Date:Wed, 17 May 2000 11:46:50 -0400
To:schools@Youth-Guard.Org (The Youth-Guard Schools List)
From:Maggie Heineman
Subject:Article:"Graphic gay sex workshop under fire"

According to the statement at the bottom of this Boston Herald article, the AP contributed to the report. I've not yet seen an AP article on the topic.
Our site, has an article about the workshop based on interviews with one of the workshop leaders. It also has links to Camenker's unedited email version of the article which circulated on the net.



Boston Herald
Graphic gay sex workshop under fire
by Ed Hayward

Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Angry Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll yesterday said he is investigating the role of two Department of Education staffers and a consultant who hosted a ``prurient'' gay-sex discussion with students as young as 14.

``The workshops were of a prurient nature, and not educational, and what we heard suggests that the discussion contributed absolutely nothing to the students' understanding of how to avoid AIDS and HIV,'' Driscoll said yesterday.

Driscoll blasted the two department HIV/AIDS education staffers and a consultant for hosting a 30-student workshop, which was part of the annual conference of a nonprofit group contracted by the department to run the Safe Schools program for gay and lesbian youth.

He said a DOE policy change now prohibits sexuality education talks between staff and students.

The three workers ran a workshop called ``What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class:Workshop for Youth Only, Ages 14-21'' at the March 25 Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLESEN) [sic] conference at Tufts University.

None of the workshop presenters could be reached for comment yesterday, but a spokesman for the program sponsor, the National Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said the workshop was never intended to get as explicit as it did.

It was billed as a ``safe place'' for youths to get their questions about their sexuality answered, said spokeman Jim Anderson.

GLESEN has received funds for seven years from the department to run the Safe Schools program to promote tolerance on high school campuses. But Driscoll said the DOE did not sponsor the event, which was held on a Saturday.

Those who attended the conference said there were DOE materials at the conference and a letter from Driscoll as well as the opportunity for teachers to earn ``professional development points'' at the conference, entitled Teachout 2000.

Driscoll said his letter supported safe schools, and he was unaware of the content of the conference workshops. He did not address the issue of credits teachers may have received.

David LaFontaine, chairman of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, which funds the Safe Schools program through DOE, said GLESEN has focused on building Gay/Straight Alliance student groups and educating on issues of tolerance and safe sex.

``I have never heard of Gay/Straight Alliance meetings containing these types of discussions,'' said LaFontaine. ``One of the reasons they are so successful is the groups meet on school grounds with the supervision of a staff adviser.''

During the controversial workshop, which was secretly recorded by Scott Whiteman, of the Parents' Rights Coalition of Massachusetts, the discussion traversed a range of sex acts in graphic detail.

Whiteman could not be reached for comment yesterday. The coalition plans to distribute the tape on the steps of the State House tomorrow at a news conference.

Portions of the tapes were broadcast on WTKK-FM (96.9) last week and generated a firestorm of controversy.

Driscoll said staff have reviewed sections of the tapes and an investigation into the matter is under way.

LaFontaine backed Driscoll's decision and defended GLESEN's work in the state's schools.

``This is their annual conference and it is privately funded and run independently of the Safe Schools program,'' LaFontaine said.

In April, the Board of Education adopted a gay and lesbian student safety measure originally approved by Gov. William F. Weld in 1993. That measure requires schools to extend civil rights protections to gay and lesbian students and assist in the formation of Gay/Straight Alliance student groups.

Conservative groups, including the Parents Rights Coalition, opposed the board's move, and LaFontaine believes the conference came under attack for that reason.

``GLESEN has done outstanding work with the program for seven years,'' said LaFontaine. ``A tiny minority of opponents of the program are grasping at straws to discredit the program.''

Coalition president Brian Camenker disputed the department's assertion no state funds were spent at the conference.

``This is bogus because state and federal monies are so blended together that no one knows where the money is coming from,'' Camenker told Massachusetts News, a conservative publication. ``The homosexual group that sponsored it receives money from both the federal and state government. ''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

And that's not all ....

This May 16 letter to the Caspar Star-Tribune asserts that gradeschools have s "workshops on fisiting and how to do it properly." And the newspaper printed it without questioning the assertions made.

"Love the people, hate the behavior"
Casper Star-Tribune
May 16, 2000, p. A9


This letter is in response to the lengthy letter "Hurtful words feed hatred," May 12, and in defense of the Anchor program. If people would actually read through the material, they would realize that Anchor doesn't condemn all homosexuals. They would realize that the program is not anti-gay and that it doesn't breed hatred. It is a document that exposes and informs people about the anti-family movement, a movement that includes more than just homosexuality! The movement is comprised of many groups and organizations, not necessarily working together, which by their actions are attacking traditional family values.

The Anchor program doesn't condemn people, it condemns behavior. Mr. Wenino says, "What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is really no one else's concern." Unfortunately, when homosexuality must be discussed in the classrooms from kindergarten to college, when workshops on fisting and how to do it properly are taught in grade school, when a child is shown a video at school on acceptance of homosexuality without parent permission -- it becomes my concern!

Mr. Wenino also says, "People should keep their voyeuristic imaginations out of other people's bedrooms." Also just as unfortunately nobody has to use their imaginations, voyeuristic or not, anymore. When homosexuality becomes more than just a behavior, when it becomes the subject of public policy, the subject of education, then the argument that it belongs in the bedroom and is nobody's business is completely irrelevant!

What people don't seem to understand is that there is a difference between condemning people and condemning behavior. They don't seem to understand that behavior is always a choice -- no matter what the predisposition is. I condemn the behavior. I love and accept the people.

I invite people everywhere to read the Anchor material before making inflamed and irrelevant arguments.

Michelle Koerber, Casper

Date:Wed, 17 May 2000 12:51:08 -0400
To:schools@Youth-Guard.Org (The Youth-Guard Schools List)
From:Maggie Heineman
Subject:article in Union-News - Critics contend safe-sex forum far too graphic.

May 17, 2000 Union-News (Springfield MA) page A8
Critics contend safe-sex forum far too graphic.

from staff and wire reports

BOSTON - Two state education officials ran a workshop for teens on safe sex that turned into a graphic discussion on homosexual acts, leading to calls from a conservative group to cut gay education programs and harsh criticism from the education commissioner.

The workshop held in March at Tufts University started as a question-and-answer period but rapidly turned graphic, detailed and what many have termed inapropriate for the attendees, who ranged in age from 14-21.

Topics discussed included sexual positions, whether to use condoms and how to have oral sex.

"The workshops were of a prurient nature, and not educational," said Education Commissioner David Driscoll, who has listened to taped portions of the session. "And what we heard suggests that the discussion contributed absolutely nothing to the students' understanding of how to avoid AIDS and HIV." He said the Department of Education did not know what the conference would entail.

The workshop was never intended to get as explicit as it did, but was billed as a "safe place" for youths to get their questions about their sexuality answered, said Jim Anderson, spokesman for hte program sponsor, the National Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

But members of the Waltham-based Parents Rights Coalition, which secretly recorded the workshop and has been distributing tapes, called what was discussed obscene, and a lesson in "how to be gay."

"They were teaching them how to engage in homosexual sex," said Scott Whiteman.

He said Driscoll's disclaimer should be "taken with a grain of salt," he said.

The conservative group is using this incident to call for the state to stop funding gay and lesbian programs in public schools.

"The Department of Education works hand in hand with GLSEN," Whiteman said. "We believe the only way to stop this, is to stop all funding for GLSEN."

Parents Rights Coalition president Brian Kamenker has already garnered suport by airing portions of the tape on a local talk radio station. A transcript of the tape was also put out on the Internet last week, and he is now selling taped copies of the conference for $5 each.

The Massachusetts budget now includes more than $1.5 million to create and sustain Gay-Straight Alliances at high schools across the state.

"Our stance is that the Department of Education has no business at all presenting homosexuality in the public schools," Kamenker said. "It is a very self-destructive lifestyle."

Driscoll said yesterday that the blame has been misplaced on his department.

Although he knew the two staffers were going to speak, and he had a letter in the program brochure welcoming participants, Driscoll insisted he was not aware of the material being discussed.

"The conference was not sponsored by, organized by, or funded by the Department of Education," he said.

Driscoll heard portions of the recorded session for the first time yesterday, and subsequently prohibited anyone on his staff from dealing directly with students on any sex education issues.

The two staffers who participated are coordinators of the Department of Education'sHIV/AIDS program. As of yesterday, no disciplinary action had been taken against either one.

"The participation of our staff in conversations with students about explicit issues of sexuality outside the realm of AIDS/HIV prevention was wrong," Driscoll said in a prepared statement.

There was no telephone listing for one of the educators and there was a busy signal at the home of the other. Newither could immediately be reached for comment.

Teachers who attended the day long teacher and student conference, Teach Out 2000, were given professional development points for participating.

The workshop sessions that day included topics such as "How to decide whether to come out at work;" "strategies and curriculum ideas for addressing gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gender issues in a high school English curriculum;" and "The struggles and triumphs of including homosexuality in a middle school curriculum."

Boston Globe, May 18, 2000
Box 2378, Boston, MA, 02107
(Fax 617-929-2098 ) ( )
( )

Parent group to rally against 'homosexual agenda' in schools

By Doreen Iudica Vigue, Globe Staff

A parent group that wants what it calls the ''homosexual agenda'' taken out of public schools will rally at the State House today, demanding the Legislature end its funding for school-based lesbian and gay student organizations.

The Parents Rights Coalition also planned to sell audiotapes of a graphic discussion on sex led by Department of Education employees, but was served a restraining order late yesterday obtained by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, to stop that sale. Yesterday, however, coalition members distributed copies of the tapes to dozens of legislators.

The coalition, a Newton-based group that monitors curriculum in public schools, is attacking the state Department of Education for allowing two of its employees to participate in a Tufts University forum in March, called ''Teach Out,'' that included graphic descriptions of sex acts.

The department, meanwhile, said it was aware of the forum, but denied it sanctioned or paid for the graphic sex seminar and has ordered the two employees, who are AIDS/HIV counselors, to refrain from speaking to student groups. However, classroom teachers attending the weekend forum were given ''professional development'' credit from the state for participating.

Coalition member Scott Whiteman sat in on at least one session between the teenage attendees and the two state employees, which included explicit questions and answers on sex techniques. A tape of the session has subsequently surfaced. The content of the tape is now on the Internet and has been fodder for radio talk shows for the past few weeks.

The group sponsoring the Tufts event, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, charged the taping was illegal.

Late yesterday, a judge signed a court order that restrains Whiteman and coalition leader Brian Camenker from selling the audiotape or transcripts of the tape.

Camenker said the rally and sale of the tape were to bring the public's attention to what he says are the ''evil'' outcomes of the state-sponsored Safe Schools and Gay, Straight Alliance in-school programs. The Safe Schools programs receive $1.5 million per year in state funding and were designed to protect gay and lesbian students from harassment.

''Children are being victimized by these groups and their parents don't even know it,'' Camenker said. ''This is beyond just sort of a mistake, this language is horrific. I think people need to know exactly what's going on in their public schools.''

At today's rally, Camenker said the coalition will make the following four demands of the Legislature:

Driscoll said it is appropriate for the state to pay for in-school groups that teach tolerance and prevent anti-gay violence. He shot down Camenker's claims that they, too, are sessions where graphic sex is discussed, but did emphasize that explicit sex talk will not be tolerated in schools.

''There are enough adults that are constantly in kids' lives that should be involved in these kinds of discussions - parents, guidance counselors and medical professionals,'' said Driscoll. ''Our role should be training students to be safe against AIDS and HIV, and we do that well, but we cannot have our staff involved in prurient conversations.''

Meanwhile, officials at the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, said they would also be looking further into the March workshops, because they would also be opposed to graphic sex talk that would be inappropriate for young adults.

''From what I've heard, I have concerns as well,'' said executive director Kevin Jennings. ''GLSEN believes that children do have a right to accurate, safer sex education, but this needs to be delivered in an age appropriate and sensitive manner.''

But, he was also critical of the coalition 's agenda.

''What troubles me is the people who have the tape know what our mission is, they know that our work is about preventing harassment and they know that session was not the totality of what was offered at a conference with over 50 sessions,'' he said. ''Our mission is being misrepresented.''

Boston Herald, May 18, 2000
1 Herald Square, Boston, MA, 02106-2096
(Fax 617-542-1315 ) ( )
( )

One bad tape shouldn't mean end of tolerance

by Margery Eagan

How do you get one of those jobs where you run around secretly taping "teach-ins'' on salacious gay sex acts which many veterans of the sexual wars, gay or straight, have never heard of?

I have no idea.

But Scott Whiteman of the Parents Rights Coalition - what a guy - had one of those jobs. For six months. Never a dull moment.

You won't need any caffeine to keep alert reading The Scott Tapes on "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class.''

Miss Crispo, "The Living Fossil'' - my high-school-of-the-dark-ages health ed guru - never even heard of the body parts the "Queer Sex'' masters had the kids mixing and matching and probing and piercing, etc., at the March 25 Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLESEN) conference at Tufts. Since this is a family newspaper, it's hard to offer excerpts. Suffice to say at one point there was a detailed discussion of tribadism, which my dictionary defines as the practice of homosexuality among women. My dictionary, apparently, doesn't know the half of it.

If you wanted to know the other half, you were supposed to show up at 1 p.m. today in the Great Hall of the State House. There, the Parents Rights group was planning to release copies of The Scott Tapes until the courts intervened - perhaps fearing a stampede?

It could be reminiscent of those crazy days on Beacon Hill when legislators were debating the Gay Rights Bill. Remember? Shocked and outraged legislators just couldn't keep in hand enough of those gay-guys-having-kinky-sex brochures to hand out around the chamber. To fellow solons. For study and edification. And more study and more edification.

OK, the consensus all around - both from the Parents Coalition and the governor's commission on Gay and Lesbian Sex - is that the "Queer Sex'' workshop went way, way overboard.

The consensus - except from the parents' group - is that Department of Education Commissioner David Driscoll has handled the embarrassment well.

The question now is the motivation of the whistle-blowers here. That is, the Parents Coalition and Scott "Tapeman'' Whiteman.

Yesterday, Whiteman, a 25-year-old law student, was quite clear about his. To fire Driscoll and eliminate all funding for homosexual programs in the schools. He doesn't like sex ed, period.

"I'm a citizen who has the right to protect children other than my own. I'm a taxpayer who deserves to know where my money is being spent,'' he said.

So he was hired by the Coalition to, as he put it, "explore the role of the homosexual lobby in the Massachusetts schools.'' To that end he walked into the "Queer Sex'' conference, paid the registration fee, signed up as a college student and started taping.

Said Whiteman, "I have family members and I have friends who are gay and family members and friends who are very promiscuous. I know the story. . . . But at some point in college I made a conscious decision to remain chaste for my future wife.''

Which, he says, he did. She is giving birth to their first child any moment. Good luck to all three.

But the problem here, and it is a big one, is that Parents Coalition and Whiteman are trying to use one clearly inappropriate workshop to discredit and threaten the entire Safe Schools program, which promotes tolerance on high school campuses - even tolerance of gays. The program's becoming a national model for high schools - something we've talked about nonstop since Columbine.

You know, earlier this month there was a very moving story about a high school football co-captain from Middleton who came out as gay and was not shunned, beaten or ostracized.

No, Corey Johnson was accepted by his coach, his teammates and most of his classmates. It was a triumph of the philosophy Safe Schools preaches and espouses, one that neither Scott "Tapeman'' Whiteman nor his Parents Coalition, whatever they're really about, should be allowed to poison or undermine.

Boston Herald, May 18, 2000
1 Herald Square, Boston, MA, 02106-2096
(Fax 617-542-1315 ) ( )
( )

Gay group: Workshop sex talk went too far

by Ed Hayward

A group under fire for holding an explicit gay sex talk at its annual conference agreed yesterday that three workshop leaders crossed a line with raunchy content directed at students as young as 14 years old.

The workshop run by two Department of Education AIDS/HIV education specialists and a consultant to the department is the focus of an investigation by the state's infuriated education czar. Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll classified the March 25 group talk "prurient.''

"Like the Parents Rights Coalition and the Department of Education, GLSEN is also troubled by some of the content that came up during this workshop,'' said Kevin Jennings, national executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.

He said people who run workshops in the future will get clearer guidelines, though Jennings said the network's annual conference at Tufts University should not be judged on the 30-student seminar "What They Didn't Tell You About Queer Sex and Sexuality in Health Class.''

"We need to make our expectations and guidelines to outside facilitators much more clear,'' said Jennings. "Because we are surprised and troubled by some of the accounts we've heard.''

The workshop was tape-recorded by Scott Whiteman, of the Parents Rights Coalition of Massachusetts. Excerpts of the tapes have been played on radio station WTKK-FM (96.9) and the coalition plans to distribute the tapes today at a State House news conference.

But attorneys for a student and one of the DOE staffers won a temporary restraining order yesterday from Suffolk Superior Court Judge Allan vanGestel barring Whiteman and others from releasing tape or any transcript. It is against state law to record someone without their permission.

"It was illegally taped,'' said Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. "There were 30 students present who were relying on the assurance of confidentiality of the workshop proceedings to ask the questions they needed to ask.''

GLSEN holds a state contract to run educator training sessions to promote tolerance and erase bias in the public schools against gay and lesbian students. Jennings said no state money supported the conference and that GLSEN receives no federal funding.

But Brian Camenker, director of the Parents Rights Coalition, said his group plans to ask Gov. Paul Cellucci to fire Driscoll, whom he criticized for failing to fire the workers in question.

"Basically, he's saying this is going to be business as usual,'' said Camenker. "I have a little girl who is going to start at a high school next year and I'm shocked by all of this.''

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Last updated 6/16/2000 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU