When it comes to reality TV, TLC has long had the reputation of being a mouthpiece for fringe religious communities. Its reach has given rise to shows like 19 Kids and Counting, but the network’s latest special is raising more eyebrows than any of its previous efforts. My Husband’s Not Gay follows four Mormon men who are attracted to other men but refuse to identify as gay or bisexual. The hour-long special follows the lives of Jeff, Pret, Curtis, and Tom as they navigate their unconventional relationships.
As much as the show has stirred up controversy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people would oppose it. The men on the special aren’t merely spouting nonsense about the differences between themselves and gay people; they’re also reinforcing the idea that homosexual orientation is a fixed and unchanging thing.
Preston Dahlgren, one of the men featured on My Husband’s Not Gay, leads what might seem to be a picture-perfect Mormon life. He married his high school sweetheart, completed a mission for the church, and has two young daughters. But he’s attracted to men, and the show has caused him to face a number of challenges. The men on the show have been criticized for their support of ex-gay therapies, which seek to change a person’s sexual orientation through a combination of psychotherapy and in some cases, electro shock therapy. But they’ve insisted that the show doesn’t endorse these practices, which are illegal in most states.