"Talking about suicide has not caused more suicides. Not talking about it has. Every 15 minutes, someone in America commits suicide," said Maris Murphy in a gripping presentation in the Betty R. Tipton Room on Sept. 14. Her brother, Kirk Andrew, killed himself years after being subjected to "The Sissy Boy Experiment," a government-funded project that took place at UCLA during the 1970s to purge boys with effeminate behavior of what researchers called the "Sissy Boy Syndrome." Murphy says what the government put her brother through impacted him for the rest of his life. Her presentation was sponsored by the Intercultural Center.
Murphy, who has been featured in Anderson Cooper's CNN documentary series, was sitting at work when she got the news. "It was a horrific day when I was called and told, "Your brother has been found dead. He left a note saying, 'The darkness keeps calling. I must go'."
She showed films of the researchers explaining how they believed they helped Kirk. Their reports concluded his "behavior was gone," even offering proof the experiment was a success. But at 38, Kirk hung himself from a ceiling fan. Murphy says now she wonders how he made it that long. The family believes what the government called a success, in fact, destroyed Kirk Andrew.