Are Gay Students Becoming Sugar Babies To Pay Tuition Or Is HuffPo Just Full Of It?

Yesterday The Huffington Post published an article entitled, “Sex For Tuition: Gay Male College Students Using ‘Sugar Daddies’ To Pay Off Loan Debt” wherein writer Amanda M. Fairbanks concluded that rising college loans and unemployment rates have turned more and more gay men into sugar babies. The only problem? Her “research” consisted entirely of interviews with sugar daddies, their babies, the owners of the websites that brought them together, and studies that merely reconfirmed her hypothesis.

Gays and Lesbians Allied Against Defamation explains:

The author quotes someone as saying these gay students “used the money 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.”

… But this article doesn’t stop at just presenting the “gay scene” as a single-minded monolith – it also claims that this gay monolith supports prostitution…

GLAAD also points out that these stereotypes are the same ones our foes repeat to oppose marriage equality, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, domestic partnerships, civil union recognition, and gay adoption. When GLAAD asked The Huffington Post why they’d bother posting such a article, HuffPo responded:

“Our coverage of students who sell themselves to manage their college debt has aimed to be sympathetic to their plight — not sensationalistic. But based on our reporting, we found that young women and young gays are part of communities that often view the matter differently. We found that for many gay men, the use of escort services and the exchange of money for sex appear to carry less of a stigma, according to extensive interviews with gay escorts and members of the gay community.”

Yeah, except that GLAAD points out that Fairbanks didn’t bother interviewing gay parents, gay teachers, long term committed gay couples, gay women, gay church attendees or anyone else who would “embody the diversity of backgrounds and experiences that would truly represent the “’gay community.’”

So now GLAAD has a petition asking HuffPo to apologize and retract the story.

Will HuffPo own up and make good or will they delight in the scandalous page views and hope everyone forgets? Hmmmm….

It’s a shame. Fairbanks’ article idea is actually a really good one that deserved a strong hard look. But sometimes journalism feels like a job where you just churn out stories, finding only the facts that support your conclusions, so you can publish and move on. We’d say Fairbanks has fallen victim to the HuffPo writing mill and perpetuated some very bad stereotypes in the process.

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  • Alex

    Why would huffpo be full of it? Gay college students are in debt too.

  • Karren

    Is this really a surprise? Female college students have been doing it for ages…..

  • Bill

    Not surprised myself…

  • Polyboy

    Huffpost had an article about female students doing the same thing a few weeks ago. I wondered then why they didn’t address men doing. Now they have.

  • CMObrero

    I think gay community actually is more accepting of all those things they mention (my perception). That’s not the same than saying that the gay community people do those things they mention. And it’s not a bad thing: would you become hypocrites douches? There’s nothing wrong with non-monogamous couples, monogamish, kinky, prostitution, etc. It is wrong though, that some groups could and actually use this fact to spread the not-new that every person in the gay community does that kind of stuff. ¿how do you allow press to publish this kind of articles without spreading prejudice?

  • Dan Cobb

    I went to the website where the daddies and the “sons” hook up. There were 15 posters in total. 15 !! Yet the Huffingtonpost made a headline that sounded like it was a common practice among the 100,000’s of gays who graduated from colleges over the last few years.
    Outrageous, really. 15 …. sorry, but that it not a story. That’s a pathetic gimmick.

  • Danny

    Women have been doing this for years.How many times have we seen a hot young guy with a old fart.It happens all the time.

  • disco lives

    I saw this yesterday, and almost wondered if it was an Onion posting or a satriic “Christwire” posting. Absolutely no empirical evidence to back up any of her statements except comments from some random person or two.

  • Paul

    I find it tedious that queerty wants the gay community to use gay parents, gay teachers, long term committed gay couples, gay women, gay church attendee as the people we all have to measure up against. why would we do so? yes, they are all part of our community, but do sugardaddies, sugarbabies or prostitutes belong with us less in any way? I don’t think so. do we need to give in to a heteronormative sterotype that views any kind of sexual relation that is not had between no more than two godfearing, married, publicserving citizens as a thread to public moral? Yes, the gay community I’m a part of has a more relaxed view when it comes to sex and prostitution than the general public, and thank god for that, to not be a biblethumping biggot who judges what other people want to do with their bodies is one of the great pleasures of being gay.

  • George412

    From my 20 years of being out I would have to agree with the Huffington Post.

  • christopher di spirito

    Arianna Huffington should know. She’s the biggest whore in the world.

  • QJ201

    The “gay” story was grew out of a previous piece on HuffPo focused on young women. Before the “gay glossies” were killed by the blogs, many of them featured articles on how to become or hire an escort. Where was GLAAD when these articles were published. Further, if you google the names of the researchers quoted in the article, both of them have published numerous research studies on male escorting.

  • Dallas David

    I knew 2 straight guys who entertained rich gay guys. Also knew lots more straight women doing the same thing. As one of the ladies quipped, “No big thing.”

    When it comes to sex, all men are dogs. That’s all there is to it. Nevada was built on gambling and prostitution, just as suburbia is built on tract homes and adultery. So what? We humans are what we are, and we take advantage of business deals where ever they rise.

  • Ernest

    I find it disgusting when I hear about the whole “Sugar Daddy” bullshit. Who would want that type of “relationship”? Oh nvm I know who would: dead beats, lazy pieces of shits, greedy bastards,etc. Older men need to stop this trend and stop treating their partners like their children, no wonder we have so many people in society asking for a hand out but not willing to move a finger. to all you folks out there who love your sugar parents, know this when reality sets in and you finally realize you might as well be fucking your own parents cuz that’s exactly what your doing.

  • Mark


    You don’t have to be a god-fearing, bible thumping heterosexual to think that it’s in the best interest of society or yourself to not be a giant whore. I am an gay atheist and I am appalled by the level of promiscuity present in both the gay and straight communities. Maybe if the gay community were a little less slutty we’d be a little less AIDS-y. Just because bible-thumping Christians endorse monogamy doesn’t mean monogamy or sexual responsibility are “heteronormative” values.

  • Chitown Kev


    Thank you.

  • JC

    Yeah, I kind of did a double take when I read the article last night and got to the part where the interview subject stated gay men either have youth or money. “Did they just print that?!” It left a bad taste in my mouth, even though I was very much intrigued by the general topic of the article.

  • So what?

    First off, it’s evident from Fairbanks’ results that this wasn’t meant to be a generalizable study applicable to the community as a whole. Instead, it seems that she used in-depth interviews to provide a look into one microculture that, to be quite honest, really does exist and has existed in the straight community for an incredibly long amount of time. I don’t think she was trying to apply her results to the community as a whole, but I have to admit that myself and a few of my friends have engaged in these practices to pay our hefty private university tuitions and offset that debt a little bit. Rather than creating generalizable findings by way of statistics and subsequent analysis of those statistics, I think Fairbanks simply meant to employ more qualitative aspects of research to explore a subset of gay men that do really exist. Sure, HuffPo took some things out of context in their summarization of the research, but I don’t think any blame should be passed onto the researcher for wanting to explore this minuscule population in the gay community and shed more light on a more and more accepted practice in today’s society (whether hetero- or homosexual).

  • Zack

    so what your saying is that 19 yo doesn’t want me because I drive a Saturn?

  • WillBFair

    I haven’t read HuffPo since they forced Obama down our throats in the primary. I guessed that their choice was less about merit than about race. And that’s partly confirmed by the flocks of dingbats who still comment there.
    Though I danced in the streets when the first African American President was elected, it’s typical of the far left to chose identity politics over merit, and we’re paying for it now with Obama’s fumbling of the economy.
    Without reading it, I imagine this article is the same type of shallow, stereotypical bulls— that they repeated ad nauseam in the primary.
    Bottom line: HuffPo is for the uneducated crowd, and I stopped reading them forever ago.

  • Breaking News

    People like to exchange money for sex and companionship. And they buy stuff and pay bills with it. Who knew? It must just be because they’re so burdened by student loans, that they would do such a horrible and degrading thing! And how about, it must be that gay people aren’t all monogamous (all str8 people totally are, though) because they don’t have access to the financial benefits married middle-class straight people enjoy, so what’s the point. If they could file taxes jointly and had a reasonable loan repayment schedule they would all renounce their ugly and hedonistic “lavish gay lifestyles.” In the eyes of HuffPo the entire fucking universe centers around the concerns of uptight, prosperous, college educated faux-progressives. So people’s experiences and concerns only matter if they are relatable to said uptight rich suburban types, or if they aspire to be like them, whether or not they know it. We must be “sympathetic to [the] plight” of those who can’t realize that aspiration, you see. They just don’t know what they’re missing -__-

    Oh and if you need another good reason not to read their nonsense, a strike and boycott against them has been in effect since last year. So every time you visit huffington post you’re in a sense crossing a picket line.

  • Drew

    I graduated in May.. glad to know I’ve got options.

  • mark

    I dont really understand the big deal. In fact i would call this article a piece of lazy reporting since if you took 30 seconds to do a google search you would find huff post has written a few articles of this phenomenon with straight females getting with old men for the same exact thing. Also the women they interview do not seem to think it carries a stigma.

    “But sometimes journalism feels like a job where you just churn out stories, finding only the facts that support your conclusions, so you can publish and move on”

    Seems exactly like what you are doing right now. If gay men being fine with sugar daddies is an argument our foes use it can easily be counter argued with the numerous articles of females doing the same exact thing. Flawed logic is flawed. More flawed reporting the cycle continues.

  • Jonathan

    @Mark: Amen!

  • lookiTT

    I don’t totally hate the Huffington Post, and it”s good that they cover a variety of subjects, but I’ve noticed some of their headlines have been misleading lately.

  • Joe News

    Great piece, Daniel

  • Joe News

    The problem is that the article didn’t own up to what they were doing. They were doing a piece about internet sex trade and it’s presence in a small subset of the gay community. Unforunately she made it about the gay community as a whole. That’s call terrible journalism. A writer interviewing a handful of people about a subject and generalizing it to hundreds of thousands is doing a disservice to the reader and in this gay the LGBT community

  • John L

    Where do I find one of these sugar daddies?

  • WillBFair

    @Joe News: You are so right. But that’s typical of the fuzzy rhetoric on HuffPo.

  • Chad

    I just graduated in May and I’ve been using this as a means to pay off my loans, and come to later find out my current roommate was discreetly doing the same thing.

  • neil

    this 22 year old wouldn’t mind such an arrangement…

  • Gio

    These articles are all just a smear campaign toward the gay community in a time when some people are still trying to decide to favor our rights or not. This extremely exagerated piece which lacks serious credibility attempts to paint gays as being morally corrupt. Feeding right into the stereotype that gays have no values. It’s a dirty little game this Amanda Fairbanks is playing to drum up publicity and hits for her articles. Glad the gay community has a spine these days and doesn’t just bend over backwards in the face of disrespect.

    P.s~ those who defend anti gay comments or actions on the comments section are almost ALWAYS associated to the person in question. Usually their PR team working on over drive to shift your thought process and either excuse the person’s actions or mind skrew you into believing their intentions were a heck of a lot more noble than they are. Before they finish their calculating public relations image polishing in the comments section here…they’ll attempt having you believe the person in question all but turned water into wine. Some of us were born with more than a brain cell.

  • QJ201

    GLAAD is pissed that any of our community’s dirty laundry is getting aired while we are publicly fighting for our rights.

    As for GLAAD stating that HuffPo didn’t interview long term gay couples or gay parents…watch out what you ask for. I know MANY long term gay couples who hire escorts for “special occasions” and I have heard many gay male couples with kids go on about how they go on the Rosie Cruise to “swing” or “hookup” with other gay dads.

  • Oh Dear (John From England)


    Urgh. If I found that out as a kid about my parents….

    What the bleep has this got to do with Obama? Racist.

  • Roxxy

    You know i would escort or something similar, but i don;t want to be that “trans girl that’s a hooker.”

  • velocifero

    Since Arianna (who flys in private jets to her book signings and tv appearances) merged with AOL, her site has gone straight to tabloid stories. Awful, lacking sources and pro porting to be journalism. I don’t believe a word up there. It’s all sensationalism to get click through for her advertisers nothing else. She use to have an Lgbt section but that vanishes after thev AOL merger.

  • babo

    @Chad: please share with a brother on where you found a sugar daddy! The websites I find keep leading me to creeps…

    In all seriousness and a little irrelevant, why do so called “sugar babies” get the heat in this transaction (call it prostitution, mutually beneficial relationships etc). If they weren’t young, beautiful and trophy worthy no one would focus on them, so why then, when they ask for someone with money to give it to them, everyone is appalled and calling them gold diggers?

  • Adman

    Isn’t Arianna Huffington the famous immigrant gold digger who slept her way into a life and career here in the US? I don’t remember the details, but sometimes we think of our “normal” as being universal. It makes it easy for whores like the author of this article to step in and get get “mommy” (or daddy) to cut a check or two. That’s a gay thing? Damn, sometimes I think we’ve invented everything.

  • ChrisC

    I would have no problem with The Huffington Post writeing and posting a story like this, were we not at the peak of a major civil rights battle where stories like this can easily be used against us and damage our plight. To post stories like this during the times we are in is irresponsible to say the least. Especially considering the fact that many of Huffposts readers are Liberals and Independants who are already on our side, this has potential to possibly turn some of them against us. Shame.

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