American TV personality Dr Phil has been accused of giving a platform to controversial ex-gay therapists.
The pop psychologist, who does not have a medical degree, first shot to fame as a regular guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and his own series of shows and self-help books have proved popular.
In January Glenn Stanton from anti-gay pressure group Focus on The Family appeared as an “expert” on a show entitled “Gender Confused Kids.”
Activists Queers United have accused him of being “on a crusade to pathologise gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people with shows about “gender confused children” “experimental bisexuality” and by giving a platform to so called experts on “ex-gay therapy” from Focus on the Family.”
The group, who run a blog, have accused Dr Phil and his producers of planning upcoming shows that further denigrate LGBT people.
“One show called “Teen Experimenting With Bisexuality?” has this description:
“Did your teenager recently tell you he/she is bisexual? Maybe you caught them engaging in same sex activity? Are you torn with how to react?
“Do you feel that what your teenager is doing is just a phase?
“Or maybe you feel like girls kissing girls is the new teenage fad? Do you feel strongly opinionated on the subject?”
“This insinuates that bisexuality is not a psychologically sound or stable orientation.
“We would applaud a show on bisexuality, but not one that gives credence to the myths surrounding it.
“Another show that is alarming is called “Struggling With Sexual Identity?”
“Are you a woman struggling with sexual identity? Maybe it’s causing problems with an addiction? Or maybe you feel you might be in denial about your sexuality?
“Did you think you knew who you were but then something or someone opened your eyes to a new you?”
The activist group have started a petition on Twitter, which has already been signed by more than 4,500 people.
In January 2008, Dr Phil was heavily criticised for visiting troubled celebrity Britney Spears uninvited, while she was in hospital, apparently in an attempt to get her and her family to appear on his show as part of an “intervention.”