Founded by Kevin Jennings in 1990, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization whose mission is “to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”
At its inception, GLSEN was called the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network (GLSTN), and was one of the few Gay-Straight Alliances operating in America. In 1995, the organization changed its name and became a national entity with one full-time staff member. By 2010, GLSEN had grown into a leading activist group with a full-time staff of 40 employees, a governing board of 20 members, and two advisory committees operating at the national level. Also as of 2010, GLSEN had accredited more than 40 local chapters across the United States to work on its behalf.
GLSEN is funded by many corporate sponsors (including the Turner Broadcasting System) and a number of large foundations: the California Community Foundation, California Teachers Association, the Ford Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Glickenhaus Foundation, the Human Civil Rights Organization of America, the Human Rights Campaign, the Johnson Family Foundation, the National Education Association, the Overbrook Foundation, the Tides Foundation‘s “Kicking Assets” program, the Turner Broadcasting System, and the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation.
GLSEN’s activism is carried out chiefly through national school campaigns such as these:
the National Day of Silence in which students take a vow of silence to raise awareness for LGBT causes
the No Name Calling Week, held every January, to engage students in “educational activities aimed at ending name-calling”
GLSEN has also established the ThinkB4YouSpeak website to fight anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgendered) language.
All of the foregoing initiatives supplement GLSEN’s principal campaign to pass “anti-bullying” bills in state legislatures across the United States. In May 2010, for instance, GLSEN’s efforts were successful in Massachusetts when Governor Deval Patrick signed an “anti-bullying bill” (which included illegal immigrants as a protected class) into law.
GLSEN has long courted controversy for offering sexually explicit materials and information to young schoolchildren. Critics contend that GLSEN’s agenda goes far beyond ending discrimination in the classroom. Mission America reports, for instance, that “GLSEN believes the early sexualization of children can be beneficial. This means that virtually any sexual activity as well as exposure to graphic sexual images and material, is not just permissible but good for children, as part of the process of discovering their sexuality.”
In March 2000, GLSEN held a 10-year anniversary conference at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where Kevin Jennings was the keynote speaker. During the conference, a “youth only, ages 14-21″ workshop session offered lessons in “fisting,” a dangerous sexual practice that involves the forcing of one’s entire hand into another person’s rectum or vagina. Workshop leaders stated that “fisting often gets a bad rap,” though it is “an experience of letting somebody into your body that you want to be that close and intimate with.” In a discussion of oral sex during the same workshop, an activist asked the students, “Spit or swallow?… Is it rude?” (Click here for video.)
At a 2001 GLSEN conference, activist leaders passed out “fisting kits” to the students and teachers in attendance. Provided by Planned Parenthood representatives, each kit consisted of a plastic glove, a package of K-Y lubricant, and instructions on how to make a “dental dam” out of the material (for purposes of oral sex).
GLSEN has compiled a recommended reading list of books to serve as “educational resources” in grade-school and high-school curricula. The list is divided into three main categories: books recommended for grades K-6; books recommended for grades 7-12; and books for teachers. In an effort to determine “exactly what kind of books Kevin Jennings and his organization think American students should be reading in school,” the website GatewayPundit.com randomly selected 11 of the more than 100 titles from GLSEN’s “grades 7-12” list, and assigned reviewers to read them. According to GatewayPundit:
“What we discovered shocked us. We were flabbergasted. Rendered speechless. We were unprepared for what we encountered. Book after book after book contained stories and anecdotes that weren’t merely X-rated and pornographic, but which featured explicit descriptions of sex acts between pre-schoolers; stories that seemed to promote and recommend child-adult sexual relationships; stories of public masturbation, anal sex in restrooms, affairs between students and teachers, five-year-olds playing sex games, semen flying through the air. One memoir even praised becoming a prostitute as a way to increase one’s self-esteem. Above all, the books seemed to have less to do with promoting tolerance than with an unabashed attempt to indoctrinate students into a hyper-sexualized worldview.”
Click here to view many excerpts from these GLSEN-promoted texts.
GLSEN has passed out directories of gay “leather” bars to teenagers at a number of its events, including its 2005 conference in Massachusetts. At an April 2005 event organized by GLSEN, copies of a “Little Black Book” were distributed to hundreds of middle-school and high-school students at Brookline High School in Massachusetts. This publication contained graphic imagery, sexual descriptions, and “a list of Boston-area bars and clubs for the discerning queerboy.”
GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings propelled the debate surrounding the organization onto the national stage when President Barack Obama appointed him as Director of the Office of Safe and Drug Free-Schools in 2009.