Friday, October 06, 2006

Saddest Part of the Foley Affair:

The bigots are trying to resurrect the myth that gays are more likely to be pedophiles.

Let's deal with some facts. The antigay right often points to this fact: While 3-4% of the population have a predominant or exclusive same-sex attraction to adults, between 25% to one third of pedophiles have a predominant or exclusive same-sex attraction to little children. A similar fact is that 1/3 of sexual abuses against children are homosexual in nature. My reaction is how is this relevant? I would ask, why would you expect pedophiles -- that is those who like little prepubescent children -- to have a gender attraction which perfectly parallels the homo v. hetero attraction among the adult population? Indeed, antigay forces use the % of those who have an adult same-sex attraction as a baseline and erroneously conclude that gays are X times more likely to molest children. The assertion is erroneous because one would first have to prove that the 3-4 percent of folks with an adult same-sex attraction -- those who self-identify as "gay or bi" -- are the ones who are actually doing all of the molesting. But we have every reason to believe that they aren't.

The fact remains that some large but unknown % of that same-sex abuse is committed by men who have no attraction to adult males, often are married to women, self identify as "straight," and have no otherwise connection to the gay community. Hence, they aren't part of that 3-4% of the population who self-identify as gay and/or have a full or predominant attraction to adults of the same-sex. Indeed, a recent study done in the Archives of Sexual Behavior notes: "Most men who molest boys and most men who molest girls are heterosexual in their adult sexual preference (Groth and Birnbaum, 1978)."

My understanding of the social science is while there may be exceptions to the rule, those who like little boys (pre-puberty) tend to have no attraction to adults of the same sex, don't identify as "gay," are often married to women, and have no otherwise connection to the gay community. See for instance, Arnold Friedman. They are not what we typically think of as "gay men" anymore than a man who likes male sheep only is what we think of as a "gay man." Thus, lumping them into a statistic about "gays" is dishonest. And that's what the antigay right does when it puts forth their figures that "gays are X times more likely to molest."

Social science also demonstrates that those into underaged teens -- like Mark Foley -- tend to also be attracted to adults and are what we think of as gay men. If a study therefore were done that shows gay men are more likely to have sex with underaged teens than straight men, then we'd be comparing apples to apples. But 1) I'm not aware of any such study, and 2) My common sense tells me given straight men have been boinking underaged teen girls since time immemorial at very high rates -- indeed given so many prominent historical marriages with girls well under the age of 18 -- you won't find gays more likely to be involved in the behavior.

No comments: