ahead."

Perhaps the old ways of thinking about things is wrong, suggested JimMNH: "Am I wrong for teaching my kids to do the right thing? My traditional perspective is that someone who signs a contract and weasels out of it is wrong. This is how I grew up and what I still believe. On the other hand, my enlightened perspective is that it is the banks and financial institutions and our own government that are the root of this issue. The banks and financial institutions were taking advantage of people before the roof caved in on their schemes. They fight the needed regulations and oversight to keep people and themselves honest and on a level playing field."

Raycote said, "The problem here is that corporate institutions have so completely captured the machinery of American democracy that the citizens have no ability to constrain or dictate any limits to their behavior. The corporate tail in now fully in control of the democratic dog it is was intended to serve."

Gingrich top aides abandon campaign

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign manager, press secretary, top strategists in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and six Iowa staff members resigned Thursday. According to Craig Schoenfeld, former Iowa executive director for Newt 2012, "there was a difference of opinion in how we saw a path to success and victory."

Josh said, This is a serious blow for Newt and the several other people who think he should be president."

Ace said, "His campaign staffers found out he'd been seeing another campaign staff . . ." jo an asked, "Did he tweet their wives????"

Wobbles said, "When everyone but your dog leaves your campaign you might want to reconsider how badly you really want to lose a primary." JadeRose said, "That'll do, Newt. That'll do."

HEY! said, "Well, things are going so smoothly already. If he can't even manage his own team, why should he be president? Rule 1: Compromise."

nick2 said, "Oh, too bad. This season's presidential contenders are literally falling apart at the seams." FRANK – LAS VEGAS said, "Newt will have one of the shortest presidential campaigns in history. Larry L said, "Rats leaving a sunk ship." Dave said, "Bye, Newt! Please retire and call it a good, corrupt run."

EYE OF NEWT said, "Many people were hoping Newt's campaign would collapse in complete humiliation just like this, because it's so much more entertaining than a slow fade to obscurity. Unfortunately, if his campaign collapses now, we will be denied the outrageous damage he'll do to himself, his family, and his party of the next year or so. I for one, hopes his ugly hypocrisy allows him to hang on for a while."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: iReport • Overheard on CNN.com
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Most of the good comments I've made on this important subject have been rejected.
    TRUTH OFTEN HURTS, CNN. If you don't want to publish truth, get out of the reporting business.

    June 10, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. skyler

    so if i dont go along with this gay crap im goin to hell with hitler??? wow amazing how dumbed down america is now a days! simply amazing!

    June 10, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeffrey

      No I would not say that. But if you don't have any friends or family or people that you know that are gay and they are just trying to get on with living life like anybody else and doing what for most of these folks is what feels right to them. Let Live I say. Everyone really needs to be accepeted and appreciated on some level. And this is someone else's life. Let them try to make the best of it, just like you. Let Live man...It's a better world for it guaranteed!!!

      June 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Quinton

    This is why people acted the way they did back then...


    June 10, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. Raymond

    I’m gay. And I have an intensely negative reaction to modern day witch hunters and to those who blindly have to burn people at the stake right away. In fact, it is these witch burners whom I truly dislike. Maybe witch burners have always been in societies. But they sure ain’t pretty. And that goes for news media who start to have one-sided talk shows.
    As for liberal women (and men) with their “unconditional love”, for me, such words are horribly empty and make me sick to my stomach.
    The most important point is that various sides of evaluating this event be judged by the same questions applied to different sides in all different kinds of situations. And this takes time. And justice. And especially freedom to ask all questions that could be asked in reverse situation, and freedom to factually determine answers, without destroying one’s career. I am equally upset with politically correct people who demand instant answers with major social and career punishment.
    As an aside, there are a number of gay and straight people into s&m. Like I said, there are many questions that could be asked in this and in reverse situations. Only then can an ethical judgement be made.

    June 11, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Shane

    Rekers seemed genuinely upset when learning about the suicide. From his distorted perspective, we need to appreciate that he believes that he is doing good. He doesn’t wake up in the morning with a desire to make gays miserable. Yes, his entire life work probably reflects his self-loathing for his latent gay sensibilities. But he has nevertheless employed robust psychological principles in his behavioural therapy.
    To suggest that the “reparative” therapy had a CAUSAL effect on the suicide of the individual – and this IS the underlying implication in the report – is quite unfounded, and to be honest, borderline libellous.
    The guy committed suicide while living in Delhi. What about factors such as social isolation, cultural conflict, lack of support network, breakdown of family relationships, etc? If I were his parent/sibling, I would certainly want to absolve myself of any guilt by completely directing blame at a so-called charlatan.
    As a piece of journalism, it is disappointing that the report wasn’t more balanced. But given the TV anchor involved, perhaps this was inevitable.

    June 11, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    Yes, mom and dad have to share some blame. But frankly, when you need to learn something about a subject – let's say, child-rearing – you look to the experts. The "expert", Reker, gets the lion's share of the blame.

    June 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
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