Dr. Oz Says He Sees The Light On ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

DrOzReparativeTelevision doctor Dr. Oz’s show yesterday to explore so-called reparative therapy, the harmful and distorted “therapy” that claims to cure people of same-sex desires.

As most of us already know, this is junk science that deserves less-than-zero credence, which is why GLAAD, GLSEN and PFLAG joined forces to deride Oz’s decision.

“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,” they said. “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. There are not.”

Dr. Oz was apparently persuaded to their side, because on his website he wrote that he “agrees with the established medical consensus.”

His post, via JMG:

Some guests argued that they have been changed thru 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.

Okay, great. So, moving forward, instead of calling this “reparative therapy,” perhaps we can call it manipulative, repressive hocus-pocus?


  1. Bob says

    Dr Oz is a surgeon. Perhaps he should stay away from areas where he isn’t trained or competent (mental health)and stick to what he knows. This sort of behavior from him is damaging, especially to kids and their parents who simply don’t know better.

  2. Maguita says

    …”instead of calling this “reparative therapy,” perhaps we can call it manipulative, repressive hocus-pocus?

    How about we also congratulate a popular-with-the-masses show, on daytime Network TV no less, for having the guts to honestly ADDRESS the situation.

    You do understand that Fox “News” viewers watch the Dr. Oz show daily? And the way that particular subject was brought forward, in my POV, was carefully planned and presented in a way to keep everyone’s attention, ON BOTH SIDES, without turning them off the topic. Viewers watched this until the end, and those who accept Fox “News” falsified representation on all things LGBT had NO CHOICE but to question the moral value of said “therapy”, and to start thinking with their human hearts instead of their ideological and theocracy bullcrap-pushed minds.

    It is a FIRST step in the right direction. Bravo to Dr. Oz for knowing his audience, and understanding how to drive the message home. Now on to the next step, Ms. Oprah Winfrey.

  3. ben says

    he didn’t learn anything on this sham he could have learned before airing his show and giving those hucksters a legitimate platform. Shame on him for not doing his homework before hand.

  4. Pete N SFO says

    You can’t deride Dr. Oz; the nation loves him, even if he’s not on your radar.

    He’s handsome, competent, and he ‘goes there’ with all the awkward topics people want to avoid. He is no Dr. Phil; not by a long shot.

    I emphatically agree that the term “Reparative Therapy” should never be used. Call it what it is so that these ‘experts’ are always shone in the correct light.

  5. Jonathan says

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but to me it sounds like the consensus that he agrees with is that RT is crap.

    Perhaps he should have clarified what the “established medical consensus” is, so as to avoid any confusion. But the established medical consensus IS that “reparative therapy” is junk. I mean look at the other things he says in the statement:

    “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.”

    *shrugs* towleroad should contact the show for clarification on the statement, that way we know for sure.

  6. Joe says

    Joe…I agree that is annoying when bloggers don’t proffread, but do we have a right to complain about something we didn’t pay for? This website is free and the author is under no obligation to provide a certain level of quality.

  7. says

    @Dave – I concur; a copy editor is much needed. I volunteer to proof as I am already involved with two other gigs P/T to help build up my blogging resume. Towleroad, get at me! @stephen_victor

  8. disappointed in the doctor says

    A perfectly competent heart surgeon has found out how much more money he could make on tv. All he has to do is let the producers find some topic and come in and read his lines. Oh, and of course wear his scrubs.

    Nice gig if you can get it.

  9. John says

    The show did make it seem like there was an argument for both sides and since I’m not sure how many of his viewer’s do web follow-ups, I’m adding this (and Joel Osteen) to my reasons to loathe Oprah.

  10. Fenrox says

    Boo, wrong reason dude! I hate that people bash gay conversion torture on the grounds of pain. Normally that is a cool thing to do, but conversions have been given too much legitimacy by way of the TV.

    That legitimacy needs to be undermined. We know its crap but to people who think it’s true we need human garbage like Dr. Oz to in no uncertain terms, RIP IT APART.

    Even if they write Dr. Oz off they wont be able to recover the loss of confidence that comes with someone rejecting the theory outright, in public. It undermines the thought.

  11. Jeff says

    Give a platform to utter quackery unchallenged on the air and then object to it on his blog that no one reads anyway- why not just write a note on his bathroom mirror in lipstick?

  12. Caliban says

    The problem is the media’s False Equivalency bullsh*t.

    “EVERY major medical and psychological association and peer-reviewed journal in the US says this is complete bunk, but here to give us a different perspective is Reverend Fullashit from the Toothless Baptist Church and fried chicken emporium.”

  13. Jessica Naomi says

    Bashing the gay away is neither reparative or therapy. Dr. Oz works for New York Presbyterian Hospital and this gay bashing propaganda violated their required code of conduct http://nyp.org/MungoBlobs/439/433/code-of-conduct.pdf

    Dr. Oz works with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & transsexual patients, doctors, staff and students. NY Presbyterian Hospital has a nondiscriminatory employment policy. The hospital requires all staff to “not engage in any activity, practice or act that creates an actual or apparent conflict with the interests of the Hospital.”

    By promoting bash the gay away as credible in any way, Dr. Oz violated his contractual agreement with NY Presbyterian. He also sent a clear message to LGBTI patients, colleagues and students what he thinks about them — that they have chosen their sexual orientation and can change if they try.

    Maybe Andy could call Dr. Oz’s boss and ask him if he thinks Dr.Oz violated the hospital policies Dr. Craig Smith 212-305-8312

  14. sfjerry says

    Could the writes/editors perhaps add a verb to the first sentence?

    “Television doctor Dr. Oz’s show yesterday to explore so-called reparative therapy, the harmful and distorted “therapy” that claims to cure people of same-sex desires.”

  15. Francis says

    OK, so I saw several clips of the show Dr. Oz did. To say I’m not impressed is an understatement. He gave legitimacy to NARTH, and he gave legitimacy to ex-gay therapy. He gave legitimacy to the idea that all gay people are unhappy and damaged. After the first couple of minutes, it was clear that this show was set up with the intent to get ratings and create talking points.

    Dr. Oz said he didn’t know anything about ex-gay therapy before the show. The question then must be raised—–WHY did he raise this question and create this segment on his show if he has no input? The reason is because he wanted to use us for ratings. I am pissed he NOT ONCE challenged the ex-gays and he never discredited them at all. It is really appalling. It is really appalling because a struggling teen will see the so-called ex-gay man up there on stage and believe that they could be him. Less-informed individuals could watch that man and think others can become straight if they are born gay.

    The positive I will say is, the pro-gay side was much more concise, much more factual, stressed acceptance and love unlike the ex-gay promoters, and our voices outnumbered the ex-gay defenders. So I don’t think many people could come from watching that show without siding with us. But still, the constant questioning and debating of homosexuality, and the subtle message being gay is “not normal” and that it’s OK to not accept people as gay is so harmful to us. Boycotting Dr. Oz’s show forever.

  16. shawnthesheep says

    The nation does not love Dr. Oz. Most don’t know who he is, and many that do know him feel the same way I do–that he is a money-grubbing fame whore and a huckster. Any surgeon who promotes faith healing is not someone who should be taken seriously. Oz is only interested in his own celebrity, and he preys upon his audience’s ignorance. You’re right. He’s no Dr. Phil. He’s worse.

  17. Belthazar says

    Can we scream Hypocrisy!!! Where was the outrage when Maggie Gallagher, of NOM, and other anti-gay guests (Member of “Kill the Gays” Preachers church) appeared on Anderson Cooper’s 360 — making completely erroneous homophobic statements?

    Hasn’t he given a platform to a fringe organization(s) promoting dangerous and harmful practices, i.e., killing gay people? Did he do it for “ratings” because what other reason could there have been? Yet, AC gets a “pass” and Dr. OZ does not. Either they both should be condemn or neither.

  18. KIt says

    you know what I would love to see addressed? The environment, and how we ignore it, even though it keeps us alive. Gay or straight, we are all in denial, and no one wants to talk about it.

  19. Tod says

    Ex gay Therapy is priest and psychotherapist who torture LGBT people and destroy their lives and some even kill themselves because of this quack science. California got it right and banned ex gay therapy and now they need to do it everywhere before these quacks kill anymore people. The ex gay people, priest and psychotherapist who have tortured and killed LGBT people need to be arrested and put in prison for crimes against humanity.

  20. Professor Von Pie says

    I have given a great deal of thought to the issue, weighed the pros and cons, evaluated the arguments of both sides, doing my best to be open-minded, and I have concluded that not drinking Drano is a better choice than drinking Drano, and drinking Drano won’t do anyone a bit of good.

  21. Ned Flaherty says

    Reparative therapy is never necessary.
    It is never effective.
    It is usually harmful.
    It sometimes ends in suicide.

    No accredited medical school teaches reparative therapy.
    No mainstream professional organization certifies reparative therapists.
    No reparative therapist is licensed to do such work.
    No government rules regulate this profession.
    No government agency supervises these treatments.
    No reparative therapist carries insurance (because no underwriter will sell it to them).
    No health insurance policy covers this treatment (because there is no illness).
    The weekly cost is high, and often continues for years or decades.
    The outcome is never guaranteed, and the results are often harmful.
    There is no scientific evidence that reparative therapy ever worked for anyone.
    Reparative therapists can be sued for consumer fraud and medical malpractice.

    Reparative therapists turn tail and run the moment you ask them for a written, dated, signed summary of reparative therapy’s success rates, suicides, and lawsuits over the last 10 years.

  22. GregV says

    I noticed that the bald guy stated (at around the 5 minute mark on my PVR) slowly and emphatically: “Dr. Oz, I’ve changed. I once was gay. I’ve been straight for 8 years.”
    Then at around the 0:16 mark, he says, “I knew I wasn’t a gay man. I knew I was straight.” and then at around the 0:37 mark he says, reflecting back to his youth, “People like myself, we never felt that we were gay. Do you understand that…. Internally, I knew that I wasn’t gay.”

    No one pointed out this contradiction, which indicates that he is now and has always been confused about whether he is gay, straight or bi.
    What also was not mentioned was the financial stake he has in convincing people to pay him a lot of money ($599 for a weekend seminar, and obviously more once they convince the client to come back for years to keep trying).

    The most irritating thing Dr. Oz (whom I generally respect) did during the hour was to come back from a commercial break asking whether “reparative therapy” works and then saying: “Now let’s hear from the experts” as he introduced a representative of the discredited NARTH, whose also make money off of the snake oil and whose methods have been denounced by every professional organization of ACTUAL experts.

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