I was chatting with one of my friends who happens to be gay and he mentioned in passing that he thought Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann were crazy. I defended them both, saying that they were portrayed unfairly in a media that seemed obsessed with personally attacking them in ways that were never used against conservative men. I told him that there were very good reasons to dislike both – their stances on gay marriage were particularly important to him, a middle-aged gay man who had been in a monogamous relationship with his partner for almost as long as I’ve been married. But I felt that the persona the press had made of each woman was a caricature that had more to do with the twisted minds of Andrew Sullivan and Bill Maher than it did the reality of each woman.
Neither would ever get his vote, which I think is unfortunate. But when I consider them from his viewpoint, it’s obvious why he’ll never vote for either of them. Being gay is key to his identity, just as being a supporter of Israel is to mine. It’s a non-negotiable for him, just as Israel’s right to exist is for me. He long ago gave up questioning his sexual identity just as long ago I stopped entertaining thoughts of a peaceful Middle East brought about by Israel giving away the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria. When someone suggests that his relationship with his partner isn’t the same as a relationship between a man and a woman, he doesn’t argue anymore – just as I don’t argue with anyone who believes that peace would settle on the Middle East if Israel would just, as Helen Thomas so bluntly put it, went away. I don’t waste my breath with people who think that Israel is an apartheid state just as my friend doesn’t argue with anyone who thinks he should just choose to like women.
That puts me at serious odds with many on the Right, but I don’t mind. Truth be told I’d trade the entire Religious Right for just half of the gay community. I’ve known gay people for most of my life, just as I have known deeply religious people – and I’ve learned that there are insufferable elements in both groups. For every drunken pair of homos humping each other at a gay pride parade there is the Westboro Church, and for every man-hating lesbian there is a preacher promising hellfire and damnation for me because I think the Bible is an interesting historical document, not the word of God.
When I read conservatives attacking gays, I get annoyed. I don’t just think that being gay is a lifestyle choice, I know it isn’t. No one would choose the path that my friends have. They didn’t choose to be kicked out of their families as teenagers. They didn’t choose to be beaten with baseball bats by homophobes crashing their parties. They didn’t choose to live in a society where they can only feel accepted in small neighborhoods in large cities. So when I read an otherwise solid piece questioning an attempt by some psychiatric professionals to “normalize” pedophilia, I get angry when it goes off the rails and equates it with homosexuality. “But, now, there should be no doubt that our culture is poised to begin embracing pedophilia as a lifestyle choice, just like homosexuality.” Just like Homosexuality?
The writer’s viewpoint was that the “normalization” of homosexuality was part of a slippery slope that lead to pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality, and other assorted horrors. The basis for his viewpoint was the following equation: two adult men or two adult women is the same thing, morally and spiritually, as a man and a child. I suppose one could argue that from the writer’s perspective, the homosexual – having chosen his “lifestyle” – is actually more responsible for his immorality than a pedophile who was born with (or developed later, it doesn’t matter) the craving for sex with children. This may also reflect the author’s bias that homosexuals support the decriminalization of sex with children, which is a common misconception spread by those who equate homosexuality with pedophilia.
I don’t see homosexuality on the same slope as pedophilia because the former is between two consenting adults; children are incapable of giving consent. So are sheep for that matter (sorry New Zealand). As for polygamy – meh. My brief encounters with it weren’t very enticing. Our camp cook had two wives, and inevitably he would end up upsetting one who would then run to the other and get her support – leading to his being nagged by two women instead of one.
Just as gays donned the civil rights mantle to legitimize their struggle for rights, I do foresee pedophiles attempting to use the success of gays becoming increasingly accepted in society as a tool to increase the legitimacy of sex with children. But the issue of consent props up the slope and prevents the acceptance of gays to become the acceptance of child rapists.
In fact pedophilia has more in common with crimes like rape and murder than homosexuality. Just as there is no consent between a child molester and his victim, there is no consent between a rapist and his victim or a murderer and hers. Consent is key. Are psychiatrists pushing to “normalize” rape and murder? As crazy as psychiatrists are, it’s doubtful. If not why not? Because of consent.
Without it there is pure anarchy. The strong pray upon the weak, civilization crumbles and the various dystopias portrayed in movies like Mad Max become reality. Consent is the bulwark that stops the slide of civilization into the abyss – and you don’t need to throw gays in with child molesters to do it.