GLMA Dismayed by Lack of Inclusiveness in NBC/People Poll on Teen Sex





SAN FRANCISCO, January 31:  –  The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) today expressed its dismay over the lack of inclusion of questions about sexual orientation and same sex behaviors in a recent poll of teens about their attitudes and experience around sex.

The NBC /People poll, A National Survey of Young Teens Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,000 parents and 1,000 teens from 13 to 16 years-old between September 4, 2004, and November 7, 2004 with a margin of error of  ±3.4%.  The findings were featured in the January 27 issue of People magazine and the NBC special, The 411: Teens & Sex with Katie Couric, on January 26. 

“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,” commented Joel Ginsberg, JD, MBA, executive director of GLMA.

“We ask to meet with the editorial boards of NBC News and People magazine to educate them about the unique health issues faced by LGBQ yout,.” He added.

Rob Garofalo, MD, GLMA board member and author of ground-breaking research on risk behaviors in gay and lesbian youth, commented: “LGBQ youth are woefully underrepresented in federal, state and other research on teen sex and sexuality and the recently completed NBC News/People Magazine study represented a significant high-profile missed opportunity for increased diversity with regards to the inclusion of sexual minority youth.

“Gaining a better understanding of the sexual attitudes and practices of LGBQ youth, a youth population perceived to be at increased risk of STDs and HIV, would be tremendously helpful in better understanding this community so that targeted and appropriate prevention efforts can best be designed and implemented,” he pointed out.

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

GLMA president, Tri Do, MD, noted: “This survey takes pains to ask about the sex, ethnicity, age, and school grade of the teen participants, but nowhere are they asked about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Indeed, in over 30 pages of questions about sexual attitudes and behaviors the teens are never asked if these behaviors were with members of the opposite sex or the same sex,” he observed.

“This survey could have been so much richer if NBC and People had bothered to ask those questions and demonstrates once again how much work GLMA has to do to make sure these questions are always asked,” he observed.

31 January  2005