Advocacy Group Blasts 'Lack of Inclusiveness' in Teen Sex Poll

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - A homosexual advocacy group is upset with an NBC News/People magazine poll that questioned teenagers about their sexual attitudes and experiences -- but did not include questions about sexual orientation.

The results of the poll are published in the Jan 27 issue of People and were broadcast on Katie Couric's recent special, "The 411: Teens & Sex."

"While the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association applauds the efforts of NBC News and People Magazine in commissioning a landmark poll of teenagers and their sexual attitudes, perceptions and practices, we are disappointed and concerned by the poll's decided lack of inclusion of questions pertaining to sexual identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning (LGBQ) youth," said Joel Ginsberg, executive director of GLMA.

He said his group has asked to meet with the editorial boards of NBC News and People magazine - "to educate them about the unique health issues faced by LGBQ youth."

Rob Garofalo, a GLMA board member who has studied "risk behaviors in gay and lesbian youth," said LGBQ youth are "woefully underrepresented" in research on teen sex and sexuality.

He said the NBC /People study represented a significant "missed opportunity" to gain a better understanding of the sexual attitudes and practices of LGBQ youth -- who may be at an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

"GLMA hopes that future efforts exploring adolescent sexuality, both publicly and privately funded, will contain questions and language inclusive of LGBQ youth," Garofalo said.

GLMA President Tri Do complained that in over 30 pages of questions about sexual attitudes and behaviors, the teens who took part in the survey were never asked if they had partners of the same sex or opposite sex.

"This survey could have been so much richer if NBC and People had bothered to ask those questions," Tri Do added. He said the survey "demonstrates once again how much work GLMA has to do to make sure these questions are always asked."

At least one conservative group also weighed in on the NBC/People survey, saying "it's about time people got concerned" about teenagers having sex.

Parents need to be more aware of what their teens are doing and more willing to talk to them about risks and expectations, Concerned Women for America said on its website.

"Today, sadly, there are far too many teens with broken hearts and incurable diseases because adults are unwilling to state categorically that sex is meant exclusively for marriage," wrote Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director of CWA's Beverly LaHaye Institute.

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