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GLAAD: Protest Huffington Post article about gay students who use 'sugar daddies' to pay back loans

GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is outraged by an article that ran Tuesday on Huffington Post titled, Sex For Tuition: Gay Students Using 'Sugar Daddies' To Pay Off Loan Debt.

The article, according to GLAAD, perpetuates "several alarming and dangerous stereotypes about the LGBT community -- completely unchallenged."

Here's GLAAD's action alert:

On August 30, 2011, the Huffington Post's home page featured a piece by Amanda Fairbanks, titled Sex For Tuition: Gay Students Using 'Sugar Daddies' To Pay Off Loan Debt. In it, Fairbanks and her interview subjects play into several alarming and dangerous stereotypes about the LGBT community – completely unchallenged.

The author quotes someone as saying these gay students "used the money (from prostitution) to afford the extravagant and often lavish gay lifestyle." While another said, "In the gay scene, all you really have is your age or your money." Fairbanks herself writes, "Unlike in the straight world, many say they find working as an escort on the gay scene to be an accepted, even applauded practice." Another person tells her, "The gay community were really the first to embrace the sugar lifestyle, even more so than the straight community." She interviewed yet another person who told her that he "finds the gay culture more accepting of one-night stands and casual relationships."

"This level of carelessness is surprising, given the Huffington Post's track record of commendable coverage of LGBT issues," says Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD. "It feeds into very outdated stereotypes, ignores the broad range of people from our community with many healthy and loving families and uses a few individuals to make sweeping and degrading generalizations about the gay community. It's shoddy journalism."

Please take action to let the Huffington Post know that they should not stand behind this careless and derogatory approach to journalism. Shame on them for advancing a notion that, "unlike the straight world," the LGBT community "applauds" young people for engaging in prostitution. The Huffington Post should apologize for this story and retract it immediately.


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I demand detraction of such offending and derogatory piece of writing that should not be called "journalism." Shame on Amanda and her poorly chosen subjects. But more shame on Arianna Hoffington and Roy Sekkof for allowing such garbage to reach an audience.

Here's my letter to Ms. Fairbanks:
Dear Ms. Fairbanks:

I just read your article about gay students and prostitution, and I must say, some parts of your article read like an anti-gay screed rather than an intelligent Huffington Post piece. I'm a 53 year old gay man, and I have no idea what you are talking about when you mention the "extravagant and often lavish gay lifestyle." Who but a right-wing moron even uses the term "gay lifestyle?"

You quote Jake, a gay man, as saying in the gay community "all you have is your age or your money." Now, if you are interviewing a Jewish person who has some internalized anti-Semitism, and who says something like, to be a real Jew you have to have lots of money, are you going to put this in your piece?! (unless it was an article about Jews with internalized anti-Semitism).

Your article conjures up some ugly anti-gay stereotypes, that I would expect to see in Focus on the Family or Family Research Council pieces. I'm saddened to see it in the Huffington Post.

Marc Paige

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