Countdown to Tolerance

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Tue Feb 18, 2014

Misogyny, Child Rape, and the Anti-Gay Agenda

Any sexual abuse of minors is wrong. As a father myself I strongly condemn and would doggedly pursue justice against anyone who interferes withe the sexual innocence of children. Hence I am disgusted that the Roman Catholic Church retains its Observer status at the United Nations after the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recently confirmed that the Church: systematically covered up the clerical sexual abuse of children for decades; re-assigned offending priests to new parishes where they were (are) free to molest again with NO notification to parents and parishioners; bough the silence of victims so as to protect the Church's image (and funding stream); and the Vatican still refuses to hand over information about these predator priests to national authorities or the UN so that prosecutions can take place. As my son is being raised a Catholic I am more than a bit concerned about how the Church is dealing with child-abusing priests!

That said, what I find startling is the marked distinction in how we respond to acts of pedophilia perpetrated against girls as opposed to boys. Instances of sexual molestation of boys are usually followed by demands for the retention or strengthening of laws criminalizing (mostly male) same-gender intimacy. But, when young girls are raped, persons never ask for heterosexuality to be criminalized although nearly 95% of all acts of pedophilia are heterosexual.

There is also a usual demand that gays be barred from working with boys (see the Boy Scouts of America where gay members but not leaders are allowed).  However, I have never heard of a call for straight men to be banned from working with young girls even though we have seen innumerable instances of male teachers (and pastors) engaging in multiple and repeated sexual exploitation of their female charges. 

There is no more clear example of the fact that our societies (regardless of geographical location) value boys much more than girls.  So, ever more extreme (and irrational) measures are deemed necessary to protect male children. 

Of course, there is no logical connection between sexual orientation and pedophilia. Sexual orientation means whom you are attracted to. This usually involves sexual interactions with a consenting adult. On the other hand, pedophiles have a disorder that drives them to molest children who legally are unable to consent to sex.

The admitted and very successful ploy being used by the (American) religious fundamentalists to push their anti-gay agenda internationally is to claim that homosexuals are a threat to kids.  Unless we all actively discredit that lie the homophobic bigots will keep right on twisting the minds of gullible populations. Protecting all children means rooting out pedophilia from all societies, including the many conservative and usually anti-gay ones where dehumanizing child marriages and other misogynistic practices are still allowed! 

Last year we all heard the tragic story of a 40 year-old Yemeni man savagely raping his 8 year-old "bride" on their wedding night, rupturing her internal organs and killing her. Yet, this barbaric practice continues unabated and a law to outlaw child marriages was vetoed by the country's religious leaders. Meanwhile, Yemen is one of the few countries in the world that imposes the death penalty for consensual acts of intimacy between men.

One Ugandan Minister of government also said that rape of young girls is "natural" and we recently saw that the Ugandan President has promised to sign a bill passed by Parliament which will jail homosexuals for life, ostensibly to "protect the children." What the bill fails to account for are the innumerable instances of child abuse that will result from parents, schools and other state and social institutions evicting and otherwise victimizing LGBT youth as part of President Museveni’s “war” with the global LGBT lobby.

In Belize an editorial in the country’s largest newspaper last year flatly stated that rape is worse for boys, and that rape of girls is at least 'natural.'  Belize currently bans the entry of homosexuals and AIDS-Free World is challenging this ridiculous prohibition.  We are also supporting a constitutional claim against the country’s British colonially imposed anti-sodomy law.

Like Belize, Trinidad has a law criminalizing the entry of homosexuals and AIDS-Free World has also filed a case against that statute.  There are also laws against same-gender intimacy and just over a week ago, a Catholic priest used a public forum to call for an end to legal and societal discrimination against LGBT citizens.  In response, a Hindu patriarch published a stinging condemnation of the priest. This patriarch is infamous for his bigoted and misogynistic sentiments and in 2012 he declared that gay people were "sexually deformed” while child marriage is the solution to teenage pregnancy. This whole situation is incredibly ironic as the Hindu religion has always had a very fluid definition of sexuality with trans* people known as Hijra holding a revered place in their theology.  On the other hand, Catholics have regularly invoked anti-gay Biblical verses to justify virulent homophobia. 

The upshot of all this misinformation and blatant sexist homophobia is that repressive regimes often contend that decriminalizing adult same-gender intimacy is a threat to public health.  What is always ignored is the fact that it is unprotected sex with an infected partner which is the real driver of the HIV epidemic.  And young girls exposed to sexual violence are particularly vulnerable to the virus. 

Despite all the evidence that allowing consenting adult males to form their own relationships, unmolested by the law, is one sure way to reduce the HIV epidemic, the homophobic crusaders never shift their gaze from gay men.  Young women and girls be damned. After all, they were “created” to serve male sexual desires. 

A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.