CHICAGO — Truth Wins Out today expressed dismay over TLC’s upcoming special, “My Husband’s Not Gay,” set to air Sunday, January 11, which purports to show the lives of Mormon men who have chosen to marry women despite the fact that they are attracted to men. Advertisements for the show depict a curious look into the unique lives of these men, but, as is the case with TLC’s show “19 Kids And Counting,” a much darker agenda lies under the surface. Seven members of the cast of “My Husband’s Not Gay” are deeply affiliated with North Star, a radical Mormon “ex-gay” group. Jeff Bennion, one of the stars of the show, is so extremist that he has written that “it would have been wrong to ordain a black person in May of 1978, even if you knew with a certainty that is changing the next month,” referring to the fact that, before 1978, black men could not be Mormon priests, and that both black men and women were generally prohibited from full membership in the church. Bennion has also written extensively in support of the deeply harmful practice of “ex-gay” therapy.
“TLC’s special is an advertisement for the fraudulent ‘ex-gay’ industry,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “While millions of Americans will react to this special with tongue-in-cheek skepticism, it’s highly irresponsible to propagate the false notion that people can and should choose between their sexuality and their faith, especially when impressionable, scared teenagers in conservative religious homes might be watching. Rejection by religious parents leads to depression and oftentimes suicide for LGBT youths, as we saw yet again in the tragic recent death of Leelah Alcorn. For the network to air this infomercial for junk science is unconscionable.”
Leelah Alcorn was a transgender teenager who took her own life, feeling hopeless after the rejection she endured from her conservative Christian parents and counselors. Stories abound of LGBT youth becoming homeless and hopeless after being cast out by families brainwashed into the sort of junk science and propaganda taught by the “ex-gay” movement and its enablers in conservative religious circles. “Ex-gay” therapy is roundly rejected by all major medical and mental health associations, which state that the practice, sometimes known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, is ineffective at best, and can cause great harm to patients.
Moreover, many who were among the most prominent spokespeople and apologists for the “ex-gay” movement have recanted their views and expressed deep sorrow for the pain their work caused over the years. Alan Chambers, who ran the now defunct Exodus International, admitted that 99.9% of those he encountered in the movement never changed their sexual orientation. John Paulk, who was once the poster boy for the movement, appearing on the cover of Newsweek in 1998 with his then wife, now is living as an openly gay man, and is doing the hard work of apologizing to those who were hurt by his work. Recently, Yvette Cantu Schneider, who was once held prominent roles on the religious right advocating for reparative therapy, recanted her past work and now speaks out as an advocate for LGBT equality. John Smid, one of the former stars of the “ex-gay” movement, recently married a man in Oklahoma, and has been working to repair the damage done by his previous work. Indeed, the only public “ex-gays” left seem to be those who are currently making money promulgating the “ex-gay” lifestyle, a group which includes the stars of “My Husband’s Not Gay.”
A petition on Change.org, started by a devoutly Christian gay man, is asking TLC to cancel the show. With over 68,000 signatures so far, the creator explains that “the men featured in this show deserve to be shown compassion and acceptance. Instead, TLC is presenting their lives as entertainment while sending the message that being gay is something that can and ought to be ‘changed’ or that you can fight your sexual orientation by marrying someone of the opposite sex. This message is harmful to both LGBT people and communities of faith, and sends a dangerous message to viewers.”
“This TLC special is a tragedy of epic proportions,” said Truth Wins Out Associate Director Evan Hurst. “Ex-gay groups know they can’t sell the idea that people change from gay to straight anymore, so now they’re being upfront about the fact that these men have married women they’re not attracted to. Their wives, meanwhile, are missing out on the fullness of loving, committed, sexually satisfying marriages, instead being forced to smile and endure relationships with attractive men who don’t want them. And kids who might be watching are being fed the idea that they might have to choose between their spirituality and their authentic selves. Thanks for the education, TLC, but America has moved on from that nonsense.”
Here is the harsh reality that these men and their wives are almost certain to face in the future. Why doesn’t TLC create a show about how these wives must start over and pick up the pieces of their shattered lives: