NYT Buries Researcher’s Ex-gay Legacy

Twenty days after his death, and long after KtB did so, the Times finally got around to publishing a piece on autism pioneer Ivar Lovaas. The article is fairly long and covers Lovaas’ career in some detail, even gracefully qualifying Lovaas’ use of electroshock, slapping, and other harsh reinforcements.

Especially given the span of the article (covering decades), it’s striking that the Times fails even to mention Ivar Lovaas’ critical involvement in the Feminine Boy Project, the so-called “spank-away-the-gay” study that is still cited by ministries and therapists who strive to work clients through their unwanted (or unwanted by their parents) same sex attraction or cross-gender identity.

Elsewhere on the behaviorist research scene, a cat learns to fire a cannon.

Though Lovaas reportedly downplayed his role in the infamous project, claiming that he was “simply on a committee” and that “gender deviation was of absolutely no interest to him,” Gender Shock author Phyllis Burke makes a case that Lovaas, as Priniciple Investigator, was the “kingpin” of the oft-cited study. An “extraordinary amount” of NIMH money supported the study, a fact which legitimized efforts to alter gender identity and, in turn, sexual orientation. But should we believe Lovaas was a key player in this study simply because a trans activist tells us so?

Well, George “Rentboy-renter” Rekers is no gay activist (Actually, maybe he is. But not in that sense), and he arguably goes even further than Burke. Just last year, Rekers described Lovaas as not only critical for the funding and oversight of the study, but also for its planning. In fact, the way Rekers tells it, Ivar Lovaas came up with the idea in the first place.

Listen here to Rekers’ dramatic description his mentor’s role in the study (stay-tuned as Rekers contextualizes in the first minute or two):


(Could someone fact check Rekers here? Who really came up with this scheme? Did Lovaas tell him about Rentboy.com, too?)

In 2004, Ivar Lovaas said to Los Angeles Times Magazine, “If I had gotten Hitler here at UCLA at the age of 4 or 5, I could’ve raised him to be a nice person.”

Yeah, and maybe he could’ve raised him as a girl, too. Just to be safe.

KtB editor Quince Mountain lives in the Great Northwoods and is currently at work on a chronicle of belated manhood and unlikely self-help. You can hear about his sexploits as a teenage cowboy for Christ here.