The Roman Catholic Church believes that gay men and pedophiles are one in the same. In its evolving mission to deal with the plethora of priest cover-ups from sexual abuse, the Church now plans to prevent gays from entering priesthood. The Vatican says, this solves the pedophilia problem long term.
Judging from Gay Pride celebrations in New York and other cities, such claims do not phase crowds braving heat, leather, and anti-gay protesters.
Is the Roman Catholic Church correct? Are gay men molesters -- waiting any chance to have sex with a child? Or was the charge a distraction to hide internal dissent amongst clergy, bishops, and the Pope. After all, what priest would dare stand up and say "I'm gay, and I'm not a pedophile"? The Vatican found their quiet scapegoat.
Greg Harrison, 38, of New York City, was three-years-old when Stonewall launched a new beginning for gays, although he did not understand this political movement until his mid-twenties. "I was not in touch with gay life, because I didn't know what it was," he said.
"Bars were the only place to find a mate," or to gather with friends. Harrison says he isn't a pedophile, nor would he befriend one.
Childhood memory recalls this writer's fantasies about girls. Childhood crime thrust me elsewhere. Today, healthy adult thoughts lead me to a meaningful relationship with anyone. Admitting to such labels me a bisexual. But who can define who I am? "I'd like to see more men question these definitions," Harrison tells me.
Post-Stonewall society no longer denies the existence of homosexuals, and gay culture, perhaps to increase its appeal as a group added more labels, such as bisexual, lesbian, and transgender. There are more fringe groups included related to race, fetishes, and political values. But nowhere in defining the community, have they openly denounced the pedophile. In fact, it is strangely taboo to discuss childhood sex at all, said Harrison a grief counselor at The Center, New York's gay and lesbian community center. It exists behind the closed doors of our childhood, he said.
"Opening that door as an adult can be very spooky, because it shakes your belief about who you've become as a gay man," Harrison said.
From that definition can comparisons be drawn to homosexuality?
The link between homosexuality and pedophilia is not stapled in scientific research, as much as male victims of abuse are found to become victims of substance abuse, or commit a crime later in life. Male victims of abuse have held the highest rates of suicide since the mid-1980s when research first came to light.
Statistically, gays have thought to number 1-in-10. I wasn't aware the number has long-been disputed, but it makes sense if numbers are lower when I look behind today at who I knew. Who in my past told me they were gay? No one at Capistrano Valley High School, no one at Long Beach State University, I knew one person at the University of North Texas; work, play, out-and-about, the total comes to about 1-in-40 or less.
Maybe it was my own environment.
For the past 10 years, science has redefined what percentage of the population is gay. After reading the version of "Sexual Behavior of the Human Male," published in 1948 by Alfred Kinsey; his results did not confirm 10 percent of the population is gay. His research was taken out of context. Furthermore, in the 1940s he did not say how easy or difficult it was to interview homosexual men; and thus, he went where he knew -- to hustlers on the street corners, and to prisons. Kinsey did not interview my grandparent's neighbors in other words, he interviewed, at best, troubled men.
|Whether you believe Jesus of Nazareth lived as a man or myth, it is doubtful from what is written he would advocate hurting a child. Would he condemn a homosexual?|
It is easy to spot where advocates of the "10 percent rule," found thier calling. Kinsey reports that 10 percent of men he interviewed stayed exclusively in homosexual relationships for 3 years, but the number of men who did during their lifetime was actually four percent. Could we assume men in prison stayed in a homosexual relationship while in prison and then ended the relationship upon reentering society? From Kinsey, we do not know.
Declaring four percent of the population gay, corroborated other studies by Kinsey Institute and one at the University of Chicago.
Science accepts that, when surveying humans, there is a risk that people will not be truthful -- they often will tell a surveyor what they think they should say. With the emergence of Reparative Therapy, a controversial approach to changing someone's sexual identity, I sought out their research.
If, for example, six percent (or more) of the population sought-out reparative therapy, to change from gay to heterosexual, then clearly the estimated four percent statistic is flawed. Aside from whether or not the therapy works, the best estimate shown for all men and women treated in the past 50 years is 250,000, which is quite insignificant overall, and thus provided no assistance.
The US Census too, did not indicate a higher number of homosexuals, in fact shows 1-2 percent of couples are same sex. But is it a leap to assume those couples are indeed gay, or are they only living like the Kate & Allie characters from television -- straight and single moms?
In 1993, I consulted the YMCA in Dallas while they redrew their charter to protect young men after a serial pedophile molested several boys at two locations. To that Board's credit, the issue of homosexuality didn't arise, but instead it was agreed that children at the Y could not be alone with one adult. Adults would work in pairs. This belief has not been found in the Roman Catholic Church, or Boy Scouts of America, as both institutions believe homosexuality and pedophilia are one in the same.
No one knows what percentage of the population definitively fits into the term pedophile. However it is widely accepted that 86 percent of pedophiles are males, with a majority of them under the age of 50. When incarcerated, they are lumped into an overall category of sexual assault offenders which numbers into the tens of thousands per state.
Unlike sexual identity research of Kinsey, pedophile research historically views [their] victims, recovery possibilities, and their own personal histories. But the statistic to share, is the percentage of homosexual pedophiles and heterosexual pedophiles, which respectively tallies around five percent and 95 percent, which fits into the "four" percent of population is gay theory, should pedophilia indeed represent equal populations of men.
Where the message is blurred considerably, is within the gay community itself. Gay adult men don't always consider themselves to have been "molested" if they engaged in sex with an adult male at a young age.
There is not enough data to draw official conclusions, and perhaps the reason is due to improper questioning, or the social acceptance of adult-male to young-male sexual experimentation.
Surveys ask gay men only if they had consensual sex with an adult before the age of 18. What is not known is the circumstances around the adult the child was with, and whether he took advantage of the boy. After all, it is the adult gay male, looking back on an experience that may in fact have been pleasurable for him, but was he (as a boy) able to determine the motives behind the adult pursuer? In this case, whether a male identifies as gay or not, he could report that (at one time) he had sex with another male, and this too would skew results up in favor of homosexual sex, not molestation.
The relationship, if there is one, between pedophilia and homosexuality is of great personal interest to me. I do not to equate the two. What society knows about pedophilia unfortunately comes mostly from media-hyped stranger danger, or from a hand-full of priests who have molested children. Those are less than two percent of child assault cases. In other words, it is rare. Pedophiles are clever, and work the system. They find ways to find children, and their biggest asset is that the younger the child, the less likely a child will tell. Is there a way for a pedophile to single out a young gay male, and take advantage of his coming-to-terms with self?
Research differs between estimating the numbers of people assaulted as children, and the number of victims pedophiles themselves say they have abused. The average number of boys a pedophile claims to molest is between 120-135, prior to incarceration. (Men who molest girls select fewer victims, average between 73-85.) With the high number of pedophiles in prison, and out, registered as sex offenders; the equation of males having been touched is either incorrect or astronomically quiet. In the state of Texas for example, 11,000 men were in prison during the 1990s for sexual assault. It is believed that 93-96 percent of them were molested as boys.
If those 11,000 men represent pedophile victims, in other words they admitted to being molested as children, even though they acted out as adults, they are part of 120-135 per pedophile. They are within a group of about 1,300,000 male victims in Texas -- a snapshot in time.
Pedophiles say that boys are easy, parents don't watch their sons. And boys have a knack for hiding their own deficiency to protect themselves. In other words, boys simply won't tell unless they are backed into a corner that someone hurt them. Boys are still more likely to lie and deny they were molested because it in fact may have been enjoyable. They equate the enjoyment with being homosexual, and don't want family to know they might be, or that they are gay.
Rate of molestation for men in rehabilitation on substance abuse pairs with the rate of men in prison molested as children, at 93 percent.
The gay community has a high tolerance for substance abuse. Drugs, alcohol, and compulsive sexual behavior is not unacceptable even though behavior may cause the victim much harm. Whether or not the statistical relationship is meaningful, male victims of sexual assault also exhibit high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual compulsion, and eating disorders.
The gay community is largely silent when faced with accepting or rejecting NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association). I shall stress the "largely silent" portion of that sentence. Disallowing a link to NAMBLA's website on PlanetOut.com is silence. Allowing users to add links on message boards, or in personal profiles is acceptance. Broadcasting open distaste for NAMBLA on PlanetOut.com or Gay.com, or gay.org is open rejection and would make a clearer statement that the gay community does not support NAMBLA.
My history falls somewhere in the middle of the Roman Catholic Church and NAMBLA. The Church remained silent while one of its members, also a member of NAMBLA, raped me. That was when the fantasy of girls waned in favor of the fantasy of plotting murder. It was my lack of self-preservation that vied for revenge, not only for myself, but for my younger sister, and 65 others in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
As an adult, I find solace in having shared a similar, yet violent fantasy along with my mother and father. But murder is final, and difficult to hide. Molestation is ongoing, and difficult to detect.
It took an experienced therapist to help me understand about relationships, violence, and the difference between the two. Pedophilia, unlike homosexuality is a mental disturbance satisfied with control and power over another -- over a child.
After all, the molester spent five years planning his attack on me, waiting for the last possible moment before boyhood evolved into puberty. His interest and deeply devote Catholicism made him appear kind, and earned him reverence. The man placed pictures of Jesus and statues of Mary, Mother of God, in his living room.
It didn't hurt his credibility that he had also been a policeman in the City of Los Angeles.
Suicide. Although, unlike the study that shows gay men are more likely than straights to attempt suicide, my own experience here was not because of my sexuality.
My teenage life had gone haywire, it was out-of-control. I was afraid of falling asleep in case the rapist returned. There was no future past the memories, and I couldn't see a way to fix my family.
These seeds were planted by the rapist, by not having the ability to protect myself. By witnessing my family fall apart because they too couldn't deal with it. And because I thought I was the only one, the only guy, this had happened to.
In my unscientific inquiries with gay men in New York, Texas, and California; I'm surprised by the number of men who say they did have sexual encounters with older men during their teenage years. Anonymously on the beach or in a theater. Or the men were family members, priests, coaches, and neighbors. When I've asked them to discuss the experience in retrospect as an adult; some will defend that these experiences were positive and they saw no harm. They also believe that that sexual relationships between men and boys is part of our culture and is acceptable.
Other men have said, they realize now that they were being taken advantage of by the adult. The adult wanted sex, but they as boys wanted, a relationship -- someone to talk with, some one to hold them, some one to hang out with. Sex, didn't enter their mind. They were pawned or drugged into it by the adult.
How does the gay community overcome the accusation that homosexuality and pedophilia are the same? How do we help any male, through the difficulty of recovery in order to prevent him from attempting suicide?
Being cognizant to these issues is the first step. I think that within the gay community, they should reevaluate how gay men experienced their sexual upbringing without fear of having made a mistake. But where a young man, especially a prepubescent male is engaged with an adult for sex -- whether or not the encounter was enjoyed by the boy -- must be treated as molestation by gay health professionals.
Denying pedophilia from within the gay community forces definitions on all terms. "If gays are not pedophiles, then who really is?" The burden of proof to link gays and pedophiles is not upon the Roman Catholic Church, it is upon the gay community to prove Catholics wrong.
Such proof would also free the gay community from such horrific charges -- that men, because they are gay are also pedophiles. Until these issue are resolved, their parades of new freedom may have much less pride.
"I haven't seen the statistical breakdown showing only 4 percent of the population is gay. If this was such a well known figure, wouldn't the Human Rights Campaign know?"
New York City
"I left the Catholic Church years ago when they said women are not equal enough to be priests. Unless they [Catholics] want their flock to grow, I'd suggest they start being more accepting of everyone. Until then I'm happy being an ex-Catholic."