An antigay outfit called Life Productions aired a Canadian TV ex-gay ad featuring a man with no name, no history, no evidence of a sexual orientation, and no explanation of how he “changed.”
In the ad, the mystery man claims that his (somewhat dubious) existence is proof that people can “change,” but he offers viewers no guidance on how or where to change. Instead, he implies that the recognition of gay persons’ equality under the law somehow threatens the public’s ability to learn about no-name people like him.
Since no guidance is offered in the ad, nor on Life Productions’ web site, the ad appears to be a ploy by Life Productions to collect personal information from troubled individuals without guarantees of privacy nor promises that the information won’t be shared with antigay political organizations. Worse, presumably troubled individuals are told by the web site’s contact form that “due to high volumes of mail we regret we cannot answer everyone.”
After an initial airing on CTV, Canada’s largest private broadcaster, a Facebook campaign last week persuaded the network to revisit the ad. Its issue advocacy and implicit approval of discrimination were found to violate the network’s ethical standards, and CTV withdrew the ad.
Critics of the ex-gay political movement sometimes observe that successful ex-gays rarely seem to exist as real people with real names — except when they are paid political hacks of the religious right. Critics also observe that the movement commits more resources to politics than to helping people with specific paths to “change.”
This ad unwittingly fuels critics’ arguments.
Hat tip: XGW