Red Maria usefully reprints the entirely unrecanted words of Peter "Kill The Pope" Tatchell:
Ros Coward (Why Dares to Speak says nothing useful, June 23) thinks it is “shocking” that Gay Men’s Press has published a book, Dares To Speak, which challenges the assumption that all sex involving children and adults is abusive. I think it is courageous.
The distinguished psychologists and anthropologists cited in this book deserve to be heard. Offering a rational, informed perspective on sexual relations between younger and older people, they document examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal, beneficial and enjoyable by old and young alike.
Prof Gilbert Herdt points to the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea, where all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood. Far from being harmed, Prof Herdt says the boys grow up to be happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers.
The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.
While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.
To whom we may add:
- Roman Polanski;
- Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt, who ran the National Council for Civil Liberties when it was passing resolutions in support of the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation, and when it was publishing calls to legalise and destigmatise sex between adults and children;
- Stephen Fry, author of The Liar and The Hippopotamus, both of which glorify sex between men and teenage boys, exactly the acts that have brought scandal on the Catholic Church;
- successive Chairmen and Controllers of Channel Four, in its dramatic output a relentless, publicly owned campaigner in favour of such acts;
- Germaine Greer, author of The Boy, a book-length celebration of the sexual fetishisation of the adolescent male by both men and women;
- Richard Dawkins, who in The God Delusion describes having been sexually abused as a child as "an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience";
- Philip Pullman, whose famous trilogy concludes with sexual intercourse between two children aged about 12, and who has repeatedly denounced the absence of sexual content in the Narnia novels;
- the numerous Social Services Departments that ran homes in which, at the same time as the Church was hushing up sex between men and teenage boys on the part of a small number of priests - and thus, however imperfectly, indicating disapproval of it - such behaviour was absolutely endemic, with major figures in that world publishing academic studies, used for many years in the training of social workers, which presented it as positively beneficial to both parties and therefore actively to be encouraged; and
- the Police, who long ago stopped enforcing the age of consent from 13 upwards; as with their non-enforcement of the drugs laws, one really does have to ask for whose benefit that is.
Among many, many, many others.
What's that you say? They do not purport to be moral authorities? Really? I dare you to say that to their faces.