TLC is planning to air an hour-long special this month titled My Husband's Not Gay, which the network says "follows four men living in Salt Lake City, Utah, who don't identify themselves as homosexual despite having an attraction to men". Unsurprisingly, this is a decision that isn't sitting well with some.
“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.”
According to GLAAD, the show revolves around four men of the Mormon faith, who reject their sexual identity because it is not accepted in their religion. To GLAAD, this sends a damaging message. GLAAD also says that "seven cast members of TLC's My Husband’s Not Gay are deeply affiliated with North Star, a radical Mormon 'ex-gay' group."
GLAAD isn't the only ones upset with The Learning Channel over its upcoming special. A Change.org petition asking the network to cancel the show has quickly garnered over 81,000 signatures.
"This January, TLC will debut My Husband’s Not Gay, a TV show that 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," says petition creator Josh Sanders.
"As a gay Christian man who’s seen first hand how this message can harm people, I am calling on TLC to cancel My Husband’s Not Gay and to stop telling America that LGBT people should lie to themselves and to their faith communities about who they are and who they love."
TLC has responded to the backlash, and is holding its ground – at least for now.
"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 the network in a statement.
If nothing changes in the next few days, My Husband's Not Gay will air on January 11.
"The men featured in this show deserve to be shown compassion and acceptance," says Sanders. "Perhaps even more importantly, TV viewers need to know the horrific consequences of trying to change who you are. Instead, TLC is presenting victims’ lives as entertainment, while sending the message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed, or that you should reject your sexual orientation by marrying someone of the opposite sex."