‘Sissy Boy Experiment:’ Reparative therapy still being used to ‘treat’ gay kids

Ryan Kendall

In Thursday’s third and final installment of CNN’s special report, the “Sissy Boy Experiment,” Randi Kaye reports on how the research of Dr. George Rekers is still being used to ‘treat’ some gay kids and teens.

Featured prominently in this report is Ryan Kendall, 28, who endured years of reparative therapy, being shuttled from one therapist to the next, beginning at age 13.

Eventually, Kendall arrived at an organization called the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), where, from the age of 14 through 16, he was taught to “suppress” his “homosexual tendencies” so that he could be normal.


In 2010, Kendall was a fact witness in the federal trial challenging California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Kendall testified on his experiences of being forced to undergo “conversion therapy” as a youth — his testimony in the trial was part of the plaintiff’s effort to show that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, as argued by opponents of gay marriage.

Last year, LGBTQ Nation republished an essay written by Kendall on the eve of the California Supreme Court decision upholding the results of the ballot initiative, in which he writes candidly of his experiences growing up, coming to terms with his homosexuality, and and the damaging effects of reparative therapy.

“I found myself at the young age of 15 having to choose between extensive, willful psychological damage, or being who I was,” Kendall wrote.

Kendall’s essay is here.

In case you missed the earlier installments of the “Sissy Boy Experiment,” you can watch the first report here and the second report here.

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