Robert Oscar Lopez
Okay, there's a bunch of articles that have come out recently, alleging that Putin accuses gays of being pedophiles. One ran in the Washington Post. Be careful when you read about what Putin and the Russians are actually saying, however. Many pro-gay American journalists misconstrue things, especially by saying that Putin is "suggesting" something about homosexuals.
Note that when journalists say Putin has "suggested" something, what the journalists really mean is that they are extrapolating from Putin something he didn't actually say. See this excerpt below from WaPo:
Putin refused to answer a question from the BBC on whether he believes that people are born gay or become gay. The Russian law, however, suggests that information about homosexuality can influence a child’s sexual orientation. The law has contributed to growing animosity toward gays in Russian society, with rights activists reporting a rise in harassment and abuse. International worries about how gays will be treated in Sochi have been met with assurances from Russian officials and Olympics organizers that there will be no discrimination, and Putin reiterated that stance. “There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants,” Putin declared in the TV interview. He said the law was aimed at banning propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, suggesting that gays are more likely to abuse children. Making another favorite argument against homosexuality, Putin noted with pride that Russia saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. Population growth is vital for Russia’s development and “anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up,” he said, using a word usually reserved for military operations. (Emphasis added)
To make such a charge against Putin is irresponsible and wrong.
Putin didn't say that gays are more likely to abuse children; rather, he said it's abusive to force a complex adult issue like homosexuality on children. To the extent that gay activists want to do exactly that, if we were to take gay activists as representative of "all gays" (something most gays would have a hard time signing on to), then Putin would be suggesting as much. But Putin is targeting gay activists, not all gays. Those intermediate corollaries are still being infused unfairly into what Putin is saying. So I don't think you can say Putin is suggesting that gays are more likely to abuse children. The journalist's assumptions are clouding everything.
The problem here might be in the translation from Russian, but "pedophilia" isn't what is being problematized in these laws -- rather it's pederasty.
The Importance of Distinctions
The truth is, there is a massive difference between pedophilia and pederasty, which I would like to sort out for readers:
1) Pedophilia means sex with pre-pubescent children. Most pedophiles are heterosexual. Though it is true that homosexuals make up a disproportionate share of pedophiles (around 30%), it is not true that mainstream gay culture eroticizes pre-pubescent children.
2) Pederasty means specifically sex between mature men (thirties and up) and pubescent boys, or if you want to call them, "teenagers," "adolescents," or "ephebes." In the vast majority of cultures that supposedly accepted homosexuality -- among them Greece, Rome, and some elite subcultures of Renaissance Europe -- it was not sex between adult males of the same age that was widely touted; nor was it sex between grown men and pre-pubescent boys. Typically it meant sex between a powerful man of status, in his thirties or older, having sexual relations with a boy between the ages of twelve and his early twenties. The Lex Iulia in Rome seems to have banned sodomy between Roman citizens but permitted it between Roman citizens and slaves, providing that the slave was the recipient partner. Hence the slave and the adolescent boy were both eroticized as youth-like objects of older men's aggressions. The overall tenor of pederasty is inequality of power relations. Unlike pedophilia, pederasty is almost indivisible from the history of homosexuality. The history of homosexuality has been the history of pederasty up until the late 20th century.
Pederasty is not nearly as much of an abomination as pedophilia. But pederasty is still a problem that the gay community has to deal with. They haven't been dealing with it because they opt to get defensive whenever it's mentioned, smearing any critics of pederasty as accusers of pedophilia.
"Puberty" is the key term here. Pederasty is a problem because it involves sex between someone who is far, far past puberty and has a stable sexual identity, plus a lot of experience on the one hand; and on the other hand, someone who is in the midst of the hormonal changes and identity flux of puberty itself.
The differential of power between those two positions is profound. In the modern era of gay identity politics, a new problem intrudes into the equation. Earlier ages did not assume that an act of homosexual pleasure implied a lifelong gay "essence" foreclosing permanently on heterosexual activity. Nowadays, with the added pressure of gay identity politics, the chances are very high that the older male will be interfering with the boy's development by rushing the boy to a conclusion that he's "gay" when the boy might be questioning himself. Also, older gay men tend to be inured to the sensitivities and emotional vulnerabilities of puberty because older gay men tend to have had many sexual encounters that weren't part of committed relationships ("flings"). The questioning pubescent boy hasn't had all that much sex, in many cases, and is likely to interpret a sexual interest as a commitment that goes far beyond what the older gay man is prepared to provide.
Pedophilia doesn't have a deep historical basis. Pederasty does!
|Zeus and Ganymede. via Wikipedia|
(According to the opening lines of Aeneid, in Latin, this was infuriating to his wife Hera/Juno, which partly explained her hatred of the Trojans.)
Poseidon snatched up Pelops when he was a youth as well.
The result of Ganymede's abduction is that he remains young forever and must be in the subservient position of serving Zeus his wine.
Pelops faces a far different fate. His shoulder is injured in the abduction and replaced with ivory. Poseidon allows the boy to grow into manhood, eventually returning him to earth. When Pelops reaches the age of marriage, he does not seek another man to marry; on the contrary, he asks Poseidon to compensate him for having been his sex slave. Pelops wants to borrow Poseidon's famous horses to win a chariot race and thereby win the hand of his desired bride in marriage. (See Pindar's Olympian Ode 1:1).
Ganymede and Pelops were taken, in antiquity, as the two reigning examples of man-boy love, different in their outcomes. Either the boy is fixed in immaturity forever (like Ganymede), or he is compensated in adulthood for what is clearly viewed by everyone as an injury or loss (like Pelops).
|Poseidon and Pelops via Historyforkids.org|
The Zeus and Poseidon examples force us to understand the historical link between pederasty and teenage loss.
Angst about romantic loss is one of the main drivers of gay teen suicide. Imagine the sense of heartbreak when an older man initiated the youth into gay sex and then disappeared, leaving him stranded.
Often the youth feels trapped in a gay world that the older male introduced him into; yet the gay world's prevailing callousness about sex can lead the young male to feel defenseless and/or hopeless.
We hear a lot about homophobia and bullying, but some researchers find that anti-bullying programs actually cause more bullying. Listening to my inner gay intuition, I'd like to suggest a reason for the latter findings.
Where there are more anti-bullying programs, boys are being aroused too early by the prospects of gay sex. In some cases, as in the Minnesota anti-bullying bill, such programs actually structure and encourage contact between self-questioning boys and adult gay men. The result in the Caleb Laieski case was that gay "mentors" who were supposed to protect boys from bullying were actually sodomizing them, in effect outing them. Then they were not helping the outed boys deal with the fallout.
Now the outed boys are going to be targeted for mockery and derision even more by peers who know what happened. Added to this stress is that the boy has to deal with the callousness of the adult male who caused most of the problem.
So the indirect and unintended consequences of anti-bullying programs actually have much more power than the direct and intended results. Boys are drawn early into gay sex by the educational program itself, and they aren't ready for it.
Unfortunately many of the high-school teachers who are tasked with applying anti-bullying curriculum do so based on misguided assumptions about sexuality that make the problem worse. (I teach many future K-12 teachers and I've seen this time and again.) These K-12 educators assume that if a boy gets called "sissy," the best solution is to encourage the boy to accept the fact that he's gay and learn about gay sex soon so he can engage in it responsibly.
But wait-- are all "sissies" gay? Do we assume that because macho bullies assume that?
How messed up are these assumptions?
Too often the educators do not step back and consider that just because mean bullies call a boy a sissy, the boy isn't necessarily going to enjoy sex with other males. And even if some time down the line, the boy will be primarily same-sex attracted, that doesn't mean he is ready to engage in anal sex with available partners, who are likely to be much older. The reality is usually the opposite (they're usually not ready.)
Way too often the educators assume that a boy has already been programmed at birth to be gay anyway, so he should just come out and "accept" his future rather than lose time forcing himself to be straight. This is a noble position to take if in fact people are born gay and sexuality is fixed. Most reliable research, however, points to the opposite -- sexuality is fluid and nothing is written in stone yet in one's teens. Hence the troubling study showing that 70% of teens who identified as gay no longer identified that way in their twenties. Social scientists are straining to explain that one away.
Let's say you're gay. Are you ready for anal sex?
Educators rarely speak in frank terms about anal sex. Add this problem into the mix and you have a perfect storm of problems.
If they were to speak in frank terms about anal sex, they'd probably discourage many boys dealing with same-sex attractions from identifying as gay. It's not uncommon for gay men to hate anal sex, with the result that they have a public identity as homosexual but no sex life and no relationships. Were boys to know this as adolescents, they might come to the fair conclusion that coming out as gay isn't worth the bother. But pro-gay educators don't like that conclusion, so anal sex remains a topic clouded in mystery or unrealistically romanticized.
Whatever emotions and passions one feels in one's heart, the choice is fraught: whether to commit to a dating pool where anal sex is expected. Such a choice needs a lot of contemplation that isn't encouraged by a lot of these anti-bullying sex education programs.
The boy considering sex with men will likely have to deal with the mechanical glitches involved with anal sex. If he is experimenting with another teen, they might play with each other's bodies without jumping into anal sex. But an older gay man is very likely to expect partners to consummate their mutual affection in anal intercourse. The act itself is 30 X riskier than vaginal sex in terms of disease and physical injury. Anal sex requires a lot of aides: condoms, special lubricants, and if it is going to be hygienic, enemas, douches or other specialized forms of cleaning out the excretory system.
[I have omitted this paragraph, which drew from personal experience. Some bloggers wanted only to focus on the personal story so they could ignore the serious social issues raised in the rest of this essay. So poof! It's gone -- you don't have to spend time trying to figure out if my memory from thirty years ago is perfect or not. Now deal with the rest of this essay. If you want to see this deleted paragraph, you have to go looking for the blogs that saved screen shots of it. Just reading through those blogs will reveal to you how vicious and personal such bloggers are, for the purpose of avoiding having to confront the real-life implications of many policies they champion.--ROL]
It helps if something artificial like a dildo or plug is used beforehand to open up the "bottom's" anus. But what are the chances that a 15-year-old who is trying to get initiated into anal sex with a few stolen hours in a secret place, like the back of an adult gay man's parked van, is going to have all these tools at his disposal and the training necessary to use them? You can try to have their ninth-grade teachers school them on these details, but the chances that the teachers know how to teach such material, and the chances that a teenage boy will actually remember everything and apply the lessons in real time, are slim.
And then, even if you get through the act without major damage, the powerful odor following an act of anal sex is extremely unpleasant and probably something an uninitiated youth isn't prepared for.
So how are things working out for teenage boys involved in gay sex? Not very well.
A teenage boy with raging hormones and a million things racing through his mind is unlikely to be able to master all these physical accoutrements based on lessons provided by pro-gay teachers. A gay "mentor" isn't the ideal instructor on this because we run the very high risk that the mentor will end up sodomizing the youth anyway, thereby creating an emotional minefield.
And no, these glitches are not equivalent to teenagers navigating vaginal sex. The vagina secretes natural lubricant and does not expel feces. The vaginal lining is much stronger than the rectal lining and less likely to tear and bleed. A male and a female can have sex with a condom without having to marshal an entire drugstore of other props and toys--and a female does not need to fast for fourteen hours prior to vaginal sex as the bottom in anal sex probably should.
Females can engage in anal sex, too, but that's a frill added to the main event that males and females overwhelmingly engage when they consummate their love through sex: vaginal intercourse. By contrast, for men having sex with men, all roads lead to the anus. And it isn't helpful that much of mainstream gay advocacy neither allows for people to discuss honestly what boys are taking on when they choose to join the ranks of the anally initiated, nor gives boys the message that it's in their right to avoid homosexual identity for the sake of avoiding the irresolvable difficulties of anal sex.
When I say teenage boys aren't ready for any of this, I mean they really aren't ready. Let us note some of the recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Justice. There has been a spike in HIV infections among boys aged 13-19, and recent data showing that active gay boys in that age range are in emotionally abusive and physically abusive relationships over 40% of the time. Here we are talking about boys who have come out of the closet, kids who have been told that openness will lead them to a magical happy place. Their straight peers and still-closeted gay peers aren't exposed to nearly as much emotional strain or physical risk.
What is the common factor in suicide, HIV infection, and abusive relationships?
A lot of these pubescent boys involved in gay sex don't find partners close to their age because the dating pool is so small among peers, so instead of experimenting with other boys at their maturity level, they are being drawn into sexual liaisons with men much older than they are. They aren't prepared to defend themselves against pressure to have unsafe sex. They aren't prepared to deal with being sodomized and then left hanging by older jaded men. They aren't able to deal with the kind of power that older men can wield over them -- not only mental power but in many cases physical power, because it's not uncommon for the older male to have been working out for decades and built substantial upper body strength. That upper body strength can be the difference between pleasure and assault, for the teenage boy who is just learning how to have anal sex. If, partway through the act, the boy wants to stop, an older partner with years of working out has the option of continuing and disregarding what the boy says. If you think many older men don't take such an option to serve their own pleasure, you are naive.
Pederasty, unlike pedophilia, is integral to modern gay culture
Let me go on the record and say that I do not think pedophilia is a rampant, pervasive problem in the gay male community. There are gay pedophiles but they are not that common.
On the other hand, pederasty is a serious problem in the gay male community, because it is so pervasive that one could say that is integral to mainstream gay culture. There are some older gay men who are happy with other men of the same age. But many pairs of older gay men still like to recruit pubescent boys for threesomes, culminating in the pubescent boy being kicked to the side as a used toy. And then, we have the multitude of Dustin Lance Blacks, gay men who are smitten with teenagers and can't help themselves from pursuing them.
Gay visual culture has bent to the will of the powerful, often wealthy gay consumer who seeks to satisfy his loins with fresh meat. "Twinks" are a popular term for pubescent-looking boys, and they dominate the lucrative business of gay pornography. Flip through any gay male publication and you will see endless photographs of hairless lean torsos on boys who look in their late teens or at best early twenties.
Pro-gay journalists makes this problem much worse by conflating -- as they often do -- pederasty and pedophilia. They conflate the two because they want to silence people like me, who have well-founded criticisms of gay culture's pederasty problem. They silence us by accusing us of "suggesting" that gay men are all pedophiles, something very ignorant which we aren't suggesting. The end result is that the common problem in all the issues that matter to young men's well-being -- STDs, suicide, depression, anxiety, bullying, assault and its aftereffects -- is never dealt with, since nobody is allowed to bring it up. The common problem is pederasty.
Why call an 18-year-old a boy?
I've taken flak from people who use the classic military line and say, "once you're 18, you're a man, not a boy." This is what they tell you in the Army when they won't let you quit and go back to your civilian home. "You're a grown man and signed a contract," they say. So you have to stay in, even though you've realized that you're totally wrong for the military and likely to be the first one killed on the battlefield.
When I talk about the problem of men sodomizing boys, defenders of mainstream gay ideology use the same tack against me. They say that the legal distinction of adulthood, somewhere between 16 and 18, means that I cannot refer to these youths as "boys" when the law treats them as "men." Moreover, if they have consented to sex with 40-year-old men, there is no crime and the younger "man" has "agreed" to be gay, much the way an 18-year-old has signed a contract with the Army. This is a callous way of saying that the gay community has got you now, so you are theirs for life. Don't even think about leaving, and no, you aren't a victim, you asked for it.
Let me address this in frank terms. First, the legal distinction between boyhood and manhood is very blurry in late adolescence. Even that distinction isn't being observed by adult gay men anyway, as evidenced by the CDC statistics showing how many boys aged 13-19 are being sodomized by adult men anyway. Encourage legal pederasty and you get illegal pederasty as an inevitable corollary. Anyway the age differences cause huge problems for the barely legal ephebes regardless of what the law says.
And if you don't like me referring to the younger male in many of these pairings as "boys," take that up with other gay men, who use the term "boy" all the time.
In gay culture, the word "boy" is often used to describe a male between the ages of 13-19, and even in many cases up to age 21-22. Male escorts in their early twenties are called "rent boys." In everyday chat, when you're on your way to an event and you know there will be men in their early twenties there, you say, "let's go check out the boys."
Yes, it's kind of like slang, but the use of the term "boy" is so common that the gay community cannot then object when cultural critics describe what goes on in the gay community as sex between men and boys. When a 35-year-old man has sex with a 16-year-old, most gays say that the youth is a "boy." In fact, when gay watchdog groups denounced my book Johnson Park, they claimed that my novel perpetuated the stereotype that gay men chase after "boys," because the novel begins with a romance between a 21-year-old character (Riley Murdock) and a 16-year-old who was just legally emancipated and technically an adult (Agosto Cruz). I didn't write the novel with the intention of presenting their romance as creepy, because in my mind, a 21-year-old and a 16-year-old are fairly close in age. Ironically, to condemn me, the critics and watchdogs actually applied much harsher judgments against my characters than I would have ever applied to a 21-year-old dating a 16-year-old.
A 41-year-old and a 16-year-old--that's a whole different story.
But if Equality Matters can denounce my book by referring to my 16-year-old character as a "boy," then I don't see how they can then get outraged when we call Tom Daley, at 19 years old, a "boy", in the context of critiquing the gay community's response to his highly public involvement with a man twice his age.
Let's see what's behind Michelangelo Signorile's defense of the Daddy Hunt
I regret that I had very little sexual experience with men close to my age when I was sexually active with other men. Most of my partners were much older than I was. From those experiences, and from my time working in a gay sex club and also working in prostitution, I have no problem stating this: When sex is happening between an older man and a pubescent male, often the term "boy" is grunted by the older man as a kind of turn on.
And very often the young male calls the older male "Daddy," even when they aren't necessarily in the middle of anal coitus.
Michelangelo Signorile at Huffington Post even admitted this, perhaps unconsciously, in his defense of Dustin Lance Black's affair with a teen half his age. Signorile cited as an example of the gay community's acceptance of "intergenerational" sex, the website "DaddyHunt." This website, as Signorile pointed out, was founded by the lover of prominent gay author Armistead Maupin. It's taken as perfectly normal in the gay community for older men to look for "boys" who are looking for "daddies." Respected gay icons encourage the lexicon.
|Videos such as this are NOT uncommon or unusual||in gay culture|
I was intrigued by the fact that Signorile would defend gay culture against criticism by pointing out how normal "DaddyHunt" is.
So I went and did some research -- and see what I found.
That website collaborated with adult film producers to create a series of porno flicks glamorizing sex between men and boys. To the right is Volume I of the series. The use of the term "Daddy" clearly indicates that many of these man-boy relationships are inflected by an incestuous desire on the part of the young male for the care and tenderness one gets from an actual father.
If the "daddy" in the pair is providing that, then we face the uncomfortable reality that the "daddies" in all these prevalent fantasies-turned-reality are actually enjoying the metaphorical act of sodomizing their own offspring. That's scary. If the "daddy" is not providing that kind of incestuous care for the younger male, then I am not sure if we are in a better situation or not. The "daddy" is getting the young male into a sexual relationship based on expectations that won't be fulfilled. The disappointment and loss the youth feels upon learning that "Daddy" is actually just an old man who doesn't think he owes the youth any deeper sacrifices are dangerous. This brings us back to pederasty and teenage loss.
When grown men who are thirty and older chase after teenage girls, we tend to call them predators, even if the girls have passed the age of eighteen and are "just legal."
But for some reason, old men chasing after pubescent boys is not viewed with as much outrage, for several reasons. People tend to blame the pubescent boy because they assume that by the teenage years, if he had sex with a man, it's because he is gay. This assumption causes most teenage boys who have found themselves in the situation to remain silent about their possible feelings that they were tricked or exploited by the older man. A certain number of them will wish they could go back on what happened, but new laws against "ex-gay therapy" are inscribing into law the notion that it's not only unwise, but unlawful, to go back on sexual acts that they may been unfairly coaxed into.
All the laws and rhetoric that prevail in mainstream gay discourse empower the phallus of the older male and subordinate the pubescent boy.
Once the younger man is broken in by an older gay man, peers will doubt the younger man who says he has changed his mind and isn't really gay. It's virtually impossible to go back on your word after you are outed. (See what the mainstream gay movement is doing to Michael Glatze, the man who came out as gay when he was a teen and then married a woman when he was in his twenties.)
What next for pederasty?
It is crucial that dissenters from mainstream LGBT ideology continue to refine their vocabulary and articulate the difference between pedophilia and pederasty. If we conflate the two, then we hand ligbitists the golden opportunity to dismiss our concerns about pederasty by implying that we are perpetuating ignorant myths about all gay men being pedophiles.
I don't know if Putin was distinguishing adequately between the two phenomena in the interview covered by the Washington Post. If I were advising him, I would tell him to be clear and detailed about the distinction up front. But even then, I am sure the Post would translate it to gloss over the distinctions anyway. That's where we in the English-speaking world come in. It is our job to differentiate and explain, so the truth can prevail.