Entertainment » Celebrities

LGBT Groups Slam Dr. Oz’s ’Ex-Gay’ Therapy Episode

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Saturday Dec 1, 2012

Several prominent LGBT rights groups have criticized the Nov. 28 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," that dealt with reparative therapy, or "ex-gay" therapy, Think Progress reports.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, a surgeon who became popular after appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2004, talked with representatives of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality and People Can Change, who are "experts" on the controversial reparative therapy, about how the practice could change the orientation of a person.

Gay rights groups, however, were not pleased with the producers of "The Dr. Oz Show" and GLAAD, GLSEN and PFLAG issued a joint statement and criticized the episode.

"Producers of the Dr. Oz Show framed their program on so-called reparative therapy in a way that provided a lengthy platform for junk science," the statement reads. "The first two segments of the show featured two proponents of so-called reparative therapy, neither of whom was challenged, at any point, by Dr. Oz or any guests. These two 'ex-gay' activists, however, were invited to stay and rebut statements by opponents throughout the rest of the program."

GLAAD's President Herndon Graddick said that those who believe reparative therapy works have an "outdated" and "harmful" way of thinking" and GLSEN's executive director Dr. Eliza Byard echoed Herndon's statements, by saying, "The Dr. Oz Show" "provided a platform to a fringe organization promoting dangerous and harmful practices that every major health, mental health and education organization has consistently repudiated as harmful to youth."

In PFLAG's statement, officials pointed out that even though Dr. Oz invited guests who are against conversion therapy, the surgeon, "never weighted in, and the audience was misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of the issue."

Dr. Oz, however, defended the "ex-gay" guests' appearance and said that he "felt that we needed to include all parties who have considered reparative therapy to hear the stories of people who have tried these treatments. Although some viewers may disagree with this tactic, if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives."

The surgeon went on to say that after hearing both sides of the hot button issue, he agrees "with the established medical consensus. I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments."

Dr. Oz isn't the only TV doctor to have an episode about conversion therapy this week. Think Progress notes that Dr. David Drew Pinsky, best known as Dr. Drew, invited Ryan Kendall, a longtime advocate against "ex-gay" therapy and an "ex-gay" survivor, on his show, "Dr. Drew on Call" Wednesday, along with David Pickup, a NARTH spokesperson.

Pickup, who is part of a suite to overturn California's ban on the therapy for minors, believes that homosexuality is caused by sexual abuse. On the episode, Pickup claimed that there is substantial evidence that gay people have turned straight but he only referenced an ex-gay website that only has testimonials and no factual research.

Think Progress wrote that there was "no justifiable reason to provide Pickup with unfettered airtime when the entire medical community has disavowed his methods as ineffective, his beliefs as unscientific, and his intentions as harmful."

Unlike, Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew has not commented on the episode or its criticism.

In related news, four gay men are suing the New Jersey-based conversion therapy group that claims to turn gay men straight. The plaintiffs argue that the practices don't work and that the Jews Offering New Alternatives of Healing's methods constitute fraud under New Jersey's consumer protection laws.


  • stelmo, 2012-12-03 16:15:19

    Gee Dr. Oz airing junk science! What a shock! This man is a quack so why are we surprised by his presenting information which has no empirical back up!

  • stelmo, 2012-12-03 16:36:55

    Gee Dr. Oz airing junk science! What a shock! This man is a quack so why are we surprised by his presenting information which has no empirical back up!

  • Roger Hurvitz, 2012-12-04 22:48:57

    Reminds me of his show on Medical Marijuana--gave alot of airtime to experts warning about children becoming addicts, but the pro-side was very aggressive on THAT show--I suspect his producers are trying to be ’evenhanded’. Unfortunately these experts when they have weak arguments sensationalize stories to show credibility. As times go on, wrong arguments eventually get discredited. All anyone can do is point out whenever a so-called cured person reverts back to his/her normal genetic being. However I saw the show and was disappointed at the airtime they got--and the lack of counter-arguments with examples by the correct side. Reminds me of the first debate--Obama let romney dominate the time and gave weak counter-arguments.

  • Roger Hurvitz, 2012-12-04 22:50:07

    Not anonymous--my name is Roger Hurvitz--system thinks I’m anonymous.

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