More than 70,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on TLC to cancel its upcoming special "My Husband's Not Gay." The program, set to air on January 11, follows four Mormon men who reject their sexual orientation because, they say, their faith is unaccepting of gay people who live their lives authentically.
The petition, launched by Josh Sanders of Virginia Beach, VA, says the program "promotes the false and dangerous idea that gay people can and should choose to be straight in order to be part of their faith communities." Sanders is a gay Christian man, who was once subjected to so-called “reparative therapy," a harmful practice that aims to "turn" gay people straight, and which nearly every major medical authority has denounced as both dangerous and ineffective. "I was promised I could change, and told that I should 'pray the gay away,'" he says. "In the end, the only thing that this so-called 'therapy' did was stoke a growing despair that maybe my life wasn't worth living."
“This show is downright irresponsible,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.”
Truth Wins Out, an organization that works to expose the misinformation spread by anti-LGBT activists, points out that "seven cast members of TLC's 'My Husband’s Not Gay' are deeply affiliated with North Star, a radical Mormon 'ex-gay' group." Truth Wins Out also revealed that Jeff Bennion, one of the stars of the show, "has written extensively in support of the deeply harmful practice of 'ex-gay' therapy."
Sanders says he started the petition "because these men deserve compassion and acceptance." Instead, he says, "TLC is presenting their lives as entertainment and sending the dangerous message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed."