- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2002

A federal Web site features a link to the Internet pages of "pro-sex" activists who provide teen-agers with explicit advice about homosexuality, sodomy and masturbation.
Listings for "youth" resources on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site, includes a link to the Coalition for Positive Sexuality (CPS), a self-described "guerrilla sex education" group.
"If you think you might be queer, relax!" the CPS site urges teens, and offers this suggestion: "If you think you are queer, try to find a lesbian/bisexual/gay/transgender community center near you, where you can meet other queers your age."
The CDC site's "youth" links include the Advocates for Youth site, which promotes activism to overturn federal abstinence education policies.
A Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said yesterday the department would remove a link to CPS from one of its Web sites. That site, www.cyfernet.org, includes "postive youth development" links to the sex advice site Go Ask Alice and to Planned Parenthood's Teenwire site.
"We are in the process of taking down the link [to CPS]," public affairs specialist Maria Bynum said yesterday afternoon. "And we will work with the [Cyfernet] program office and the university partners to review the [other] sites and determine what the next steps are."
The federal Internet links have come under fire from the Physicians Consortium, a Pennsylvania-based public policy group.
"These sites, linked to by the CDC and the USDA, contain explicit messages that run counter to sound public messages for young people," the organization wrote in a Jan. 24 letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman.
The letter urged the agencies to "immediately terminate any and all linking to Web sites containing explicit language that contributes to the sexualization of young people."
However, the link from www.cdc.gov was still active yesterday.
"We take these kinds of issues very seriously," said Bill Pierce, deputy assistant secretary for public affairs and media at the Department of Health and Human Services. "We are working with CDC right now. We're reviewing [the links] in light of the notion of whether [the material] is age appropriate."
Dr. Hal Wallis said he was "appalled" to learn about the links from federal agency sites.
"We are using federal dollars and the support of federal agencies … to link to sites that I thought were bordering on pornography," said Dr. Wallis, a Texas gynecologist and member of the executive committee of the Physicians Consortium. "If you can link directly to these Web sites [from government sites], it would seem to me to be almost an implied approval."
The CPS founded in 1992 by members of Queer Nation, ACT UP and other activist groups claims to have distributed 29,000 of its "Just Say Yes" booklets to Chicago public school students.
"The ['Just Say Yes] manual is pro-sex, pro-gay, pro-lesbian and pro-choice," CPS spokeswoman Anne-Elizabeth Murdy told the Chicago Tribune in November 1992. "We believe that kids get too many negative messages about sex."
A coalition spokesman said the CPS "mission" is "to foster health and respect" by giving teens "nonjudgmental information."
"Our philosophy is, if we offer teens the information they need, along with the message that they should treat themselves and one another with respect, that they are capable of making wise decisions regarding sexual activity," CPS member Davis Schlossman said Tuesday.
CPS offers several posters, including one that depicts teen-age girls playing a lesbian spin-the-bottle game. The teen-oriented CPS site (www.positive.org) describes various sexual acts and sex toys.
The coalition describes itself as "a grass-roots direct-action volunteer group." CPS gets "no direct funding" from federal sources and no other government support "to my knowledge," Mr. Schlossman said.
"The federal government has no business directing children to a Web site telling them to 'Just say yes' to sex," said Rep. Dave Weldon, Florida Republican. "This message conflicts with the message that millions of parents try to reinforce in their children each day."
Researcher Amy Baskerville contributed to this report.



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