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Gay rights groups rip 'Dr. Oz Show' over episode on reparative therapy

Three gay rights groups are railing against the Dr.
Dr. Oz on Wednesday's show.
Dr. Oz on Wednesday's show.

Three gay rights groups are railing against the Dr. Oz Show for a recent episode on reparative therapy, a controversial method that claims to turn gay people straight.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) issued a joint statement condemning Wednesday’s episode, titled “From Gay to Straight? The Controversial Therapy.”

“The issue is not one that can be discussed as though both sides are equally valid,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. He called the therapy “outdated, ultimately harmful, and in modern media, should be treated like lobotomies or medical mercury.” They criticized the producers for framing the show in a manner that provided a “lengthy platform for junk science.”

The episode comes on the heels of California passing a law prohibiting reparative therapy for minors.

The show had representatives from pro-reparative therapy organization, including the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

In the beginning of the show, Dr. Mehmet Oz himself acknowledges the issue is controversial and may upset viewers – but he said it’s important to have the discussion. He added some think it’s “irresponsible for me to do a show like this and give these issues a platform.”

A spokesperson for The Dr. Oz Show released a statement saying the show examined the “medical angles of reparative therapy and the controversy surrounding it,” in light of the California law.

“While we acknowledge this is a difficult conversation to have, it's critical that a discussion like this happen through the filter of a show like The Dr. Oz Show rather than in secluded basements or back alleys,” the statement read.

Oz—who acknowledges that medical groups like the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association denounce reparative therapy—wrote on his blog following the episode, “'After listening to both sides of the issue and after reviewing the available medical data, I agree with the established medical consensus, 'I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy, and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments.'

Aaron McQuade, a spokesman for GLAAD, told msnbc that he wished the show would have been more than "your typical 'two sides that disagree, yelling at each other' show. We had hoped that at the very least, they would not have pretended that someone from the long-discredited group NARTH was an expert."

Clips of the entire episode are available here.