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ABC’s What Would You Do? Tests Viewers’ Reactions To Reparative Therapy

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Friday night’s episode of What Would You Do, ABC’s version of Candid Camera with a side of Ethics 101, posed a question to both diners in a restaurant and viewers at home: If you saw a teenager being unwillingly coerced into reparative therapy, would you step in?The show’s producers hired actors to play a gay teen and a religious counselor promising to help him “pray away the gay,”  and had them act out a scenario in a Stacks Pancake House in Paramus, NJ.  Cameras then captured the various responses from diners.

Watch the entire episode here.

It’s not the first time the show has addressed gay issues. In previous scenarios, a gay couple was asked to leave a restaurant by a bigot waiter, a father verbally attacked his gay son and a queer teens was bullying by other kids.

What Would You Do  has shown everyday (presumably straight) people stepping in when gays and lesbians are being discriminated against, and for that its producers should be commended. And the premise of seeing how people react to such situations is an interesting one.

But we’re troubled by the show asking viewers how they feel about reparative therapy. A poll on the WWYD website asks if  you would “intervene if you saw a gay teen being pressured into reparative therapy meant to change his sexual orientation.”

The possible responses are:

a. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

b. No, I think such counseling is a good idea.

c. No, it’s none of my business.

Thankfully, the vast majority of voters chose “a,” but we don’t appreciate having our health, safety and well-being being decided on on by random uninformed members of the public. It’s bad enough when it happens in the voting booth.

The bottom line is reparative therapy isn’t an ethical issue—it’s a scientific one. And objective scientific data has proven it’s about as legitimate a treatment as ground rhino horn.

Photos: ABC, Truth Wins Out