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Thursday, May 10, 2012

CNN's Sissy Boy Experiment Scheduled To Air on Friday, May 11th 2012

Today was one of those days where without our even knowing it, Kirk's story lives on and continues to make a difference.  

This week, we found out that California could become the first state in the nation to ban therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youths straight, after legislators in a key policy committee approved the proposed law Tuesday and sent it to the Senate floor.

When we started this journey, this was our biggest hope - that if we bared our very real and raw wounds about Kirk's life that people's eyes and hearts would be opened and realize that you are who you are and no one should be allowed to force you to change. Our dream was that lawmakers would realize the urgent need to ban this therapy that damages the entire being of these vulnerable children and teenagers.  The rejection they face by their parents, family and friends absolutely and completely destroys them, and so many of them end up taking their own lives.  It is a tragedy beyond comprehension. 

And yet… here we are, less than a year later… and it is hopefully on the horizon, at least in one state.  Progress! Hopefully this big move forward outweighs the voices like North Carolina pastor Sean Harris who on May 1st told his congregation to punch their son if he is feminine or might be gay.  

From The Huffington Post: 

"So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, 'Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,' you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting too butch, you reign [sic] her in. And you say, 'Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.'"
UPDATE: The Fayetteville Observer reports that Harris now says he was joking during the sermon. Though he noted he "would never ever advocate" hitting a child, Harris nonetheless defended his belief in the need to reinforce traditional gender roles in children:

Today, a KFAN listener sent me a tweet letting me know that CNN anchor Randi Kaye was on the Dan Barreiro radio show talking about reparative therapy and Kirk's story.  Dan had such kind words.  He said Kirk's story and our conversation on his show was about the best radio they've ever had.  That's how powerful Kirk's story is.  You can listen to that interview here

Randi made the connection to the origins of reparative therapy in the 1970's with Dr. George Rekers at UCLA and Kirk, and how important it is to children like Kirk that this law be passed.  Talk about prayers being answered. 

Randi let me know this evening that CNN is airing Kirk's story again tomorrow night (breaking news can always interrupt regular programming).  I believe it will be on AC360 at 7:00 p.m. CT. We are willing to show our scars to the world in hopes that it will help save one life, like that of Rochester, MN teen Jay Corey Jones who committed suicide earlier this week because of being tormented at school for being who he was… gay.

I do not know if it's an abbreviated version, all four parts of the series or if new or additional information will be added, but we'll be watching - as painful as it is. 

To the LGBT youth in our community, our state and anywhere in the world: 

To anyone out there who is struggling to accept who they are, or if anyone is telling them they are less than whole because of who they are, please know you are wonderfully and fearfully made… exactly as you are!  

You are why we share this story, so you can learn from Kirk's experience that those who tell you that you are flawed are not the authority on your value and worth as a person, as a child of God.

If you do not have at least one person in your life who tells you this on a regular basis, you need to find one that you can trust, because you need to hear this from someone EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Ending your life is NOT the answer, as tempting as the relief from the rejection and torment may be. Suicide is a permanent "solution" to a temporary problem, and it can and will get better.  Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but it WILL.  

Note:  Box Turtle Bulletin did a comprehensive investigation called What Little Boys are Made Of that launched the same day as the AC360 series did last year, and it provides so much of the detail and context that TV segments just cannot provide.   

Anderson Cooper and AC360 won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism - News Magazine in March of this year for the Sissy Boy Experiment series.  Box Turtle Bulletin is up for a GLAAD Media Award for their investigation in June of 2012.  

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