by Dan Savage
on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM
I am a minor-attracted person and I found your advice that you gave to CWIA about his attraction to minors entitled "Another Gold-Star Pedophile" dated March 7, 2012, to be inaccurate and hurtful. You pride yourself to be a pioneer in helping people and in particular launching the "It Gets Better" project that tries to help teens avoid suicide. I would like to ask you the following questions:
1. Would you have given this advice to a person attracted to adults of their same sex?
2. How would you have felt if CWIA was a teen instead? Would you have given them the same advice? Would you been concerned at all about how that would have made them feel?
3. What would you have said to a teen who came to you with this concern?
I feel that the advise that you and Dr. Cantor have given is extremely hurtful. People who are attracted to minors like myself are not concerned about offending. We are concerned about loving relationships with children. I believe that people like you who are attracted to adults of the same sex were in the same situation like us a couple of decades ago, and unfortunately until now, hence your "It Gets Better" project. Prejudice and phobia do not need a specific target. The problem is not in who we are, it is in this innate quality of the people who persecute us.
Your advice is absolutely wrong and has no place in accepting people for who they are.
Looking Forward To Your Answers
My response after the jump...
2. My advice would have been the same even if CWIA were a teenager: people who are attracted to children are not monsters. Pedophiles don't choose to be attracted to children anymore than gays and lesbians choose to be attracted to same-sex partners, heterosexuals choose to be attracted to opposite-sex partners, or bisexuals choose to be attracted to both sexes. But unlike gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and heterosexuals who attracted to other adults, it is impossible for a pedophile to engage in sexually intimate behavior with a preferred partner—a child—without committing rape. Prepubescent children are incapable of consenting to sex. Period. The End. Fin. I believe that we should not place obstacles in the paths of pedophiles, regardless of age, who are seeking the support they need to avoid offending. Indeed, I think we should make that help available to pedophiles without charge. And I believe that pedophiles (or "minor-attracted persons") who have not offended—men and (more rarely) women who have successfully battled their sexual attraction to children—deserve credit, not condemnation.
3. Seems like the same question again, LFTYA, but here goes: Pedophiles have my sympathy—pedophiles who have not offended—but my message to pedophiles is the same regardless of their ages: your desires, which you did not choose, can never be realized.
And a bonus letter/update...
I don't know if you remember me, but I wrote in, I think, in 2002, and my handle was SADBOY. Here's the column my letter appeared in and you had more advice for me in a followup column.
Well, anyway, I just wanted to say I appreciate that in the last year you've run a few more columns about people who are having trouble with pedophilia and you handled it in a kind way. (You also did a podcast on the subject.) I wish I could've had it together as much as the other writers when I wrote in, but I was only 20 at the time and I remember thinking that writing you was my last hope for getting any feedback, or any kind of help or answers about that issue. I was so confused and scared back then.
I just wanted to tell you that I didn't become a teacher. I gave that idea up, thankfully. I pretty much gave up all hope in ever being any kind of helper to kids. In the almost 10 years since I wrote you, I've been through a lot of therapy and things. I haven't touched or anything like that, either. I told my family in 2005 because one of my siblings was going to have a child and I panicked. Now I actually have an adult partner of almost three years. We are in love and I'm working on being physically attracted to him and it's getting better every day. He is understanding of my situation and is a wonderful person.
I just wanted to say that you responded correctly to what I said. I was clueless. Thank you for running my letter back then, it really helped me wake up.