Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) last week introduced the “Real Education for Healthy Youth Act,” aimed at educating teenagers about LGBT people and issues in federally funded sex education programs.
The bill lays out several main disqualifications for federal funding. A proposed program cannot promote gender stereotypes or be insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of LGBT youth. It cannot deliberately withhold life-saving information about HIV/AIDS, and it cannot teach information that is medically or scientifically inaccurate or ineffective. Finally, the program must be ethically sound in both a medical and public health sense.
With stories like this, media outlets are often tempted to reach out to anti-LGBT activists in an attempt to hear “both sides” of the story. Rather than contributing to an intelligent discussion about the issue, though, engaging anti-gay activists in these stories only perpetuates their anti-LGBT rhetoric and gives them a broader platform from which to use their scare tactics. More importantly, they are not experts on education or health, and have nothing other than their anti-gay platform to contribute to the dialogue. This would be irresponsible journalism that fails to accurately represent the issue.
GLAAD asks its constituents to watch out for any media coverage of this bill that includes the opinions of anti-gay activists instead of experts. Please report any inaccurate or irresponsible coverage of this story here.