Montel Williams revisits sexual reorientation

By now, it is no secret. The Montel Williams Show on Thursday, March 15, will devote the whole hour to a show they’ve titled: HOMOSEXUALITY…CAN IT BE CURED? Click the link to read the description of the show. Guests include: Mike Jones, Lance Carroll, Alan Chambers, Richard Cohen, Peterson Toscano, and Dr. Alicia Salzer (the producer of the documentary Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-gay Movement). Here is something interesting; Alicia Salzer is the director of Montel’s After-care program. I wonder if she would ever refer someone to a sexual identity therapist?

This episode is generating buzz. I have seen pre-show notices from sources as diverse as Evergreen International, JONAH and Division 44 of the American Psychological Association. Steve Schalchlin has a blog entry describing Mike Jones’ view of his appearance. In contrast to Mike Jones’ view, Elaine Berk of Jonah, who was in the studio audience, said the show was not fair to Alan and those who were there to defend Exodus.

Elaine gave me permission to quote the following:

The taping of the Montel Williams show was last Wednesday. It was quite an upsetting experience, to say the least. I wish each one of you was there – it was high drama.

Montel made fun of reparative therapy the whole time even though the show was supposed to discuss reparative therapy – the show was a set up. FYI, Exodus doesn’t do reparative therapy and that’s what the show was about, so it was ridiculous from the get-go. Montel was out to demean “our side of the story” and did so at every opportunity.

One of the Exodus couples was bumped when they politely protested to Montel that he wasn’t allowing the ex-gays the appropriate amount of time to speak. I give them credit. Montel was floored that this couple had the nerve to dictate to him what they would accept from him. There was a 15 minute delay with producers and production people running out onto the stage as they decided what to do now that this couple was bumped in the middle of the taping.

Alan Chambers of Exodus, the only ex-gay up on the stage with several pro-gay activists, was not feeling well and didn’t respond forcefully to the abuse given out by Montel. I don’t know what happened but Montel pummeled him with words & questions. It was so sad and aggravating to see.

Then, a hero emerged!

All of a sudden Arthur Goldberg was yelling at Montel from the auidence. Arthur yelled something like, “You’re not being fair. You understand what he (Alan Chambers) means, it’s implied in what you read.” Montel was so shocked when Arthur yelled that he was being unfair and misinterpreting what Alan Chambers was saying that Montel didn’t say much back – Montel tried to come back at Arthur but then Arthur yelled again, “This is a civil rights issue and you just don’t understand.”

. . . and then the taping was over.

At that point…no one said anything and everyone was hustled off stage.

14 thoughts on “Montel Williams revisits sexual reorientation”

  1. The christian church has indeed not stepped up to the plate and demonstrated love toward all. I remember being there the first day same-sex couples were allowed marriage in Massachusetts only to read signs from a busload of christians saying such phrases as “G.A.Y. – god abhores you.”

    Even outside of such events, I do not see christian leading the way to loving those with same-sex attractions – lobbying for their basic rights in employment, housing, supporting hate-crimes legislation, or welcoming them into their churches. Remember the “controversial” tv commercial by UCC that says that “all are welcome here.”

    why so controversial to welcome everyone?

    As long as christians are represented in the media by everyone from the most prominent Christian organizations – Dobson (distorting research), Haggard (who represents many ministers/politicians against gays/lesbians until they are discovered themselves), etc…to your local church who is unwelcoming…

    Who wants to follow THAT example?

    The church needs to return to its roots, and to its philosophy. Love is not name-calling….and the church has behaved shamefully.

  2. Anon,

    I thought we were discussing why anti-gay conservatives are often considered hateful. I’m not at all certain how your response relates.

    Nonetheless, I do want to address it because I think it’s important.

    I, for one, do not claim that a person “cannot change”. Nor would I suggest that this be the response of a counselor. However, I do believe that the counselor has an obligation to tell the truth.

    And the truth is that if sexual orientation can be changed (and by that I mean that a person can become attracted to the opposite sex and lose all attraction to the same sex), then this occurance is very rare. Very very rare and a very long process.

    If the patient wants to continue with efforts to find tools to live a life that is consistent with their values and to hope for such a change – or enough of a change in their attractions, I’ve no problem. They’ve been informed and know that the expected outcome may not be what they ultimately would wish for.

    I would not, however, want a counselor to validate someone’s wishes if those wishes flew in the face of what little is known about the subject. Even if honesty did not encourage the effort, a lack of honesty would in the long run destroy the effort and the credibility of the counselor.

    Don’t you agree?

  3. Daniel complains that the progay media have painted those who “respectfully disagree with the same-sex hegemony” as , “not just wrong or mistaken… you’re bad, and motivated by hatred.”

    That’s not the fault of pro-gay activists. It’s the fault of the Christian church, particulalrly the extreme right-wing, hypocritical and morally “superior” branch of Christianity. If the world thinks that Christians hate gays, that is due entirely to the failure of the Christian church to present a more loving response.

    Scripture says, “You will know that they are Christians by their love” — and when it comes to the gay issue, real love has been in very short supply. Gays have every right to doubt the “love” of many so-called Christians. Quit blaming activists or the media for the dismal failure of Christ’s church.

  4. anon2 –

    Totally agree with your point that the media is attempting to pit one side against the other with neither having adequate representation…all to a largely ignorant viewership.

  5. “Militant gay activism has been extraordinarily effective in indoctrinating the minds of the average television viewer–not by way of reasoning, but by actively portraying gay sexuality in a light that is not typical of what is actually the case.”

    wow, no bias there, eh Daniel?

    “militant” “indoctrinating”….who has been braishwashed?

    What has been occurring is what occurs with every civil rights movement – education. As more people learn about what being gay/lesbian means, less people are willing to actively discriminate against their brothers and sisters. It is still sadly true that in most areas of the united states, you can lose your housing and even your job JUST for being gay…how ridiculous. Even if you believe being gay is a “sin,” we don’t fire individuals or evict them for sinning – we are all sinners, aren’t we?

    I don’t believe that being gay/lesbian is a sin anyway.

    The problem is, it seems you have been “indoctrinated” about what it means to be gay. Gay sexuality is as varied as straight sexuality. Almost every act you can think of in gay relationships (male or female) happens in straight ones too…and not everyone engages in the same acts.

    At my place of employment, I have a gay colleague to my left (who’s been with his partner for 22 years) and a lesbian colleague across the hall (partnered for 16 years). Is this the “gay sexuality” you are so afraid of? It certainly seems to be the one underrepresented in the media.

    But let’s not judge all people by just a few. We don’t say all heterosexual men are Fraternity Boys, and not all gay men are club guys. Let’s stop with the stereotypes…it just looks…well, uninformed.

  6. Timothy,

    I can understand what you are sayiing, but now reverse that and consider the difficulty that is created for someone who feels they need to turn away from homosexual behavior in order to save themselves from certain destruction, but they are constantly being told by someone others that there is nothing you can do to change. You have to admit that this creates a massive confusion that can have negative reprocussions. Is this not pushing your believe upon someone else.

    Now take this one step higher. You decide to go for some professional councelling and the first person you run into is more than happy to share his doubts about the possibilities of change. This definitely influences your own self doubt. I ask you who is it that has the agenda in such circumstances? Oh, and don’t tell me the professional councellor is using scientific knowledge to come to this conclusion, because the science is not solid enough to come up with such a conclusion.

    Perhaps you are right that such a councellor feels they are doing what is best for their client, but how is this respecting the wishes or values of his client.

  7. If you respectfully disagree with the same-sex hegemony, you’re not just wrong or mistaken… you’re bad, and motivated by hatred. This too is very atypical of the thoughtful conservative, but once again, repeat it long enough, and in some cases it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Anon2, ponder with me for a moment if you will.

    Suppose there was someone who decided that they did not like, say, your religion. And suppose also that your religion, whatever it is, was in the minority.

    Then suppose they tried to use their disapproval of your faith as a reason to deny you housing or a job, as justification for denying you access to your children, as a reason to call for denying you health insurance, as an election issue to deny marriage to those of your religion, and they set about telling everyone how evil your religion is and that you are a horrible influence and do a whole litany of terrible things and they sought to jail you for your religion.

    Even if their purpose was benign – or even noble – that is not how it would feel to you. They may be trying to save your soul, but you would think them hateful, spiteful, mean, and oppresive. And I certainly wouldn’t fault you for doing so.

    Now though I placed this in the theoretical, the above scenario has been true in many times and places. Catholic in protestant countries, Protestants in Catholic countries, Jews in both, and everyone else in Moslem countries.

    And it is also true that these things are what the most vocal of evangelicals and Conservatives seek to do to gay people. “Christians should not be forced to hire, rent to, accept…we need to protect the family from…the radical militant homosexuals are…etc.” I’m sure you’ve heard it too.

    Perhaps when you make these political forrays into people’s lives, you don’t do so out of hatred. Perhaps you do so out of care for the soul. But sometimes it can feel pretty hateful either way to the person experiencing it.

  8. Civil rights issue for what? Goldberg and JONAH speak in the same terms as EXODUS which muddles those ideas concerning change. They even reference the International Healing Foundation ( which conducts classes in becoming a “Certified Sexual Reorientation Coach.” Who helps you with this change, a coach or a licensed therapist?

  9. Militant gay activism has been extraordinarily effective in indoctrinating the minds of the average television viewer–not by way of reasoning, but by actively portraying gay sexuality in a light that is not typical of what is actually the case.

    Just curious. Just what do you think is “typical”? And where do you get your information?

  10. Daniel,

    I have to agree with you exactly. JAG I would have to challenge you on who it is that is living a self-fullfilling prophecy. If you really honestly take a look at what is going on in the popular media today you should be able to see that it is all a sham to draw on peoples ignorance of this issue. It is all about pitting one side against the other to get a rise out of the general public. I suggest that neither side has it right and that the only true way of dealing with this is to do what we have been doing on this blog for some time now. An open and honest discussion will reveal more truth than anything that I expect to see on day time TV. This media is extremely biased and therefore has no credibility at this time. That is not to say that it cannot gain credibility, but the public will have to demand that before they will change.

  11. I actually have begun to suspect there’s much more at work than just playing up the controversy to improve ratings. Popular media may imagine itself to be in a unique position to simply pick the “winning side” to represent in this debate and cashing in on the benefit of marking themselves as cultural “frontrunners” of this change. Unfortunately, such maneuvers just illustrate the point that self-fulfilling prophecies can and does still happen in our time.

    Militant gay activism has been extraordinarily effective in indoctrinating the minds of the average television viewer–not by way of reasoning, but by actively portraying gay sexuality in a light that is not typical of what is actually the case.

    Meanwhile, these same forces are hard at work to eliminate any position of dissent as a respectable one to hold. If you respectfully disagree with the same-sex hegemony, you’re not just wrong or mistaken… you’re bad, and motivated by hatred. This too is very atypical of the thoughtful conservative, but once again, repeat it long enough, and in some cases it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  12. Please folks, if you are looking for a good debate, why are you expecting it from Montel? HE’s the man you are seeking scientific banter from? Misdirection all around.

    Exodus and other groups like it are misleading and silly – ungrounded and a disgrace. If they were shown to be the pseudoscientific circus they are, I have no issue with that…as groups like NARTH are fast learning how pharisees really don’t garner respect, and how presenting false information only harms others in their cause, we’ll see them fall one by one.

  13. Why does this not surprise me. I have watched this kind of biased presentation on this topic for years now and every time I only get more frustrated. I would agree that this is definitely a civil rights issue and that is probably the only way that it will end, unfortunately. I guess I should not really expect anything different as it is all about ratings and competition. It really has nothing to do with honest presentation of information.

  14. I don’t know why any ex-gay or ex-exgay representative would agree to go on a daytime talk show — other than to counter what the other side is saying and for the publicity. TV talk shows are first and foremost about entertainment — not unbias reporting or equal time debates.

    It’s interesting that Goldberg would try to use the civil rights argument. Is he trying to argue that ex-gays are somehow prevented civil rights to free speech or hetero-marriage?

    It should be an interesting show. I’m just hoping someone throws a chair at Montel 🙂

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