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GLAAD, petition call for TLC to cancel 'My Husband's Not Gay' special

An online petition and GLAAD are calling on TLC to cancel its upcoming special 'My Husband's Not Gay'

TLC, the channel that brought you "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," "Long Island Medium" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is stirring controversy again with its latest eyebrow-raising special, "My Husband's Not Gay." The show debuts Sunday, and GLAAD and others are already speaking out against the special and calling on TLC to cancel it before it airs.

"My Husband's Not Gay" will follow the lives of four Mormon men, three of whom are married to women, who struggle with what they call same-sex attraction. They don't describe themselves as gay.

Not surprisingly, this subject matter isn't sitting well with GLAAD, the LGBT advocacy organization.

In a statement released Tuesday, GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said, "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."

Josh Sanders, a self-described "gay Christian man" has launched a petition on Change.org calling on TLC to cancel the program.

"Stop telling America that LGBT people should lie to themselves and to their faith communities about who they are and who they love," he wrote.

Sanders warned of the dangers of "reparative therapy," the discredited process that purports to make gay men straight. You can't "pray the gay away," he says.

"The men featured in this show deserve to be shown compassion and acceptance," Sanders said. "Instead, TLC is presenting victims' lives as entertainment, while sending the message that being gay is something that can and ought to be changed."

Nearly 80,000 people have signed the petition online, many leaving comments adding their own personal stories and struggles with their gay identity and faith.

Another pro-LGBT organization, Truth Wins Out, has written that several stars of the show, including Jeff Bennion, are affiliated with North Star, described as a "radical Mormon 'ex-gay' group."

The special was produced for TLC by Hot Snakes Media, which also produces the TLC series "Breaking Amish."

TLC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

Jan 7, 12:08 p.m.: TLC released this statement: "TLC has long shared compelling stories about real people and different ways of life, without judgment. The individuals features in this one-hour special reveal the decisions they have made, and speak only for themselves."

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