Seventeen magazine has a brief story this month with the title, “Can gays go straight?” No one has ever accused Seventeen of containing serious journalism, although I did expect more from Cara Nissman, the author. Saying she was working on a story that would bring in all perspectives, Cara interviewed me by phone while I was at Disney World hiking around the park in 98 degree weather. We talked twice altogether and I spoke with her editor as well. However, the article turned into a page on Wade Richards coming out story with no other perspectives. So add Seventeen to the list of media outlets that tackled the change issue only to lose the wrestling match. When I spoke to the editor, it was clear to me that she was not comfortable with the idea that some people experience change in aspects of sexuality. Perhaps, given the brevity of the article and singular focus on Richards, she didn’t think her readers could handle nuance.
Yesterday (10/5), the Dr. Phil Show taped a show with three segments relating in some way to youth and sexual orientation. I first learned of the planned taping via colleague Floyd Godfrey. Floyd was called by the producer of the show looking for people who were ex-gay and willing to talk about it. I suggested several people as did Floyd. Eventually, David Kyle Foster was chosen to appear on the show.
Prior to the taping I learned from reading ex-gay watch that the Dr Phil Show collaborated with GLAAD to “fill the audience with GLAAD supporters and allies.” Not wanting to report a rumor, I called the Dr. Phil show and asked Gaylon (an assistant producer) and Tomiko, the audience wrangler referred to below. Gaylon told me that information was confidential and he passed me off to the head producer’s voice mail (who has yet to return the call). Tomiko initially confirmed the arrangement but said there was no article on the Internet saying that it was just a notice. When she understood that I would be doing an article on the matter, she said I would have to talk to the producer.
A GLAAD representative denied any news release about the event or arrangement.
I am aware, however, that people got seats by mentioning the GLAAD solicitation.
Below is the call for assistance from Ex-gay watch:
This Wednesday, 10/5, the Dr. Phil show will be taping an episode tentatively called “Hope to Heal Your Gay Teen?” Obviously the subject matter could be problematic, and GLAAD is currently working with them on how they approach the material.
They have offered to fill the audience with GLAAD supporters and allies. If you are able to attend, that would be great. They are holding “special guest” seats for those who are on the list and say they are calling because of GLAAD (otherwise you’ll find yourself waiting in a space available line of people who they scoop up on Hollywood Blvd.).
Also, please forward this to your friends to get as many LGBT supporters in the audience as possible.
To attend the show, call Dr. Phil’s audience wrangler, Tomiko, at 323.956.3426. You + 4 guests may attend, but you have to provide all names when you call. TELL TOMIKO YOU ARE CALLING BECAUSE OF GLAAD. DEADLINE TO CALL IS 8pm ON TUESDAY.
You must arrive no later than 8:00 am Wednesday. Expect to stay until noon.
Taping is at Paramount Studios:860 North Gower StreetHollywood, CA 90038
Park in the parking structure across the street.
Go through the audience entrance, which is underneath a giant blue whale painting.
You must wear business attire and dress in dark solid colors.
Thank you and we hope to see you all there!
Leadership Council Officer, GLAAD
An eye witness account of the taping that I received indicated that the show was pretty fair to all sides. The audience was not much of a factor according to the account I read. There was a segment involving a lesbian teen who was advised by Dr. Phil to not overemphasize sexuality in her identity. Then a segment with David Kyle Foster and someone from Gaychristian.net was centered around religious differences. Finally, a couple with a gender confused child was taped. The show will air October 19.
So my question is: Why are GLAAD and the Dr Phil Show treating this like a state secret? No one at the show denied the link and there are witnesses to the fact that the show gave preferential treatment to those calling from GLAAD. However, the people I talked with backpedalled mightily when I asked about it. And why would GLAAD want to deny this?
My view is that such arrangements would be ok if all sides were invited to request a given number of seats but to do an undercover deal looks like a setup and an attempt to manipulate the opinion of the home viewer. Now I realize “wrasslin’ aint real” but I was surprised to see audience manipulation at the Dr. Phil show.
Addendum: David Kyle Foster relates that the air date will be October 19th.
Time Magazine has an article on gay teens out this week. It is the cover story and lengthy. Exodus representatives, Chad Thompson and Regina Griggs are quoted. I was interviewed for the article but the author chose to extensively quote Ritch Savin-Williams, Jack Drescher and Gary Remafedi. Inqueery received extensive exposure; I bet Chad is pumped. The article focuses more on gay identity formation and the experience of gay identified teens than on sexual identity counseling. I have only skimmed it at this point but will comment more later.
Rod Learned was the original drummer for the 80s band Berlin. He was also the reunion drummer for the band when they were featured in 2004 on VH1′ s Bands Reunited show. He is also a very good friend of mine, living here in Western PA. His wife Jeniece is Director of Pregnancy Services of Western PA and they do an amazing amount of good for young teens. His work on I Do Exist is here and for good measure, some other good percussion work is here. Check the last post for the winner…
I am in the mood for trivia and there is a payoff. If you are the winner, you can have one of anything I make (music CD, talk CD, DVD, etc.).
Name the drummer for the theme music track from the DVD I Do Exist. Hint: He was also the original drummer for the band who did the song “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun.
Post your answer and email it as well to me. First right answer wins.
Grove City College press release regarding the study of counseling practices and reorientation therapy.
Silo and Roy have split up. After 6 years of same sex relationship bliss, Silo has become ex-gay. Reached for comment earlier today, Silo insistes he was not pressured into his new identity. He denies rumors that he has been hired by Focus on the Family to begin a zoo ministry among gay penguins. No word on custody arrangements for their adopted daughter Tango. Silo’s ex, Roy, has refused all requests for interviews. Reportedly, he is considering a request from Vanity Fair for an exclusive story. Stay tuned…
Here is a pre-publication copy of a study to be published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Winter, 2005.
I had originally planned to do a follow up on this study but I cannot locate all of the participants. Instead, I am collecting data regarding those who once sought change and will follow them for 5-10 years. This will include those who consider themselves ex-ex-gay as well as ex-gay.