More than 70,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on the TLC TV network to cancel its upcoming special “My Husband’s Not Gay.” The program, set to air on January 11, follows four Mormon men who reject their sexual orientation because, they say, their faith is unaccepting of gay people who live their lives authentically.
The petition, launched by Josh Sanders of Virginia Beach, VA, says the program “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.” Sanders is a gay Christian man, who was once subjected to so-called “reparative therapy,” a harmful practice that aims to “turn” gay people straight, and which nearly every major medical authority has denounced as both dangerous and ineffective. “I was promised I could change, and told that I should ‘pray the gay away,'” he says. “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.”
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis echoes his sentiment, saying in a statement on the group’s site, “This show is downright irresponsible. 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.”
Sanders says he started the petition “because these men deserve compassion and acceptance.” Instead, he says, “TLC is presenting their lives as entertainment and sending the dangerous message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed.”
A couple featured on the show, Pret and Megan, met in Sunday School 17 years ago and has been married for nearly nine years.
“Every time I got to the core of who I am, I knew that I wanted to be married to a woman,” Pret told ABC News. “I knew that I wanted children and I wanted to be a father and I want to be called ‘Daddy’ when I come home.”
TLC has responded to the objections, saying in a statement, “The individuals featured in this one-hour special reveal the decisions they have made, and speak only for themselves.”
On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Robin Roberts said the “gay community is really fired up” about the show. “To even give the idea that it is a choice can be very dangerous especially to young people who are dealing with their sexuality and trying to figure things out.”
Take a look at a clip for the TV Show below: