TLC denies claims that its newest show, “My Husband’s Not Gay,” helps promote the discredited notion that gay men can choose to be heterosexual. But one of the show’s stars has a history of promoting “ex-gay” therapy, even acting as a spokesman for a major “ex-gay” organization.
TLC’s new show, which follows a group of men who admit to being attracted to other men but have chosen to date and marry women, has been widely criticized by members of the LGBT community for promoting the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy.
GLAAD has condemned the program, calling it “downright irresponsible” and warning that it puts “countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.” Truth Wins Out, a group dedicated to stopping “ex-gay” therapy, has pointed out that many of the shows stars are closely affiliated with North Star, a fringe Mormon “ex-gay” group.
So far, a Change.org petition calling for the show’s cancellation has gathered more than 120,000 signatures.
TLC has thus far shrugged off the criticism.
“TLC has long shared compelling stories about real people and different ways of life, without judgment,” the network said in a statement. “The individuals featured in this one-hour special reveal the decisions they have made, and speak only for themselves.”
But one of the stars of TLC’s show – Preston “Pret” Dahlgren – has a history of speaking on behalf of “ex-gay” ministries, repeatedly using his testimony to promote organizations that promote reparative therapy.
Dahlgren is the former chairman of Evergreen International, a Salt Lake City-based ex-gay organization which catered to the Mormon community. The group promised to help people “diminish… same-gender attractions and overcome homosexual behavior,” largely relying on the work of the notorious National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).
At a 2012 Evergreen Conference Fireside, Dahlgren gave a speech defending efforts to help people overcome same-sex attraction, stating that “same-sex attractions are almost invariably rooted in deeper issues”:
Dahlgren made similar comments in a video for the 2013 Reconciling Faith & Feelings Conference, an event that promotes “ex-gay” therapy and believes that it’s possible to diminish a person’s same-sex attractions.