Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Virtual Reality: A Tale Of Two Cissies

ME AT NINE, PERFORMING TO MADONNA IN SUMMER '91! from Robert Jeffrey on Vimeo.

Two videos went viral last week in the gay blogosphere.
You may be bored of seeing the first by now, but I think it's interesting to compare and contrast it with the second.
Above is Robert Jeffrey's 'Me At Nine, Performing To Madonna In Summer '91'.
Everyone seems to think it's "ADORABLE!"
And it is - there's such a sense of joy about it.
And everyone loves joking about how surprised they were to hear that kid grew up to be a big ole queen.
Tee hee. No kidding!!

Doing the virtual rounds simultaneously was Anderson Cooper's three-part documentary for CNN, The Sissy-Boy Experiment.
Here's the story;
"In 1970, a five-year-old boy named Kirk Murphy was subjected to an ex-gay experiment. Under the care of Dr Ivor Lovaas and George Rekers, then a doctoral student, of UCLA, he underwent therapy to eliminate supposed effeminate behaviors.
"In 1974, Lovaas and Rekers jointly published a paper about the boy they renamed 'Kraig,' heralding his treatment for 'childhood cross-gender problems' a success and claiming he had been transformed from a gender-confused homosexual-in-waiting to a healthy, heterosexual young man. On the back of this study, Rekers built a career as an anti-gay activist and a supposed expert in childhood sexual development. He co-founded the Family Research Council and championed reparative therapy to turn gay men straight. In 2003, Kirk, aged 38 years old and gay, committed suicide."
Everyone seems to agree that that was fucking awful.
Why couldn't they let the kid be?
Robert Jeffrey's story has a happy ending - he's a successful scriptwriter and a proud gay man now.
Knowing that - and because he posted the Vogue video himself - gives people permission to talk about his younger self as a cissy.
Even though without that knowledge the kid is quite obviously a screaming little pansy.
But otherwise - as I think the Ronan Parke story showed recently - pointing out that a boy is a cissy is still seen as something terrible and taboo.
But surely it shouldn't be - unless you think being a cissy boy, and that a boy could grow up to be a gay man, is something terrible and taboo?

• See also the great Born This Way blog; "A photo/essay project for gay adults to submit childhood pictures and stories, reflecting memories & early beginnings of their innate LGBTQ selves..."