Homophobia disguised as medicine...

elph's picture

At one time Doctor Oz was a somewhat respectable TV personality. This past week, however, he's been taking considerable flak (justifiably so) for a recent show in which in a quite back-handed way he tends to lend credence to conversion therapy (i.e., gay to straight)!

Here is a comment published in the quite-credible ScienceBlog:


jeff's picture


I didn't see the actual show, nor do I care enough to seek it out, but the LGBT activists do go pretty hard line on this stuff, preferring no one even present the ex-gay side in a debate. So, as per usual, their version of dialogue is just present one side. And Dr. Oz seemingly wanted to show both sides, since it is in the news, with California banning the therapy recently. So, it's not like he's bringing up something illegal, but something actually happening. Even one of the GOP candidate's seemingly-gay husband runs an ex-gay ministry. So, I think it is ridiculous to not present something, when ALL the information about it and every group against it sort of paints it as quackery anyway.

Plus, after the episode aired, Dr. Oz did post on his blog:

"On today’s controversial show, we discussed forms of therapy that are designed to turn a gay person straight. Currently, there are still a handful of therapists who still perform this on teenagers and adults who are uncomfortable with their sexual orientation – despite the fact that the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, and other respected medical organizations oppose this therapy, claiming that it doesn’t work and that it may be potentially harmful.

I 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. Based on the need to pass the September 30 California law banning the practice in minors and continued media attention on groups advocating both sides of the reparative therapy decision, the debate continues and the venues are often basements and backrooms.

Some guests argued that they have been changed through these treatments, but I was overwhelmed by the pain of individuals hurt by the experience. After listening to both sides of the issue and after reviewing the available medical data, I agree 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.

My biggest epiphany occurred after hearing where the opposing groups found some common ground. The guests who appeared on my show on either side of this debate agreed that entering into any therapy with guilt and self-hate is a major error. Trying to change who you are instead of loving who you are leads to broken spirits and broken hearts. Encouraging self-acceptance is the only way to help alleviate the shame experienced by those who are struggling with their sexuality – and help them reach a place where who they are matches who they want to be."

This seems reasonable. Unless of course, his stance was markedly different in the show that aired and this is his big mea culpa ass-saving apology.

I do disagree with the gay community's desire to shut down debate as a first response. Here is a similar issue where Louis CK breaks down the missed opportunity for actual discussion after the Tracy Morgan controversy: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/louis-ck-tracy-morgan-gay-comment-...

(Their video format doesn't support embedding compatible with Oasis)

It seems juvenile to not want to discuss something if all of the evidence is totally weighted on your side.

UPDATE: I only watched the first segment of the online episode, but it seems like Dr. Oz knew what he was getting into. Seems like a non-issue. He treats the ex-gay people respectfully, but I don't see him agreeing with them.

TRIVIA: Oasis used to have an ex-gay columnist! I forget the name, but I recall saying he could only write about his struggle to become ex-gay if he promised to write about when he gave in and accepted cock. He agreed! This was way too long ago for me to remember any other details, though.

"I am living this life as lovingly as I can be as flawed as I am." - Brandon Lacy Campos

elph's picture

I was wrong!

OK… I am truly obliged to "eat crow"

As for my preface to the ScienceBlog link at the head of this page, I definitely wish that my parenthetical statement (justifiably so) had not been made!

This page was initiated only after my having read the commentary of others concerning this particular show by Dr Oz.

This was a major error on my part!

I have now viewed the entire show including the after-show discussions.

Yes… it does infuriate me! The proponents of Reparative Therapy (in my personal estimation) got off much too lightly. The two practitioners of Reparative Therapy (beginning of show) who were first interviewed left me nauseous and quite livid. The inclusion of a representative from NARTH was both daring and outrageous.

But… considering the format of this particular Dr Oz show, I now concede that he did as well as he could!

For those who would like to view the entire show for themselves, go here:


You will have to wade through a number of short clips (~3 to 10 minutes each) and some advertising to see the entire show to its end… but if you're truly interested, it's worth the effort.

My apologies to all… and my thanks to Jeff for having indirectly encouraged me to take a second look!


For a lighter look at Reparative Therapy, you might enjoy this article which you could easily be excused for believing that it may have been extracted from The Onion (it wasn't):

Ex-Straight Therapy: It Works, and I Am Proof!