Controversy is buzzing around a new TLC reality special — and it hasn’t even aired yet.
The show “My Husband’s Not Gay” follows Mormon men in Utah who are married to women but attracted to men. The cable network is set to premiere the hour-long special this Sunday, but gay rights organizations are blasting that decision, calling it irresponsible.
“I think this show is disgraceful and that there are many things wrong with it,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and president of GLAAD. “The central message is that being gay is bad, and that’s an incredibly dangerous message to be sending to young adults and can cause irreversible damage.”
A trailer for the special features the men, along with their wives, discussing their attractions to both genders and their desire to be in-step with their Mormon faith. “There is no marriage that is perfect; ours isn’t, but with our faith in God, we believe we can overcome anything,” one of the men says. None of the men featured on the show identify as gay, despite having open attractions to men.
“This [show] uses words and threads a very fine needle on reparative therapy,” Ellis said. “That kind of therapy tries to ‘cure’ people from being gay and we know that’s been refuted for years … it feeds into a much bigger epidemic of higher incidents of suicide, higher incidents bullying in the LGBT community and it sends a bad, bad cultural message.”
A petition to cancel the show, posted by Josh Sanders on change.org, has garnered more than 78,000 signatures since it was posted a week ago. The petition says the show “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.”
“My Husband’s Not Gay” follows one bachelor and three married, heterosexual couples, Jeff and Tanya, Pret and Megan, Curtis and Tera. The couples have been together for periods of time ranging from 13 to 20 years and all have children together. Tom, 35, is the only single man on the show. All of the show’s subjects live in Salt Lake City.
TLC, the network that’s seen mega-success with other reality shows such as “19 Kids and Counting” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” defends its latest program on what it calls “unconventional Mormon marriages.”
“TLC has long shared compelling stories about real people and different ways of life, without judgment. The individuals featured in this one-hour special reveal the decisions they have made, and speak only for themselves,” said spokesperson Dustin Smith.
“My Husband’s Not Gay” is set to air at 10 p.m. on Jan. 11.