Views & Voices

A gay dad sounds off on the lies and abuse of TLC’s ‘My Husband’s Not Gay’

Jeff Bennion and his wife Tanya kiss in front of their home near Salt Lake City. The couple are featured in the TLC special, "My Husband's Not Gay." Rick Bowmer, AP

Jeff Bennion and his wife Tanya kiss in front of their home near Salt Lake City. The couple are featured in the TLC special, "My Husband's Not Gay."Rick Bowmer, AP

Jeff Bennion and his wife Tanya kiss in front of their home near Salt Lake City. The couple are featured in the TLC special, “My Husband’s Not Gay.”

Sunday night was a cornucopia of LGBT television.

First came the Golden Globes with a full offering of heartwarming equality affirmations from wins for Transparent, including a call out for Leelah Alcorn, to a win for Matt Bomer in which he again asserted his standing as a proud gay dad in the world, to the hint of a host-ship next year for LGBT icon Margaret Cho, who was hilarious as a North Korean journalist/general invading this years show.

LGBT euphoria turned to LGBT dismay as, with a turn of the channel, I landed on The Learning Channel’s My Husband’s Not Gay reality TV special.

My biggest question after watching that train wreck was, “What exactly are we supposed to learn from this Learning Channel?”

Reality TV is not an area in which I have much comfort. I don’t know what a Kardashian is, and I am not clear on the point of real housewives or bridezillas.

There seems to be a pre-occupation in this “reality” world with the breadth of “traditional marriages” from Bachelor mating rituals, which are tacky at best, to  extreme retro “traditional” with multiple wives or 19 kids

Again, I am not quite clear on what the learning curve is here. Possibly the point is that those who are screaming to only have “traditional” marriages allowed in society need to be careful for which they pray.

Judge Judy is my one “reality television” guilty pleasure.  On the trials on her show “the cases are REAL, the people are REAL” and the viewer gets to watch as these participants come on and lie their pants off.

Judge Judy suffers the fools only so far as she quizzes them on specifics while working her personal vendetta to determine the real truth. Once she is satisfied at finding it, she has no restraint in bending forward and screaming out to the disingenuous “YOU”RE A LIAR!” Some might find the judge’s loud candor abusive. I find it actually a bit refreshing.

They needed Judge Judy on “My Husband’s Not Gay,” where some real dishonesty and psychological abuse is happening.

There has been much legitimate concern about the show and its ties to harmful “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy. Although undisclosed, most of the participants on the show have supported organizations behind such pseudo-“science” that all the major American and Canadian mental health organizations have condemned. 

The premise of the show, three gay, oh, I’m sorry, “same-sex attracted” men are married to straight women and raising families. The show tries not to present this as a “gay men SHOULD do this” but it definitely tries to raise the question “CAN” gay men do this?

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