This week, it was reported that George Alan Rekers, a professor at the
University of South Carolina medical school and a co-founder of the
Christian-right Family Research Council, hired a man from the gay
escort service Rentboy to accompany him on a 10-day trip to Europe. The story broke in the form of a lengthy, smirking report in the Miami New Times, which arbitrarily gave the escort the name "Lucien." A statement has since appeared
on Rekers's personal Web site, saying that Rekers "requires an
assistant to lift his luggage in his travels because of an ongoing
condition following surgery." Perhaps unsurprisingly, this explanation
hasn't stopped Web commenters from having fun with the story.
- Could the 'Luggage' Line Possibly Be True? The Miami NewTimes story suggests that there's almost no chance Rekers didn't know he was hiring an escort. "Neither Google nor any other search engine picks up individual Rentboy.com profiles, any more than they pick up individual profiles on eHarmony or Match.com. You cannot just happen upon one," authors Penn Bullock and Brandon Thorp write. They also wonder whether Rekers somehow missed the site's "front page covered with images of naked, tumescent men busily sodomizing each other."
- I Was Trying to Convert Him! Rekers himself offers this defense in a Facebook message to blogger Joe Jervis: "If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called 'Lucien,' 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." Jervis hoots in response: "Oh, well that explains EVERYTHING! Dr. George Rekers is curing homosexuals ONE BY ONE by hiring them on MALE PROSTITUTION websites! Glory! Praise His Name!"
- Some Complicated Psychology at Work? AlterNet's Adele Stan notes that "Among the most destructive forces in the religious right is the so-called 'ex-gay' industry, wherein LGBT people, usually Christians, attend rehab-style retreats to try to purge their sexual orientation, and become heterosexual. There is no credible scientific data to suggest that this actually works, but it can further the sense of self-loathing many people have when they enter such programs ... Rekers is one of the foremost promoters of these 'ex-gay' ministries. He would appear to be living proof of their efficacy."