Thursday 19th October 2017,
Televisual

Should the Media Cover Gay Reparative Therapy?

UPDATE: ABC News has apparently removed the video online after public protest over the story.

The topic of ex-gay camps or “gay reparative therapy” is the intelligent design to the gay movement’s evolution. Supported by suspicious science, poor statistics and the religious right, this “treatment” of homosexuality is foolhardy at best and malicious at worst.

But what’s the media to do when it comes to reporting on the topic? It depends who you ask. Gay rights advocates, like scientists who study evolution, would rather the media completely ignore the fringes: don’t talk about it and it’ll go away. Reporting it only gives it credibility.

Yet there’s another side. Dozens of groups, local and national, provide such services, and many would argue the media’s job is not to report what they deem ethically right, but to cover any phenomenon no matter how illegitimate others deem it. This is the route much of the media has taken when it comes to ex-gays, and over the years we’ve had numerous reports about these camps – often for teenagers – intended to cure men and women (okay, mostly men) of homosexuality.

Some have gone over better with the gay community than others.

This week ABC’s Nightline served up a report on a retreat called “Journey into Manhood,” organized for older men who pay $650 to learn to control their same-sex urges. While the report was balanced overall, the program gave most of the airtime to the men who wanted to change, not to the detractors who say it doesn’t work.

Full report at AfterElton.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

1 Comment

  1. Kathrine Grandt December 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    You have some good ideas going here.