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TLC’s upcoming special My Husband’s Not Gay continues to generate controversy before even airing.
GLAAD has issued a statement criticizing the show, which focuses on four Mormon men living in Salt Lake City who are attracted to men but don’t identify as gay. The four men are each married to a woman.
“This show is downright irresponsible,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement issued to The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
A Change.org petition has been launched to get TLC to cancel the special. As of Monday night, the petition had garnered more than 70,000 signatures.
Josh Sanders, who started the petition, wrote in it that he is Christian and gay. He said he tried to hide his orientation and participated in six months’ of therapy sessions designed to turn gay people straight. “I was promised I could change, and told that I should ‘pray the gay away,’ ” Sanders wrote. “In the end, the only thing that this so-called ‘therapy’ did was stoke a growing despair that maybe my life wasn’t worth living.”
Sanders added: “TLC is presenting [the subjects’] lives as entertainment, and sending the dangerous message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed.”
A TLC rep defended the network’s decision to air the special. “TLC has long shared compelling stories about real people and different ways of life, without judgment,” reads the statement. “The individuals featured in this one-hour special reveal the decisions they have made, and speak only for themselves.”
This is not the first time that a TLC program has earned the ire of the LGBT community. In 2012, the network pulled an episode of Cake Boss after viewers complained about star Buddy Valastro‘s insult about a transgender reality star during the episode.
My Husband’s Not Gay airs Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. on TLC. A clip from the show is below.
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