**UPDATE: Dr. Phil Show Agrees to Pull Problematic Segment. Read more here.**
The Dr. Phil program plans to re-air an October 2008 episode that misrepresents transgender children and features the biased view of an anti-LGBT activist.
On the October 29, 2008 episode of Dr. Phil titled “Gender-Confused Kids,” Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed transgender children and their parents. The show featured two guests, Dr. Dan Siegel from UCLA who specializes in pediatrics and transgender issues, as well as Glenn Stanton, research fellow for the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family.
While Dr. Siegel offered credible insight on transgender issues, backed by research and medical experience, Stanton baselessly asserted that children develop transgender identities after parents fail to enforce gender roles. The program’s choice to present Stanton’s biased and unreliable perspective as a professional counterpart to Dr. Siegel’s medical expertise earned the episode a place in GLAAD’s October 2008 edition of Best and Worst of National News Coverage.
Several viewers wrote Dr. Phil in response to the problematic episode to voice concern about the platform the Dr. Phil program afforded to the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family (FOF) and which allowed FOF to perpetuate misinformation about transgender children.
As a result, Dr. Phil producers reached out to GLAAD and asked for better resources for future coverage and worked with GLAAD to prepare a follow-up show that featured Dr. Michele Angello, a specialist in transgender issues. Dr. Angello joined Dr. Siegel as another insightful commentator on that show. The episode, however, again featured anti-LGBT activist Glenn Stanton, as well as Joseph Nicolosi, a so-called “ex-gay” activist from the discredited fringe organization NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality.
As noted in GLAAD's critique of the follow-up episode, there are still no modern peer-reviewed studies that support so-called “ex gay” groups nor are there studies that lend credibility to their outdated and long-abandoned theories about the nature of sexual orientation or gender identity. Dr. Phil once again manufactured controversy by featuring the two unqualified and prejudiced anti-LGBT activists who detracted from the valuable opportunity to more substantively educate the American public on the topic of transgender issues.
Dr. Phil is now scheduled to re-air the original episode, “Gender-Confused Kids” on Wednesday, July 29, despite the numerous complaints the program received after its original air date.
GLAAD has reached out to Dr. Phil producers and asked them to pull the episode titled “Gender-Confused Kids.”
GLAAD urges you to contact the Dr. Phil show as well and voice your concern about the problematic segment. Tell producers that featuring Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family only serves to misrepresent transgender children and helps create a climate that contributes to putting them in harm’s way.
Carla Pennington Stewart, Executive Producer
Phil McGraw, Host
Stephanie Granader, Senior Producer