Witty Wednesday-“The Sissy Boy Experiment”

Last night, “Anderson Cooper 360” covered the story of “The Sissy Boy Experiment”, which was a study done at UCLA in the 1970s to change the behavior of children who behaved like the opposite sex, i.e. boys playing with dolls and girls behaving as “tomboys”.  The subject of this story, Kirk Murphy, ended up committing suicide in 2003 at the age of 38.  His family blames it on the after-effects of the treatment he received during his time as a study of doctoral student George Rekers. 

Now, before I state my opinion, let me put some disclaimers out.

  • I am not, nor have I ever been or claimed to be, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. 
  • I do not have firsthand knowledge of feeling like I was born in the wrong body (meaning I don’t feel that way).

First, what happened to letting children be children?  Now, I don’t have children, but if my son wanted to play with Barbie growing up, I can’t say that I would allow it.  I definitely don’t think that I would allow him to dress in my clothes.  But, I definitely WOULD NOT send my child to a doctor to “enhance” his masculine behavior.  My belief is that no matter what one does, if a child is born to behave a certain way, that child will behave that way.  It doesn’t matter if the child reverts back to it as a teenager or as a 40 year old, but eventually the child’s true feelings will come out.  Case in point, Kirk Murphy ended up being a gay man.  Sadly, according to his family, he was never truly happy again after his treatment. 

Another point that Murphy’s brother, Mark, brought up in the interview is that Kirk learned what to say to the doctors to convince them he was “cured” and that nothing was wrong with him.  He wasn’t allowed to be who he was because he knew in doing so he could re-live the shame, hurt, and punishments he endured when he was younger.  I would not be surprised to learn that most of the students in this “study” did just that.  And isn’t that human nature-to tell people what they want to hear, especially if the opposite will have negative reprecussions for us??? 

The moral of my post today?  Let people (children) be who they want to be.  As long as they are not hurting anyone, we should embrace them for who they are.   Of course when children are born, their parents have these hopes, dreams, and desires for them, but children are not born to fulfill their parents’ dreams-they need to fulfill their own.  Yes, their life may be hard if they decide to live as a homosexual or as a transgendered person, but as their family, it is our responsiblity to let them know they have our love and support.  Making them feel ashamed of who they are could have dire consequences. 

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city. 

P.S. And let me not forget to mention that last year Dr. Rekers travelled overseas with a male escort.  Dr. Rekers stated he did not realize that his attendant was someone who took money in exchange for sex (yeah, right.).  Dr. Rekers stated he hired this man to carry his bags.  Funny, since the good doctor was pictured pushing the luggage cart with his luggage on it in the airport in Miami when he returned home from said trip…

My Thoughts on “The Plastics”

Former Morehouse Student Diamond Martin Poulin (Photo credit: Vibe.com)

I’m sure you all have read the article “The Mean Girls of Morehouse“.  If not, let me give you a little background, if you don’t want to read it for yourselves.   The author, Aliya S. King, interviewed current and former Morehouse students who felt ostracized because they dressed as women (on campus).  And if you’re even more unfamiliar with the story, Morehouse College, the private HBCU institution for men, inacted a dress code last year that prohibited their students from dressing in women’s clothing.   I’m going to share my thoughts with you on this article.  And I must admit some of my thoughts are shared with one of my linesisters, who shall remain nameless, but whom I will work for when she becomes a university president! 😉

1.  For those of us in the African-American community, we all know what the phrase “Morehouse Man” means.  I have been known to say that I would like to marry a Morehouse Man a time or two in my life.  My question is, how can you want to be a Morehouse Man but dress as a woman?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?  I understand some of the points made in the article that these gentlemen wanted to attend based on the prestige and history of the university.  But if you have hopes to one day become a woman and take female hormones, why attend this college?  There are plenty of other HBCUs that you could have attended, and even other schools in the AUC.

2.  Until I read it on Very Smart Brothas, I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that the author pointed out that each man was eating (and even went on to describe how said man was eating) when she began discussing each new interviewee.  Was that really relevant to the story?  I don’t think so.   So if you know Ms. King, or are Ms. King herself, maybe you know why this information was pertinent to the article…because I’m lost.

3.  As my linesister eloquently put on Twitter (I LIVE for her commentary), while not allowing these men to dress as they wish doesn’t sweep homosexuality (in the black community) under the rug, Morehouse does have the right to enact a dress code and certain other rules that may not be able to fly at other institutions of higher learning.  Why?  Because they’re private and do not accept any state funds.

4.  It’s amazing that 5 or 6 students from a student body of 3,000 can elicit such an uproar from the national media.  Apparently, “The Plastics”, a nickname given to the group by a heterosexual Morehouse student, have garnered some unwanted attention to the college.   Morehouse President Robert Franklin even issued a statement to alumni regarding the article days BEFORE the article was published…and admittedly didn’t read it.

5.  Why didn’t the author talk to the other 2,900 + students at Morehouse and ask how these men dressing as women distracted them during class?  This article was very one-sided.  I believe great journalism begins with hearing from both sides.  Maybe Ms. King intentionally left them out because she wanted to create this picture of “The Plastics” as the victims.  While I do not agree with the ridiculing of anyone based on their sexual preference, dress, etc. I would have liked to hear what other students thought of the dress code.  And it was pointed out that the other factions of the dress code (no hats, do-rags, saggy pants, etc.) were not enforced.  I do believe all rules should be enforced equally.

Should Morehouse have instituted this dress code in the first place?  Why is Vibe just now discussing this topic; are they opening an old wound or is this issue on-going?  What do you think of the article?  Are there topics/people that Ms. King should have addressed?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.