- I am sexually attracted to grown men.
- I am not sexually attracted to children.
Simple, yes? Well, not if you are a fear-mongering homophobe who wants to equate homosexuality with pedophilia to advance your own hateful religious agenda.
Dr. Steven Hotze, president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas wants you to believe that "homosexual marriage" is a "mirage" that is, in actually, a way to force children into "anal sodomy." Hotze warns that children "will be encouraged by their teachers to participate in anal sex and homosexual activities." Why? "This is so that the homosexual political movement can easily recruit children into their evil, wicked activities."
I suppose it bears repeating: Adult gay men are sexually attracted to other grown men, not boys.
When I was fighting for the legalization of same-sex marriage, it was because I wanted to marry a man. A grown man. It was not because I secretly wanted to recruit kindergarteners into my evil, wicked activities. I have absolutely no agenda to make teachers encourage children to participate in anal sex.
Many pedophiles are grown men who sexually abuse girls. Does Dr. Hotze want you to believe that heterosexual male teachers are preying on their young female students? No. Why not? Because it does not advance his personal, hateful agenda.
Dr. Hotze is not a well-known figure and, perhaps, his opinions will not affect many people. But this "gays = pedophiles" argument is also being used on bigger stages. Just this week, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker announced his run for president, and he also declared his support of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay leaders because it "protected children." Walker, wanting to grab attention and court conservative voters, was intimating that gay Boy Scout leaders were sexual predators. After receiving heavy criticism for this remark, he backtracked and claimed that he did not mean the boys needed "physical protection." Rather, they needed protection from "the political and media discussion about it."
Um, OK, yeah. I am sure that is what you meant, governor. If you genuinely want to protect boys from the political and media discussion about homosexuality, then why don't you stop instigating political discussion about homosexuality in the media?
Boys do not need special protection from gay men. What they do need is protection from the kind of bigotry and prejudice that comes from men like Hotze and Walker who are fooling the general public for political gain. This kind of public hate speech filters down into the lives of young people. The result? Children are being bullied, harassed and terrorized because they are gay or transgender. A new GLSEN report, citing lack of effective policies to counteract these problems, highlights the need for more effective remedies.
Thankfully, there are people who want to protect kids from the hatred they encounter. People like Minnesota Senator Al Franken who, this week, introduced an amendment to make discrimination against LGBT youth unlawful. Citing violence and suicide, Sen. Franken wanted to "provide LGBT kids with the same legal remedies available to other kids under our federal civil rights laws."
Did this non-discrimination amendment pass? No. Why? 45 Republican senators voted against it. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) agreed that bullying and harassment of children "based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity is a terrible problem," but he urged his fellow senators to vote against the amendment. He offered no help to alleviate the problem.
Some conservative political leaders want you to believe that gay men are a threat to children. They choose to turn away from actual problems facing kids in American schools. In doing so, they are perpetuating the obstacles that LGBT youth must face every day.
Stop pointing fingers at gay men. We are not nefarious evildoers hell-bent on defiling children. We are not seeking the fall of Western civilization. Conservative bigotry and fear-mongering are the real threats to American kids, not us.