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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

“If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off!”

posted by on March 12 at 10:15 AM

That’s the motto of Eunicure, a loosely affiliated group of “board-certified urological surgeons” that offers hope—in the form of castration—to homosexuals that have failed to control their desires through prayer, meditation, or other non-scalpel-based interventions. From the Eunicure website…

Q. Isn’t the Eunicure extreme?

The Eunicure is not for everyone and should be no one’s first choice. Only if all other forms of treatment have failed to eliminate your homosexuality should you consider what Eunicure offers. However since the rate of AIDS and suicide is so much higher among homosexual men than among those without such an orientation, the Eunicure method can and does save lives.

Q. Is the procedure painful?

The procedure is conducted under a local anesthetic and post-operative pain management is taken very seriously. That said, there will be some discomfort after the procedure that should pass in a week or so.

Q What can I expect after the procedure is complete?

The main effect will be a complete lack of sexual desire of any kind. While loss of testosterone may entail side-effects such as the potential for loss of body hair, positive side-effects may also include the retention of head hair that might have been lost due to the effects of testosterone. It is a common misconception that a man’s voice will rise, but that is false. There are some reports of hot flashes and loss of bone density.

Q is the procedure reversible?

No. The Eunicure procedure is something that requires serious thought and we suggest counseling because there is no going back. While testosterone injections can reverse some of the effects, they cannot completely replace what you will be losing.

This can’t be real, right? Eunicure’s website seems like a cross between and Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies. And wouldn’t any surgeon that castrated an otherwise healthy man—even if the castrated dude was a self- and ball-hating homo—be running the risk of losing his license? And this question from the Eunicure fact sheet makes me think the website is a spoof…

Q. My ex-wife, mother, lover etc. wants to watch the procedure as it takes place, Is that allowed?

That depends on of the local surgeon performing the operation and the local hospital. Some allow visitors during such procedures and some prefer to maintain a sterile environment.

Mom gets to watch? Uh… right.

But Eunicure is based in Kansas, a gay-hating state… but it’s based in Topeka, Kansas, home to Fred Phelps, which tips the scales toward hoax and parody. Unless Fred Phelps & Co. has decided to branch out of the funeral picketing business and start combatting homosexual behavior at its source. Then again, Eunicure’s website states that homosexuality is an “inborn condition” and not a sinful choice, like most Christian fundies insist. So… parody, right? And then there’s this: “If you are a board-certified urological surgeon who wishes to donate their services to the Eunicure cause…” So maybe Eunicure is just an elaborate prank to gather names and ultimately expose fundy urologists that would be willing to castrate gay men?

I’ve sent an email to the group’s media contact—whose name is Andrew Johnson, and whose email is (get it? a johnson?)—asking for a comment. In the meantime… does anyone know if there’s a Dr. Timothy Feathertree—Eunicure’s “medical director”—licensed to practice medicine in Topeka, Kansas, or anywhere else?

UPDATE: So about Eunicure, that organization I wrote about yesterday

Allegedly based in Topeka, Kansas, Eunicure describes itself as “a network of volunteer medical professionals… providing the only one-hundred percent effective treatment for curing homosexuality.” Eunicure’s treatment is castration-based, so I’m thinking it’s not all that effective where female homosexuality is concerned. But as we see with religious groups and other gay haters, it’s really the buttsex that fascinates ‘em. (Lesbians and heterosexuals, for the record, have buttsex too.) Well, late yesterday afternoon I managed to get a hold of Eunicure’s media liaison, Andrew Johnson, and we had a very pleasant phone conversation. But I must say that Mr. Johnson, hoax or no hoax, had to be the least informed media liaison in the whole sordid history of media liaisoning.

Can you tell me about the service?

The idea is that, if you’re gay, and if you’ve tried everything else, and you want to be straight, or if you can’t be straight but want to get right with God, after you get a full physical, and a full psychological battery of tests, we can refer you to one of the places around the country where a surgeon would be wiling to perform the service. We’re a referral service. We don’t do medical work ourselves. We refer and fund.

So you guys pick up the tab for these castrations?

Yes. It can run anywhere from $1,600 to $2,600. Depending on location, mostly. Everything in New York City is more expensive than in Kansas City, obviously. And we don’t pay for cosmetic implants, just for taking the testicles out.

How many of these procedures has Eunicure paid for?

Since 2004… it’s been… let me see… let me see… I can’t give you an exact number… between 150 paid for in full… and 150 we paid for in part.

Can you put me in touch with men you’ve Eunicured?

No. We have to respect patient confidentiality.

Your area code is 913—that’s Kansas City, not Topeka.

I’m a media liaison and I work for a lot of different companies. My office is in Kansas City.

How long have you worked with Eunicure?

Three weeks now.

The mailing address listed on Eunicure’s website is the street address of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Are you guys affiliated with Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps?

We’re inspired by their teachings. We don’t see eye to eye on everything. But we have the same goals. We are not affiliated though.

If you’re not affiliated, why do you share offices?

Because Dr. Timothy Feathertree is part of the organization.

Where is Dr. Feathertree, Eunicure’s medical director, licensed to practice medicine? I can’t find him on any databases in Kansas or anywhere else.

He’s not licensed right now. He’s not working as a physician. Right now. Or I’m not sure if he is. I’m not up on everything right now. But what was explained to me is, if you’re working as a medical director, you don’t actually have to be licensed to practice medicine.

Your website was registered only a month ago.

Eunicure has been in existence since mid-2004, but it was just a word of mouth thing. People these days seem to think that you can’t exist until the moment you went on the web.

Eunicure is soliciting for donations. Is it a charity?

I haven’t checked out what their filings are, but they tell me they’re a nonprofit.

Is Eunicure registered with the IRS? Is it a registered 501(c)3?

I honestly don’t know.

For a spokesman, you don’t seem to know much.

[Laughs.] Frankly, we only went live two weeks ago. We registered the website a month ago, we’ve been working on it for a bit. We had it out for a very little while. Only Monday we started to let people know we were here on the web.

Before we got off the phone, Mr. Johnson promised to get back to me about where exactly Dr. Feathertree is licensed to practice medicine and where he went to medical school. He e-mailed me later…

I have reached Dr. Feathertree’s wife, Jennifer, and she tells me that I misunderstood—Dr. Feathertree is a Doctor of Biology, not of Medicine. He is South African (no, not Nigerian) and graduated in ‘85 from the University of Cape Town. He has never practiced medicine anywhere let alone in the U.S. As I noted, Eunicure does not perform any medical procedures itself, it just refer people to surgeons willing to perform the procedure. Dr. Feathertree limits himself to reviewing the qualifications of the doctors he refers patients to.

I suppose the University of Cape Town was chosen because it’s so very far away, and calling to check up on Mr. Johnson’s claim might prove logistically difficult. (What time zone is it in? It’s in Africa—do they even have phones?) But the University of Cape Town actually has a zippy little website and I was able to blast an e-mail off to the student-records office. “I have checked our records correctly and could find NONE under the name below,” writes Sipho Masha in the student-records office.

Of course, I thought this was a hoax all along—come on—but it’s a great idea for a hoax, and it’s really a shame that it wasn’t better done. The dead giveaway? When I was speaking with Andrew Johnson about why Eunicure shared a mailing address with Westboro Baptist Church, he said…

If Dr. Feathertree was going to get hate mail, he might as well get it at that address.

RSS icon Comments


I'll bet the Kansas Board of Medical Examiners has this info available online; I know Colorado does.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 12, 2008 10:24 AM

The phrase "board certified" turns me on.

Posted by Ziggity | March 12, 2008 10:25 AM

A quick search of: yields no licensees with the last name of Feathertree.

Posted by MSB | March 12, 2008 10:26 AM

Yeah, this is total B.S. Come on now.

What 3 said. If you want to check any other state, go here:

Posted by Levislade | March 12, 2008 10:27 AM

I think it's a hoax too... still, I wouldn't put it past 'em.

Posted by Dan Savage | March 12, 2008 10:30 AM

Yeah--"EUNicure"--that in itself sounds like a put-on, considering what they purport to do...

Plus is elective castration actually legal? Outside of sex reassignment surgery, I mean? Seems to me that lawsuits aplenty would be flying.

Posted by Nora | March 12, 2008 10:30 AM

No way this if for real. Check out the testimonials- they're definitely fake.

(question: should it be 'testis'-monials? Har har.)

Posted by km | March 12, 2008 10:31 AM

Feathertree sounds like a made up name. It's not quite as overt as Dr. Timothy Ballslicer, but still.

Posted by IPFreely | March 12, 2008 10:33 AM

If it is a parody, I do think it sends an extremely funny yet poignant message to religious folks about how far society should go to ‘prevent’ homosexuality. Proposing surgical castration, which causes a “complete lack of sexual desire of any kind”, sends a powerful message to nearly every man out there, gay or straight.

Posted by Gay Seattle | March 12, 2008 10:34 AM

I guarantee it's a hoax. No on-the-level Christian site would pay tribute to Phelps, as these guys do right on the front page. Everybody realizes the guy is a lunatic, and every Christian organization on the planet has disassociated themselves (in fact, an unrelated church in Canada that had been called "Westboro Baptist Church" for decades changed their name just so people would stop confusing them with Phelps's organization).

Posted by Kim Scarborough | March 12, 2008 10:37 AM

On third thought...

If one asks for volunteers for removing one's genes from the pool one should accept all comers.

Posted by umvue | March 12, 2008 10:39 AM

I'd think hoax too, but the level of punning in the name is fantastic.

Eunicure = Eunuch you are
= Unique cure
= bed cure (Eun in eunuch is from the Greek word for bed)

I could go on, but this is English professor stuff. . .

Posted by bill | March 12, 2008 10:42 AM

I could easily see this being for real if it were done outside the US. I can't see a board certified urologist getting any kind of malpractice insurer to sign off on elective castration.

But I kind of wish it was true, cause then it would indicate that self-hating fundies are into the kinkiest shit imaginable.

If homo-sex is beyond the pale, what the fuck can you say about scheduling a castration while your mom watches? Damn!

Posted by Westside forever | March 12, 2008 10:48 AM

Hoax. There's an ad for Truth Wins Out on the front page.

Posted by Rebecca | March 12, 2008 10:53 AM

Feathertree doesn't even turn up in google, although I just learned about the existance of christmas trees made of goose feathers.

I also enjoyed the testimonial of "Jay B."

Posted by Henrietta | March 12, 2008 10:57 AM

This site is brilliant. Didja notice "I cured my herpes: simple home remedy cures herpes within 72 hours." on the front page?

No link unfortunately.

Posted by Henrietta | March 12, 2008 11:02 AM

Have they considered placing an ad at Landover Baptist?

Posted by Smade | March 12, 2008 11:02 AM

Where the fuck do find this shit?

Posted by Mike in MO | March 12, 2008 11:03 AM

Holy shit the herpes cure is real!

Posted by Henrietta | March 12, 2008 11:05 AM

yes you can get elective castration done in the US just not this hoax site.

i guess philly is the castration capitol of the country not kansas

Posted by Jiberish | March 12, 2008 11:12 AM

1) The street address listed is for the Westboro Baptist Church itself, and the site talks about the funding it gets from Christian sources it doesn't name - so chances are this is a Phelps thing, trying to con gays into getting their balls cut off. Wonder if he'll keep them in a jar on his desk.

2) Doctors perform gender reassignment surgery involving castration all the time without losing their license. Search for "Body Dismorphic Disorder." There are people who have sought, and recieved, the surgical removal of a limb or other body part that they do not, for whatever, reason, recognize as "theirs."

3) It is possible that if there is a Dr. Feathertree, he is not praticing medicine in Kansas, only acting as a director so wouldn't be listed as a praticing doctor in Kansas, and he might have - heck, probably MUST have - gotten his medical degree on some small island somewhere.

Posted by JohnJohn | March 12, 2008 11:15 AM

I'm pretty sure the notion that castration removes all sexual desire, and all sexual ability, is false.

Posted by Fnarf | March 12, 2008 11:16 AM

1) The street address listed is for the Westboro Baptist Church itself, and the site talks about the funding it gets from Christian sources it doesn't name - so chances are this is a Phelps thing, trying to con gays into getting their balls cut off. Wonder if he'll keep them in a jar on his desk.

2) Doctors perform gender reassignment surgery involving castration all the time without losing their license. Search for "Body Dismorphic Disorder." There are people who have sought, and recieved, the surgical removal of a limb or other body part that they do not, for whatever, reason, recognize as "theirs."

3) It is possible that if there is a Dr. Feathertree, he is not praticing medicine in Kansas, only acting as a director so wouldn't be listed as a praticing doctor in Kansas, and he might have - heck, probably MUST have - gotten his medical degree on some small island somewhere.

Posted by JohnJohn | March 12, 2008 11:16 AM

Hey, anyone want to meet up at "The Sparkle" to do some blow and blow some dudes, as they say?

Posted by lauren | March 12, 2008 11:21 AM

I'm glad I read this and didn't hear it, because if I'd just heard it I'd have thought it was a pedicure for someone with only one toe.

Posted by VanNat | March 12, 2008 11:25 AM

@12 -- I noticed also that if you say "Andrew Johnson" relatively quickly it sounds sort of like "androgynous". Wonder if they did that on purpose too?

Posted by Calpete | March 12, 2008 11:40 AM

Doctors in the US require the patient to undergo extensive psychiatric examinations before castrations - simply for fear of being sued. Remember the cult that all commited suicide a couple of years ago - they were going to join a 'mothership' near Jupiter? [They did web-pages, too - I can not remember their name though] They couldn't get their castrations done in the US, so they went to Mexico.

It could be a hoax in either direction - that is the church looking for names of homosexual men to torment or some one's attack on the church - but I doubt if it is real. the threat of liability is just too high.

Posted by Schweighsr | March 12, 2008 11:46 AM

Okay, well... I got an email back from their spokesmodel, and I'm going to give him a call.

Posted by Dan Savage | March 12, 2008 11:49 AM

Here's a fun thought experiment for you.

Would right wing support stem cell research if it promised a cure for homosexuality?

Posted by nbc | March 12, 2008 11:53 AM

@29 - I'm inclined to think their heads would explode all at once. Choosing between "God hates fags" and "God loves embryos" would be too much for their feeble minds to process.

Posted by Hernandez | March 12, 2008 11:57 AM

First, sorry for the double post. Second, since it keeps coming up, those are Google Adsense ads on the site - they aren't connected to the site or part of the site or whatever you want to call it. Google just posts the ads in those slots that it wants to.

Posted by JohnJohn | March 12, 2008 2:02 PM

Yeah, castration doesn't end sexual desires. I'm a non-op trans, and I have had an orchidectomy. Even with a ton of estrogen and no testicles, I can still get aroused and "perform" with my lover.

That said, the nature of my sex drive has changed - I don't respond to the same things or the same way as I did before.

Posted by None at this time | March 12, 2008 3:43 PM

That's what I thought. Which is one reason why castrating rapists doesn't make them safe.

Posted by Fnarf | March 12, 2008 3:52 PM

The first and most obvious tipoff that this is a fraud/parody: "100% Effective!"

There are very few things that can make that claim verifiably in medicine, and surgical castration is certainly not one of those that can.

Posted by Wolf | March 12, 2008 4:49 PM

Most men seeking castration (and they are out there) usually end up doing it themselves - or have friends help. Using the methods and tools that are used to geld livestock.


This might actually be a fetish you wouldn't approve, Dan...

Posted by Ayden | March 12, 2008 5:07 PM

The scariest thing is that we think (know?) this kind of stuff might be remotely possible. As in, there could be those out there who actually think this way.

Posted by PJ | March 12, 2008 6:30 PM

Well, if it really is Fred Phelps who's behind this, the solution is much simpler...just mail out a picture of his evil, sour puss...or better yet one of his rancid groin pickle. I can assure you I've lost any sense of libido I had just thinking of that.

Posted by Johnny | March 12, 2008 8:10 PM

Speaking of Fred Phelps, does anyone else think that Dan Savage should start a fund to sic these guys on them?

Posted by Punninglinguist | March 13, 2008 12:49 AM

On him, that is. But perhaps on the whole Phelps cabal, too.

Posted by Punninglinguist | March 13, 2008 12:50 AM

This is officially hilarious.

Posted by bd | March 13, 2008 4:24 PM

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