The fraught relationship between identity politics and freedom of speech has become evident again with the controversy over the TLC cable network’s upcoming new show My Husband’s Not Gay, a one-hour special that premieres this coming Sunday.
Like much other TLC programming, the show deals with an unusual lifestyle, in this case Mormon married couples in which the husband acknowledges, but doesn’t act on, sexual attraction to men.
In a world in which everything happens, and everything that happens gets on TV, this program should cause no one’s eyebrows to elevate. Other TLC shows have included My Strange Addiction, My Five Wives, Sister Wives, Little Couple, and 19 Kids and Counting. Certain advocacy groups, however, are angry about plans to broadcast My Husband’s Not Gay, as are some media people. USA Today reports:
A petition started by Josh Sanders on Change.org says the show “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 goes on to say he is a “devout Christian” who was told as he was growing up that he should “pray the gay away.” In the end, it only caused “despair.”
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.” . . .
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.”
The activists insist that no one should be allowed to depict homosexuality (and by extension, any human sexual behavior) as a matter involving any amount of individual choice, or volition.
In addition to condemning the show, activist groups have put pressure on TLC to cancel it.
It will be interesting to watch this discussion heat up further, as it undoubtedly will.
Here’s the show’s trailer: