There's a new controversial show on the block, and it's a doozy. My Husband's Not Gay, TLC's new show following mormon couples in which the husband is attracted to men, has been receiving what I'll call a predictable but likely deserved backlash. There are forces asking for the show's cancellation, with GLAAD calling My Husband's Not Gay "downright irresponsible."
Let's get something straight: I am all for calling TLC out on its crap. Who knows, maybe the show will surprise everyone by helping these men realize that it's not wrong to love who they love and be attracted to who they're attracted to. But I doubt it, and from TLC's past programming I'm going to go ahead and assume for now that GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis isn't far off with this statement:
This show is downright irresponsible. No one can change who they love, and, more importantly, no one should have to. By investing in this dangerous programming, TLC is putting countless young LGBT people in harm’s way.
But whether or not My Husband's Not Gay should be a show on the air, I have no doubt that TLC is going to keep it there. For the network's roster of shows, there is no such thing as bad publicity; some networks are built off hate-watching and guilty pleasures, and TLC is most definitely one of them. This is, after all, the network that's made the Duggars rich enough to donate to horrifically transphobic campaigns. Their business model does not depend on people being morally onboard; all it depends on is people being curious enough to tune in.
But let it not be forgotten what this show is about. Just watching the trailer is deeply uncomfortable; these men are trying their absolute hardest to not feel what they so clearly feel. They're closer than a lot of people in similar situations to embracing themselves; they've made the step of admitting, very publicly, that they're attracted to people of the same sex. They're so close and yet so tragically far from accepting themselves — even the very act of going on this show and putting themselves out there for the world to see seems like an act of bravery on the part of these men, but it appears that they're being exploited, not celebrated.
I hope that if anything comes out of this show it's at least a few of these people moving into a more accepting space and allowing themselves to be their truest selves. No one deserves any less.