In a world that has elevated hypocrisy to an art-form, an unprepossessing, virtual unknown emerged this week as the solid frontrunner for the 2010 Superheroes of Hypocrisy Title. By day, George Rekers is a 61-year-old father of three; a Baptist minister; co-founder, with James Dobson, of the Family Research Council – the lobbying arm of US Christianity; a professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina; a sex therapist specializing in teenage gender identity “issues”; an officer of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH); and a prolific author with a bad back. That’s enough to keep two men busy. But, lo and behold, when Daddy gets his ticket punched and slips out of his mild-mannered “Professor George” persona he’s a wild man worth every inch of that Superheroes title.
Professor George’s “closet” is bigger than a walk-in and needs to be, because that’s where he likes to spend his quality time with rent boys younger than his own kids. Not for Professor George, the quick grope in a public restroom or sexting with Congressional aides — no, Professor George is a stylish man of means who knows how to do things right. Professor George took his rent boy on a ten-day tour of Europe, a sublime getaway for man and boy, that might have been a totally fabulous performance except that the good Prof didn’t quite “stick the landing.” George Rekers (gotta love that name) was “caught on camera” coming down the stretch on his triumphal return to Miami International Airport with his rent boy — er, travel assistant — still in tow.
Rekers is an old hand at his chosen lifestyle, though, and immediately flew into damage control mode … which makes for entertaining reading because Rekers is no ordinary closet-case; this Extreme Gay Makeover has constructed his entire life around secretly embracing and publicly denying his gender identity. Every waking minute of Rekers day is spent on some aspect of homosexuality. He has two websites dedicated to counseling teenagers who are troubled by gender identity issues — one is called “Professor George” (gimme a break) and the other is called TeenSexToday.com that promises that readers who submit questions can “count on me to be logical, ethical, and scientific in my answers.” Right. This is Rekers’ favorite subject and favorite age group — color me cynical but this is just a front for a cyber-peeping Tom.
Rekers was recently paid a handsome $87,000 to serve as an “expert” witness in a case to determine whether the state of Florida’s ban on gay adoptions was legal (the judge ultimately ruled against the state). Reker’s testified that gay couples should not be permitted to adopt for the usual fact-free homophobic pseudoscience reasons. For whatever reason, while he had the microphone, Rekers also decided to throw Native Americans under the “no adoptions” bus. At the end of that trial, Judge Cindy Lederman singled out Rekers’ testimony for Dishonorable Mention thus:
“Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science. Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court can not consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy.”
The usual suspects have dealt quite expertly with the more salacious details of Rekers’ “Roman holiday” which leave little room for doubt about the true nature of Rekers’ tryst — in other words, I, happily, do not need to go into detail over what did and did not occur. For me, and other Hypocrisy Epicures, the juiciest tidbits lie in how the cornered hypocrite chooses to extricate him/herself from a world of trouble.
At 61, Professor George has set himself up pretty well, none of his lucrative gigs — ministry, expert witnessing, screed publishing, teen sex therapy etc. require any “heavy lifting.” The only thing that could put a dent in his little homo cottage industry would be exposure as a cynical, hypocritical charlatan making money giving advice to others from a thoroughly self-delusional background. That could mess up everything …
So it is that the good professor has decided to go the absolute denial route — and, as he thinks of even better excuses, he piles them on as he goes. He started, of course, with the lame story that his hunk-y “rent boy” was selected for his baggage handling skills. Professor George isn’t getting any younger and his doctor warned him to do no heavy lifting. Since the Prof was interested in “renting a boy” to lug his bags all over Europe, rentboy.com was the logical place to look, right? Now, I defy anyone reading this article to spend just a few minutes trolling through the rentboy.com site and come back and tell me (with a straight face) that you never would have guessed that those boys were gay male prostitutes. Our “expert witness” claims that he was fooled, indeed he claims it wasn’t until halfway through the trip that he guessed that his travel assistant was a male prostitute.
How unreasonable is it to expect that a man who has dedicated his life to counseling teenagers on gender identity and offering therapy to “cure” unhappy gays, would immediately recognize rentboy.com for exactly what it is?
After the media responded with a collective snort of derision, Reker amended his position on his Facebook page (which is predictably MIA, at the moment) in this way:
“If you talk with my travel assistant you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.”
“My hero is Jesus Christ who loves even the culturally despised people, including sexual sinners and prostitutes. Like Jesus Christ, I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them.”
From having Jesus as his hero, Rekers made the leap to litigant declaring that he would be suing the Miami reporters who wrote the original Rekers story for defamation. Which just goes to show that Rekers is living in his own nasty little world where being gay is grist for the “defamation” mill. The juridical trend, these days, is that calling someone “gay” is not defamatory. Such rulings have been made in many states; although I wouldn’t recommend testing it, yet, in states like Texas, Arizona or Arkansas.
As usual in such cases, former associates “vote with their feet” lest they get some of this doody on them. The CEO of Family Research Council was quick to point out that he never heard of Rekers and that when he did a little digging he found that it had been decades since Reker played an active role in FRC.
NARTH, for its part, weighed in with this:
“While NARTH is focused on the science of homosexual attraction, personal controversies often deepen the existing cultural divide on this issue. Such is the case in the recent news stories concerning one of our members, Dr. George Rekers.”
“NARTH takes seriously the accusations that have been made, and we are currently attempting to understand the details behind these press reports. We are always saddened when this type of controversy impacts the lives of individuals, and we urge all parties to allow a respectful and thorough investigation to take place.”
“NARTH continues to support scientific research, and to value client autonomy, client self-determination and client diversity.”
In closing, I’ll say that I honestly feel bad for George Rekers. Not because he appears to be gay – I’m gay and surrounded and supported by a mixed gay and straight community of gifted and loving friends; and, despite Professor George’s dire warning about gays’ parenting abilities, I raised a son who is brilliant, successful, heterosexual and who has presented me with an equally marvelous granddaughter. My life is rich and full and ultimately very satisfying. The reason that I feel bad for George Reker is because I seriously doubt that the life that he has built to “fix” his gender identity crisis and live a lie is cold comfort to him today.