Dr. Oz Discusses The “Merits” Of Reparative Therapy

Even though he’s one of Oprah‘s Annointed, Dr. Oz always rubbed us the wrong way. Maybe it’s his fresh-from-the-OR look. Or how he panders to hypochondriacs while millions of Americans lack health insurance. Or maybe it’s how he never uses his first name, Mehmet. (What, too ethnic?)

But now we have a real reason to hate on him: On a recent episode, the good doctor had guests “debate” the merits of reparative therapy.

Really—on a medical show?

It’s not like this is even controversial. EVERY SINGLE reputable medical organization has discredited conversion therapy as, at best, worthless, and at worse, life-threatening. That includes the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Social Workers.

Right now as you read this, the Southern Poverty Law Center is working on a fraud case against a reparative group in New Jersey.

But controversy is good for ratings! So Oz welcomed Julie Hamilton from the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) onto his show as an expert (gag). During the episode, conversion-therapy advocates explained how well it worked and debated guests who said otherwise.

Oz kept mum the whole time, letting the audience believe this was an issue modern medicine is currently grappling with. A joint statement from PFLAG, GLAAD and the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network  chastised Oz for “provid[ing] a lengthy platform for junk science.”

Dr. Oz chose to ignore what the actual experts say, and wrongfully presented this topic to his audience as an ongoing debate, rather than as the settled matter that it is within his own medical community.

As someone who is trusted to deliver sound medical advice by his own patients and an audience of millions, his failure to do so on this topic is troubling. We ask that Dr. Oz stand with his colleagues and peers who oppose ‘reparative therapy.’

Representatives of the groups say they spoke with producers before the episode aired, but were never told agents of NARTH would be put on the air.

On his blog, Oz defended the episode:

I felt that we needed to include all parties who have considered reparative therapy to hear the stories of people who have tried these treatments. Although some viewers may disagree with this tactic, if we want to reach everyone who might benefit from understanding the risks of this therapy, you have to present multiple perspectives…

After listening to both sides of the issue and after reviewing the available medical data, I agree with the established medical consensus. I have not found enough published data supporting positive results with gay reparative therapy and I have concerns about the potentially dangerous effects when the therapy fails, especially when minors are forced into treatments.

So you think this is potentially harmful, but you shared it with your audience anyway—without any kind of disclaimer?

There are people who think drilling a hole in your head will relieve stress and anxiety. Would you have them on, too?

To hear the voices of reason, check out clips from GLAAD, GLSEN and PFLAG that were posted on the Dr. Oz website 



Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #conversiontherapy #dr.oz #glaad(gayandlesbianallianceagainstdefamation) stories and more


  • niles

    So to Dr. Oz a “positive result” would be to “repair” the patient of his homosexuality? Aside from the fact that his attitude is insulting and dangerous to every gay person in America, he’s lying out of his ass. Why did he not tell his audience of his findings, instead of giving a national platform to a hate group and allowing them to masquerade as “experts”?

  • gppm1103

    What do you want to bet there is a personal religious part of him that he put this on his show?

    Stick with a real doctor.

  • Charli Girl

    ba bye Ozzie!!! You just ended your career..

  • Dawster

    i remember years ago when oprah was discussing why she changed the format of her show, the incident she recalled was having a KKK member onstage and after a rant someone from the audience yelled, “You tell, ‘er!”

    Please correct me if you are an Oprahite but she said something similar to the idea of ‘allowing people like that on her show, gave them a voice.’

    So although Dr. Oz with his continual delivery of supplements we all MUST have and promotes the youth and anti-aging miracles of Skeletor, has been pretty non-toxic when pandering to his very specific audience: middle aged women worried about the health and well being of themselves and every single person they have ever met.

    and i worry that giving someone like NARTH a voice to middle aged women worried about the health and well being of themselves and every single person they have ever met.

  • MikeE

    This Dr. Oz supposedly really is chief of cardiac medicine at some New York hospital.

    How he has time to be a surgeon AND have this syndicated daily TV show, I have no idea… my own doctor is so busy with his practice he barely has time for his personal life, much less a television series.

    Now, since he IS a “prestigious” member of a professional order, well, shouldn’t his hospital be disciplining him for this display of borderline medical malpractice?

  • MikeE

    By the way, Dr. Oz is a muslim how also dabbles in new age mysticism, he believes in all sorts of “alternative medicine” treatments, he believes in “prayer” as a healing tool. He HAS been castigated by some medical organizations for promoting extremely dubious treatment options. He promotes the use of homeopathy as adjunct treatment for various ills.

    In other words this guy should NOT be a doctor.

  • Charles175

    A medical doctor is not required to have a degree in psychiatry. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, has to be a certified medical doctor. Dr. Phil (Oprah’s other gem) is neither a medical doctor nor psychiatrist, he is a psychologist. I do kinda understand Oz bringing this debate to his show to boost ratings but the subject matter is definitively outside of his field, hence him being “mum” during the debate. Since this subject is highly sensitive, highly volatile, I believe that this topic should have been done in a different way.

  • jwrappaport

    Dr. Oz is a brilliant, highly skilled prostitute as far as I’m concerned. A cardiothoracic surgeon with an MD from Penn should know better than to give a voice to these people, but then again he should also know better than to tout treatments that lack any objectively demonstrated medical value (e.g., Reiki, homeopathy).

  • mlbumiller

    I just wonder how many kids are now going to be subjected by their “heliocopter” suburban mother into this damaging therapy. He has by just having that woman to voice her unproven views, a legitimacy. Thank god here in CA, minors cannot be forced into this any longer.

  • jwrappaport

    @MikeE: I generally agree. I’m really fed up with the whole “teach the controversy” nonsense in contexts in which there is no legitimate controversy. It’s like presenting a talk-show segment on intelligent design, flat earth science, or the power of ritualistic animal sacrifice as though they have one iota of credibility with experts. That said, two quibbles…

    First, medical malpractice means something very specific and doesn’t really apply to Dr. Oz here. I don’t like this guy any more than you do, but to level a successful malpractice claim, there has to be harm to a patient of his that he directly caused by him performing below a certain standard of care. Not so here.

    Second, his statements, idiotic as they are, don’t really bear on his surgical skills. Let’s let Columbia’s chief of the cardio division be the judge of that. (Dr. Oz isn’t the chief of the division. He’s too busy pimping – I mean, primping himself for Oprah’s show.)

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Oz is a wanker. Draw a dork titer STAT.

  • Shanestud

    I remember the early days of DR. PHIL when this good ole boy Texas psychologist used to avoid or skirt any discussion about gays and coming out issues. Some of it was his Baptist Texas upbringing and the other was not to offend bible belt viewers and sensitive sponsors. Because homosexuality in the USA is a big moral/religious issue for those defending their right to biblical free speech it’s still a hot potato with some TV stations involved in Dr. Oz’s syndication network so you have to hear from the reparative therapists despite the fact that they have no support in the medical community. Unfortunately, we’re still a political, moral and hot button religious issue for many Americans.

  • FunMe

    “Doctor” Oz should have a follow-up show explaining the errors of his way. Otherwise, people will think that those wacky organizations have any legitimacy, which they don’t. His audience needs to be educated that there is NO debate on those crazy people thinking one can change one’s orientation. If one could, then why not have a straight person “change” into gay. Because it’s not possible one way or the other.

    Meanwhile, is that “doctor” from the Wizard of Oz?

  • FunMe

    PS: Let’s not forget, NARTH is the organization that had an “expert” in Florida who pretended to be straight but was actually hiring GAY PROSTITUTES in his vacation.

    All of these so-called reparative organizations are CRAZY and BIZARRO!

  • Shannon1981

    I went to a camp run by people connected to NARTH. This is beyond dangerous, and this man should have his medical license taken away immediately. “Doctor” indeed.

  • SOCALBOY122162

    Queen Oprah better divorce herself from this miscreant or suffer the wrath of our mighty collective power as a community!

  • SOCALBOY122162

    @MikeE: I dare say I think his failure to understand us is becuase he is a Muslim.

  • MK Ultra

    Unfortunately,when these professionals get a tv show, it becomes more about ratings and selling your sponsers products than seriouss discussion. To me, this is like having the leader of a cult on to explain what kind of kool-aid they use. Then it ends with Oz saying ” I
    haven’t found enough proof that praying to Xenu works”

  • Charli Girl

    i remember that show tooo!!! u r absloutely her as i do, she and tyler perry also give that pastor from hotlanta a voice against us also.. but im sure if it were presented to her in this manner sh’d probably “get it”
    She really doesnt tolerate injustice!!!

  • jmmartin

    I suspect “hate” is too hyperbolic and I hope you, like me, are trying to rid that emotion from our psyches and online postings. There are far more disgusting people involved in this controversy and you can start with Marcus Bachmann and Tony Perkins. Now THOSE are people to hate, and hate righteously. Give Mehmet the benefit of the doubt; after all, he was only trying to be fair and balanced. (Heh, heh.) I wonder if Dr. Oz is aware of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s new lawsuit against some purveyors of Pray Away the Faygala. It seems that some Jewish reparative “therapists” were employing their far-more-disastrous brand of behavior therapy to convince good little Jewish guys they weren’t “born that way.” The gist of the SPLC suit is that R.T. runs counter to abundant evidence, including the science of neuro-biology, that one is indeed “born that way”: even thought the “gay gene” has not been found, such phenomena as gestational hormones play a part in some cases. The SPLC contends that the “therapists” violated deceptive trade practices legislation, allowing the victims to present evidence they were sold a bill of goods by confidence schemers. Maybe if you pull those curtains back, Mehmet will be exposed as the Great and Powerful Oz. It’s clear, the media thinks he is.

  • Jack E. Jett

    i can’t stand him, but my partner always has him in the afternoon.

    he seems to always be talking about shit…as in scat…as in he can’t get enough of it.

  • jwrappaport

    @jmmartin: Agreed. Some of these comments really floor me. Strip him of his medical license? Sue him for malpractice? Absolute babble. Oz is a media prostitute and has frankly odious views on alternative medicine and apparently likes to “teach the controversy” of RT, but there has never once been a suggestion that his ability to put a catheter in my aorta or replace my mitral valve is anything less than expert.

    It does the gay rights movement discredit when we crucify everyone who missteps. I’m no fan of Oz’s and no, he shouldn’t have presented RT as having any presumption of validity (quite the contrary), but it’s not as though he’s behind the practice let alone supports it. What more do you want? Oz said: RT lacks any serious medical justification and in fact can be quite harmful. I can think of few more damning criticisms a treatment option can receive from a physician.

  • Dinodogstar

    I saw the show in it’s entirety as it aired, and yes, it was annoying and inappropriately off-balance in it’s representing of completely facts and truths. I felt the damage done by such “therapy” was not well-address or represented, certainly not enough exposeure of the BS sceince and mental and physical health harm done by such therapy. On a positive note, the woman from GLSEN did great, representing us well, and steering the coversation properly and logically, and interjecting and commenting as best as could be done.
    It just seemed as much like a publicity stunt as a real examination of the issue, and that issue is front-and-center to many far-righters..It felt very “hey, let’s stir some cotroversy up( and boost the ratings and use a controversial topic to do so).” The “poisoned apple(juice)” ratings scheme has worn off.
    But I get sick of the show anyway; it’s always a got a subtle promo for a new ‘must buy’ prduct, new diet pill or scheme or secret or trick, like a “secret South Chinese weight cotrol tactic” or the well-kept private secret of how French women stay thinner”, always some bs new item or supplement, and it’s usually floating on some very questionable sceince and evaluation. Those supplements aren’t regualted as well as real medicine, so there is a lot of room to BS people. I always wonder if Dr. Oz gets residuals and payback for featuring the newest ‘must-have,bu-it-now” item…and central to the show, it’s always this message: “ladies, your too fat, and you need to keep up your appearance-so buy this product and this supplement and eat this plant and buy this item to save yourself from the shame and doom of possibly becoming over-weight and aging”…sorry I went off topic…it’s also annoying that it preceds “Ellen” here in the Saint Louis MO tv scheduling. But that I have the choice of watching Ellen, and not “the Maury show” which only reminds me each viewing how annoying and unbearable and stupid and inconsiderate of others and children, and thank God it’s always straight couples embarrassing the hetero side, how we’re all imperfect, straight (and yes, lbt/gay as well). TV and Science mixes about as well (as the new secret-must buy )oil and water.

  • balehead

    He lured you in with his gentle wisdom about health….to ambush you with his deep seated hate of gays…sad little man….

  • Jimcracky

    So what next Dr Oz. Are you going to host a show on “psychic surgery” for cancer. Because after all, everyone should make an informed decision about treatments.

  • Ned_Flaherty

    Reparative therapy is never necessary.
    It is never effective.
    It is usually harmful.
    It sometimes ends in suicide.

    No accredited medical school teaches reparative therapy.
    No mainstream professional organization certifies reparative therapists.
    No reparative therapist is licensed to do such work.
    No government rules regulate this profession.
    No government agency supervises these treatments.
    No reparative therapist carries insurance (because no underwriter will sell it to them).
    No health insurance policy covers this treatment (because there is no illness).
    The weekly cost is high, and often continues for years or decades.
    The outcome is never guaranteed, and the results are often harmful.
    There is no scientific evidence that reparative therapy ever worked for anyone.
    Reparative therapists can be sued for consumer fraud and medical malpractice.

    Reparative therapists turn tail and run the moment you ask them for a written, dated, signed summary of reparative therapy’s success rates, suicides, and lawsuits over the last 10 years.

  • Shannon1981

    Another homophobe to get rid of. Get his show off the air and take his medical license. He is going against what every credible medical organization in the WORLD says.

  • Red_Dragon_888

    The King has new clothes. It seems Oz has an agenda and I’m surprise Ophrah is not weighting in on this.

  • GayBacon

    I vote Dr. Oz douche of the week.

  • jim Messenger

    He always struck me as creepy. The way he stares into the camera when the show goes to break….such a big ego… He has no soul.

  • Jack T

    Any body wonder why this JUNK ‘science’ is OUTLAWED in California? Minors cannot be force to undergo damaging “treatment” because parents cannot deal with their child’s sexual identity. Parents should not PUNISH the child with this hocus pocus. Where is the science here? Pray your way to being un-gay would truly be rolling on the floor laughing joke if it didn’t damage so many young people. You cant pray gay away. Seems to be a way to bring a bigger audience and collection basket to many poor Christian churches. Seems to be exclusively a Christian thing. By the way, how does an atheist, or agnostic or Buddhist, etc make this work?

    Dr Oz should stop misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by giving them credence on basically a medical show. There is no reputable medical evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.
    More Snake Oil salesmen in the guise of Medicine

  • FranklyMrShankly

    Perhaps his show directors are seeking to pander to their typical viewers, who strike me as the same lower middle class suburbanites who read Newsweek.

    But Dr. Oz does strike me as a bit of a quack.

    On one show, he recommended “Breathe Right Nasal Strips” as an alternative for treating snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring and sleep apnea are serious health issues which can lead to stroke, heart problems, impotence, etc. Breathe Right Nasal Strips might lift the nostrils somewhat. But the strips don’t open constricted airways of the throat and neck, and such blockages are the source of most snoring and apneas.

    If I remember correctly, in the same show he told guests “to just lose weight!” to improve and/or treat their sleep apnea. But how on earth is it safe to lose weight (or lift weights) if you’re not getting real sleep to begin with?

    And in case you didn’t know, THE ONLY proven treatment of 95+% of sleep apnea cases is the CPAP and BIPAP. Pandering to the ignorant and uninformed with $70 pillows and disposable do-nothing nasal strips might be barely-legal in our product markets. But a doctor should have their license pulled for advocating such advice.

  • Calder

    I’m somewhat confused by the strong negative reaction to Dr. Oz’s show about the LGBT community’s issues with reparative therapy. I understand that it would be preferable to take a stand and not legitimize reparative therapy at all, but by opening up a dialogue it allowed the LGBT community to address some of the illegitimate claims made by reparative therapy and hopefully someone outside of the community would be more likely to hear it. It was evident, at least to me, that Dr. Oz was clearly on the side of our issues as he had only one reparative therapist on stage and one advocate for it in the audience and he had representatives of GLAAD, GLESN, and other LGBT organizations and several gay and lesbian people on the stage and an anti-reparative psychologist and they had the majority of air time and clearly made the same statements on the show as they do in the videos on Dr. Oz’s website. They made it clear to the audience that reparative therapy tries to change the essential being of a person and that a person’s negative view of themselves (shaped by a society that censures homosexuality), needs to be corrected, not the fact that they’re gay. The psychologist also said that reparative therapy was not accepted by any professional mental health organizations and had an agenda that was antithetical to the concept of any mental health guidelines. I have of course heard of Dr. Oz, but I don’t know his reputation and I haven’t watched other shows of his, but I did see him in an interview with Rosie O’Donnell and he seemed like a fairly open and honourable individual, so I’m not sure what he did to get the censure of our community, but I felt the show left a positive impression towards LGBT issues and it was a good show to have been aired. How many people would have seen it if it had just been a positive show about LGBT people? It would have been popular with the community, but this way, most likely some reparative therapy advocates also got to see it and maybe something will sink in, especially if some kid, whose parents are telling her/him to get this kind of therapy, sees the show and hopefully they will now have some ammunition against this kind of so-called therapy.

  • Dawster

    @Calder: those of us that have been through it would strongly disagree.

    the IDEA is that people, as a whole… should not have to change who they are as a person just because a group says they must. we went through this so early in the gay community… flamers on one side, professionals on the other, drag queens against bears… everyone against lesbians all self condemning the gay concept as a whole by bashing other groups of the same community.

    it doesnt matter who you are as A PERSON. and it doesnt matter what part of what subculture you choose to identify yourself with, you’re a human being and being gay, straight, gender confused, lesbian, whore, prude, chess player, gamer, jock, etc. who you are in your core is not able to be changed… and trust me, if talking about it legitimizes its existence to just one parent, then that means one of our brothers or sisters are going to be guilted the closest they have been to suicide in their life – for something that cannot change.

Comments are closed.