Jim Hoft falsely claimed that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings “Personally Pushed Books That Encouraged Children to Meet Adults at Gay Bars For Sex,” citing anti-gay “hate group” Mass Resistance's falsehood that a book Jennings recommended to high school and college students “encourage[s] teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it.” Media Matters for America has reviewed the book, compiled all references to gay bars, and determined that the book at no point encourages teens to “go to gay bars and have sex with adults”; in fact, a majority of the youth testimonials included in the book that mention gay bars refer to them negatively.
Hoft cites MassResistance distortion in advancing false Jennings-One Teenager in 10 claim
In claiming he had “proof” that Jennings “was promoting reading material that encouraged children to go to adult gay bars for sex for over 20 years” based on Jennings' recommendation that high school and college students read One Teenager in 10: Writings by Gay and Lesbian Youth, Hoft gives no indication that he had actually reviewed the book in question. Instead, he cited only a MassResistance blog post which misleadingly crops a 1998 claim by a group that opposes “the recent escalation in the campaign by homosexual activists to teach affirmation of homosexuality in the public schools.”
MassResistance blog post Hoft quotes misleadingly distorted passage. The December 28 MassResistance blog post Hoft cites claims:
NARTH reported on One Teenager in Ten:
Some of the Alyson publications, including One Teenager in Ten ...encourage teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it." Further, One Teenager in Ten "contains a lesbian teen's explicit account of her affair with a teacher."
MassResistance is citing a newsletter of Parent and Teachers for Responsible Schools (PTRS) posted in 1998 on the website of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which does not assert that One Teenager in Ten itself “encouraged children to go to adult gay bars for sex” but rather states that books published by One Teenager in Ten's publisher do so:
Previously, PTRS had notified the District that many of the books on the PRIDE booklist were published by Alyson Publications, a major publisher of homosexual pornography. The District ignored our concern. Some of the Alyson publications, including “One Teenager in Ten,” had already been placed in the schools. These books encourage teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it. Alyson recently published “Becoming Visible,” a how-to on introducing the homosexual agenda into the public schools. [emphasis in original]
PTRS opposes teaching “affirmation of homosexuality in the public schools.” The newsletter posted on NARTH's website states that PTRS is a Seattle-based “group of community members concerned about the recent escalation in the campaign by homosexual activists to teach affirmation of homosexuality in the public schools,” which the group claims is due to “inadequately substantiated and biased 'studies' designed to justify the conclusion that homosexual teens were harassed and assaulted at school more than other students, and therefore were more likely to fail in school, suffer from depression, engage in high-risk sexual conduct, use alcohol and drugs, and commit suicide.”
NARTH “primary goal” is to promote reparative therapy for gays and lesbians. According to NARTH's website, “NARTH's primary goal is to make effective psychogical [sic] therapy available to all homosexual men and women who seek change.” The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association all oppose the use of such therapy.
MassResistance is an anti-gay “hate group.” MassResistance has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center; even conservative commentator Dean Barnett has stated that the organization “verges on being a hate group.” The group's longtime leader, Brian Camenker, reportedly denied that gays and lesbians were targeted during the Holocaust and has compared the gay rights movement to the Nazis.
One Teenager in 10 does not “Encourage Children to Meet Adults at Gay Bars For Sex”
Media Matters has reviewed One Teenager in 10 and compiled below all references in the book to gay bars. The book at no point encourages teens to “go to gay bars and have sex with adults”; in fact, several of the youth testimonials included in the book refer to gay bars negatively, with contributors stating their “hope that an alternative to the bars is developed,” criticism of older bar patrons as “only interested in sex,” and references to the bars as “boring” and “distasteful.”
Several youth testimonials include negative references to gay bars.
- “Joanne, [Female symbol], York, Pennsylvania” writes:
I also hope that an alternative to the bars is developed to meet people's social needs. As a fifteen-year-old trying to sneak into bars where the drinking age is 21, I was not very successful. Yet when I did get into a bar, I hated it because it was superficial. On the other hand, it was so nice to be there because I knew no one there objected to me solely because I was gay, and I could relax with my identity. [Page 14]
- “Diane Rodriguez, [Female symbol], 18, Chicago” writes:
We went to a lesbian bar a couple of times. The general impression I got was that most older lesbians were only interested in sex. I honestly do not like the bars and the women in them. [Page 53]
- “David, [Male symbol], 19, Baltimore” writes:
After I felt secure enough with myself, I called the local gay community center to inquire about activities in the area. What I discovered was that there wasn't a lot happening outside the bars, but the person on the phone was extremely kind, and we soon became friends. Now I am beginning to develop a network of gay friends, so that I can avoid the bar scene, which I find distasteful. [Page 55]
- “Mike Friedman, [Male symbol], 17, St. Paul” writes:
I started going to the one gay bar in our town, and ended up spending a lot of my free time there, especially on weekend nights. I found this to be rather boring after a while and stopped going to the bar, except for a couple of times a month. [Page 77]
Other references to gay bars do not mention meeting adults for sex and certainly do not “encourage” doing so.
- “Jim, [Male symbol], 17, Chicago” writes:
It was July, and I had just turned seventeen. I had been driving my car which I had purchased with my money. I already knew my sexual feelings and had accepted them. So I began to use my car and fake I.D.s to investigate “my world.” I had gone to a youth group, but the one I went to was full of hustlers and queens. So I began to go to bars, porno houses for gays, etc. Many times I really had to speed home to make my midnight curfew. [Page 41]
- “Gretchen Anthony, [Female symbol], 17, NH” writes:
Chuck also brought me to a gay bar in Ogunquit, Maine where I had a blast. Even if you're underage, you can still get into bars. All it takes is brains and plans. Plan A: Know the person at the door; Plan B: Get there early enough that no one is at the door. I've now been to five different bars, and I've gotten in every time. [Page 88]
Introduction to 1986 edition: Gay bars contain “life's losers” who “couldn't come to grips with their own homosexuality” and have “additional burden” of “booze.” In her introduction to the 1986 paperback edition of One Teenager in 10, Rita Mae Brown writes:
If you focus on only one aspect of your life, it will warp you. If you ever drop into a gay bar, you'll see people there who couldn't come to grips with their own homosexuality. They think about it constantly. Their lives revolve around being gay. Who knows? Who doesn't know? Should I tell? Etc. Added to that is the unsavory fact that these people are in a bar and therefore are drinking. So now they've added an additional burden to their lives: booze. Or perhaps they are more rebellious in their self-destruction so they take drugs. However you look at it, these poor souls are life's losers. Don't be one of them. [Page viii]