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Dr. Mehmet Oz Courts Controversy By Including NARTH In Ex-Gay Episode

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite being a cardiothorasic surgeon, Doctor Mehmet Cengiz Oz has found himself often making rather bad decisions outside his field. Recently, Oz did a program on his “Dr. Oz Show” that earned the anger and ire of the LGBT Community. Dr. Oz aired an episode on 28 November in which he promoted a discussion of reparative therapy. One of his guests was Julie Hamilton, a representative from the anti-gay group National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH.

NARTH is at odds with every professional group out there given that there exists no credible study showing that ex-gay therapy is effective. Wayne Bessen of Truth Wins Out, in a Huffington Post op-ed about ex-gay therapy, also pointed out that “The already shredded credibility of such groups markedly deteriorated this year after Exodus International’s leader, Alan Chambers, said that his “ex-gay” ministry did not work for 99.9 percent of clients.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s Herndon Graddic was angry over the inclusion of NARTH and stated that “The idea of therapists attempting to change a patient’s sexual orientation has been proven ineffective and dangerous, and has been soundly and conclusively rejected by the entire medical establishment. This line of thinking is outdated, ultimately harmful, and in modern media, should be treated like lobotomies or medical mercury.”

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) was also not happy about NARTH’s inclusion in the show, and their executive director Dr. Eliza Byard stated that “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.”

PFLAG’s statement was “Although the show also featured guests who condemned the idea and practice of ‘reparative therapy,’ Dr. Oz himself never weighed in, and the audience was misled to believe that there are actual experts on both sides of this issue.”

Oz apparently did not care, and 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.”

He also stated:

“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.”

Unfortunately, Oz never mentioned any of this on the air.

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4 Responses to Dr. Mehmet Oz Courts Controversy By Including NARTH In Ex-Gay Episode

  1. Jeff

    November 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Having been in ex-gay ministry and around therapy I know the in’s and out’s of a lot of it. For me and for many no real harm was done to any of us other than our faith and our sexuality were in confliction. And in those times you have two choices choose your faith and your church or choose to be who you feel you are. And for me I have chosen to live out my life in a gay relationship with another man.

    Having said that I as well know people men and women who know longer call themselves gay and are living happy and productive lives and some even married raising kids. This whole issue (for the most part) comes down to freedom of religion. For people choosing not to be gay always comes down to the issue of faith. And for those who do not believe will never understand that. But I will disagree with family’s pushing or forcing their kids to get help. If you are an adult and you struggle with your faith and sexuality then you have to honestly deal with it. For some it will mean living the ex-gay life and for other’s it means embracing their sexuality. But honestly no one is harmed other than having to wrestle through personally your faith and sexuality.

    I would like to hear from those who as well have gone through ex-gay therapy and ministry and hear about the real harm and damage it has caused them.

    • Sam

      December 14, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Just a few quick points. It does not always come down to an issue of faith. There are plenty of good “secular” reasons to shift straight. Health, wanting family, humans are clearly a male/female model for reproduction. Some have a “sense” of what put them on this path, and know it was emotionally damaging.

      The representatives of reparative therapy made it quite clear that no one is “forced” into therapy…including the children.

      Kudos to you for admitting that no real harm was done. This was the argument against the therapy.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      December 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Hm…I know several lesbian and gay couples who have children, so there goes your “wanting families” argument. Just take a look at Elton John and his husband or Niel Patrick Harris and his husband. Both have children. Oh, sure, they had to have help, but then again, there are a lot of straight couples who have to have help having children. It also puts an end to the idea of the “male/female model for reproduction” because, while those are needed for conception, they are not needed for raising children.

      As for the health argument, most of the health problems faced by lesbians and gays is caused by a society that treats them as second class citizens. The health and psychological damage is not caused by the person being innately lesbian or gay, but rather by the society hurting those who are lesbian or gay. In places where homosexuality is more accepted, those health issues you mention go away. It should also be noted that those health issues are seen in any minority group which is repressed within society such as within Native Americans and Blacks. I guess, according to your view, those groups are innately flawed and should try to become White in order to avoid the emotional and health damage that society heaps upon them for being not-White.

      Finally, while technically no one is forced into reparative therapy, try being a child and being forced by your parents to do something you hate. Can’t do it, can ya? For those children, the choice is often between being forced into this kind of therapy or being forced out on the streets. Not much of a choice, huh?

  2. KimW

    November 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    After listening to both sides of the argument?? The LGBT community needs to banish this guy back to Turkey.