Gateway Pundit falsely suggests Jennings' organization handed out explicit safe-sex booklet to children

The Gateway Pundit blog falsely suggested that the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, a group founded and formerly headed by Department of Education official Kevin Jennings, had distributed to children an explicit safe-sex booklet. In fact, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly “left about 10 copies” of the booklet on an informational table it rented at a 2005 GLSEN conference at Brookline High School in Massachusetts; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the Brookline school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken the book.

Gateway Pundit: “children who attended” GLSEN conference “left with their own” booklet

In a December 9 Gateway Pundit post -- subsequently reposted on Andrew Breitbart's -- Jim Hoft wrote:

But that's not all. The children who attended Kevin Jennnings' GLSEN Conference also left with their own “Little Black Book -- Queer in the 21st Century”.

This book exposes the young teens to--
Rimming -- Fisting -- Water Sports (Pi$$ Play) -- Toys
It's what every teen needs to know...


The page titled “How safe is dat?” introduces young teens to fisting, rimming, and watersports (pi$$ing on your partner). Shouldn't every teen know this?

And in case any of the teens got bored, GLSEN was also kind enough to include a list of the local gay bars in the booklet distributed to high school students.

Fenway Health -- not GLSEN -- mistakenly brought 10 copies of booklet banned under GLSEN policy to the conference

Fenway Community Health apologized for “accidentally making available a small number of copies” of booklet at GLSEN conference. In a May 19, 2005, article, The Boston Globe reported:

Fenway Community Health officials yesterday said they left about 10 copies of the ''Little Black Book" on an informational table they rented at a conference sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network of Boston. The annual event, held on April 30 at Brookline High School, was aimed at high school students, educators, counselors, administrators, and parents.

The ''Little Black Book," produced by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, is targeted at 18-and-older gay men, according to the committee. The book uses vivid descriptions and colloquial terms to describe the ways HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases can be prevented and spread.

A Fenway Community Health employee brought the pamphlets along with other materials and put them on the table by mistake, said Chris Viveiros, a spokesman for Fenway Community Health.

''Fenway Community Health regrets accidentally making available a small number of copies of the Little Black Book, an HIV-prevention publication for gay and bisexual men over the age of 18, at an event where young people were present," said Dr. Stephen Boswell, Fenway Community Health's president and CEO.

According to its website, Fenway Health “provides high quality, comprehensive health care” to “its community, which includes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender”; its physicians “hold faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School”; and its "[r]esearch affiliations include Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Brown University Medical School."

GLSEN: Organization policy bans “sexually explicit material,” book would not have been allowed if they knew about it. From the Globe article:

Sean Haley, executive director of the education network, which sponsored the conference, added: ''We have very clear policies that sexually explicit material of any kind will not be made available at the conference. Had I seen the book, I would have asked them to put it away."

At the start of the event, Haley said, network officials scanned each of the 10 tables it had rented, for $35 apiece, to outside groups. He said nobody saw the pamphlet at the time. ''We're just going to have to be more rigorous in our review of materials," he said.

Haley said that about 500 people attended the conference, roughly half of them students. He said only ''a handful" were younger than high-school aged.

Superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had received the book

On May 18, 2005, WHDH 7News Boston's Sean Hennessey reported that Brookline Superintendent of Schools William H. Lupini says that “none of his students, he believes, took the [Fenway] book home.”

Gateway Pundit part of right wing's anti-gay war on Jennings

Gateway Pundit advanced smear that Jennings promoted “Child Porn in the Classroom.” Hoft was the first of several conservative bloggers to claim Jennings is unfit as “Safe Schools Czar” because he supposedly promoted “child porn” by allowing GLSEN to recommend for students in grades 7-12 books that included sexually explicit content. The organization, however, specifically stated on its book list website that “some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes” and recommended that “adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability”; further, schools regularly teach books that contain sexually explicit material.

Media conservatives attacked Jennings with homophobic, extreme rhetoric. In their attacks on Jennings, numerous conservative media figures have resorted to thinly veiled homophobic appeals to paint Jennings, who is gay, as a “radical” “gay activist” with an “agenda” of “promoting homosexuality in schools.”

Fox News, others ran with falsehood that Jennings “cover[ed] up statutory rape.” Fox News and other media advanced the falsehood that Jennings, in the words of Fox News host Bill Hemmer, knew of a “statutory rape” and “never reported it.” While pushing this attack on Jennings, these media figures ignored evidence that the student who told Jennings about his relationship with an older man was of legal age, and Media Matters for America has since confirmed that the student was of legal age and that these smears of Jennings were scurrilous and false. The former student at the center of the Jennings controversy, whom Jennings has referred to as “Brewster,” provided Media Matters with a statement that he “was of legal consent at the time.” Additionally, Media Matters obtained a copy of the student's driver's license, which shows that he was 16 at the time -- the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.

Media manufactured Jennings-NAMBLA link. The Fox Nation and The Washington Examiner linked Jennings to the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) based on a 1997 speech in which Jennings praised gay rights activist Harry Hay, who had spoken in support of the organization. But like many obituaries written about Hay upon his death in 2002, Jennings was touting Hay as a gay civil rights pioneer for his role in helping start “the first ongoing gay rights groups in America” in 1948, and Jennings' comments had nothing to do with NAMBLA.