|Letter to the Editor -- January, 1996|
No Connection to PedophiliaTo the Editor:
In her letter (KJ, 12/27) Pauly Fongemie makes several claims based upon her apparent expertise in gay issues.
I should say up front that I wholeheartedly agree with her that pedophilia is among the most heinous crimes human beings can commit. However, Fongemie suggests that the vicious act of child molestation is normalized within gay culture and finds protection and promotion with the gay rights movement.
Fongemie admits that her evidence is derived from her scrutiny of "the gay press," which she reads along with the KJ editorials. In graduate school I learned that citing sources is key in establishing one's rhetorical credibility. Therefore I find myself wondering exactly which publications she is involving in support of her positions.
Reading the entire "gay press" is indeed an impressive feat, since a vast and expanding variety of newspapers, magazines, and books - not to mention perspectives - can all be grouped under that heading. On the basis of her shadowy but seemingly exhaustive research, Fongemie concludes that "pederasty....is now considered an orientation in much of the mainstream culture."
The major problem with Fongemie's reasoning lies in the faulty association of the lunatic fringe Man-Boy Love Association with "gay culture" at large. The equation of homosexuality with "deviance" is a common and convenient stance for bigotry but, as will all prejudice, the logic fueling it is fatally flawed.
First of all, no connection exists between loving adult relationships (straight or gay) and the madness and brutality of child rape. Child molestation resides in a category entirely removed from hetero- or homosexuality.
Only if we judge the violation of female children a less horrific crime than the rape of boys, can we be consistent with the stereotypes in such a scheme, those who rape little girls must be "normal." But even stereotypes buckle under statistics: The rapists of children are most likely to be white, married, "heterosexual" males.
However, if we persist in equating specific subcultures with pedophilia, other examples deserve the same rigid application of Fongemie's logic. For example, the Catholic clergy bears a long and grim history of sexual predation of children. And cover-ups by the "establishment" have perpetuated this brutality.
Gay rights activists and organizations do indeed reject NAMBLA and its agenda, as one may discover by talking to the people involved. These good people are as horrified as anyone by violence and abuse, and find no kinship with those who would do harm to the innocent.
Associating pedophilia with mainstream gay culture in unjust, antiquated and inaccurate.
I have many friends who are gay and lesbian. The casual but vicious assumption that people for whom I care deeply are "perverts," unworthy of the same freedoms and rights which we straight folk take for granted, angers and saddens me.
Rest assured that I would leave my children in the gentle care of any of my friends without a single qualm. But I certainly would not employ certain heterosexuals - the bigots who promoted Question One, for example - as baby sitters.
Karen Pulis, Gardiner