Why ‘Virtuous Pedophiles’ will fail

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Today’s guest blogger, Stephen James, is well known here as regular commentator Stephen6000, whose succinct contributions often provide a sensible counterpoint (or antidote!) to some of the always welcome but often wild “thinking outside the box” we tend to see in the heretical comments here. He has also written for the NAMBLA Bulletin and for the Newgon web magazine Uncommon Sense. His logical approach is consistent with his work as a published author of formal philosophy. With Adam Powell, he was a joint founder of the unfortunately ill-fated Forum for Understanding Minor Attraction (FUMA), which fought a brave but losing battle to engage positively with mental health professionals. 

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First, the caveats. I am not setting out to condemn “Virtuous Pedophiles” (VP). In fact, when I read the introduction on their home page, I can scarcely find anything to disagree with. Many paedophiles do need the sort of help this group have to offer and it is very welcome they are there to offer it. Also, many questionable claims are made about VP that need rebutting. It is sometimes suggested, for example, that VP thinks paedophiles should regard themselves as mentally ill or “defective” in some way; but, as far as I can gather, this is not their view. (The introduction just referred to certainly carries no hint of it.) If we are going to criticise VP, it should be for what they actually maintain, not for what we merely imagine their views to be. But there is one thing in this introduction I do disagree with and that is the reference to “sexual abuse” –  for example, in the statement “But we can resist the temptation to abuse children sexually”. For reasons to emerge later, I think this term should be avoided, at least for non-coercive sexual contacts between adults and children.  (In this, I am in agreement with  Child Abuse as a Construct Reconsidered”, which is part of the famous academic study commonly known as the Rind Report.

Also, whenever we discuss if a project will be successful or not, we need to carefully consider what constitutes the bar for success. VP can almost certainly be successful – indeed, probably has already been – in terms of helping some MAPs feel better about themselves, leading possibly to fewer suicides. It can also persuade some open-minded people, those less susceptible to media propaganda, to see the plight of MAPs in a more sympathetic light. Some of these people are therapists, who may be persuaded to improve the way they deal with their minor-attracted clients. There will be a little less misery for MAPs as a result of all this.

But I get the impression that VP is hoping for more. I think they want to reach a point where most MAPs can live a “normal” life, which, in this context, we can perhaps interpret as meaning a life that is minimally impacted by the fact that they are MAPs, largely free of hatred and with broadly the same opportunities as non-MAPs enjoy. Now, I don’t deny the possibility of such a state of affairs coming about. What I do claim is that it won’t be achieved by VP’s tactics and I want to explain why.

VP will not discuss the moral standing of adult-child sex. They agree with mainstream society that it is simply wrong, period. So they do not challenge the view that if an adult has sex with a child, it is always a bad thing. This has some important consequences, which we can bring out by asking what kind of relationship between mainstream society and MAPs would be broadly acceptable to both.

Apart from a few “aromantic” MAPs, most want to form relationships with young people that are “loving” in the broadest sense. They would of course like (some of) these relationships to be sexual if this were possible; but, besides that, they would like to enjoy the company of youngsters in other everyday activities. In fact, I think we can go so far as to say this would be essential to their happiness. The question is: can mainstream society bring itself to accept this?

And the answer is surely no, as long as mainstream society continues to regard adult-child sex as intensely dangerous. Of course, some MAPs are quite capable of spending time with youngsters without either feeling tempted to initiate a sexual relationship with them or succumbing to that temptation if they are. But from the perspective of mainstream society, that is not good enough. They cannot tell who is and who is not “dangerous”. Therefore, though we may reach the point where it mostly does not wish to actively persecute MAPs (perhaps partly as a result of VP’s efforts), society will never accept MAPs freely associating with young people as long as it persists  in its belief that adult-child sex is intensely dangerous. At best, continuously supervised access will be allowed in some cases, and while that might be acceptable to some MAPs, I do not think many would be happy in such a restrictive situation, even if they have no sexual intentions regarding their young friends.

But once it is accepted that consensual adult-child sex is not intensely dangerous, that, indeed, it is not intrinsically harmful at all, then there is no general reason to try to prevent it from happening and it will then be possible for MAPs to have happy and fulfilling lives within mainstream society.

I can well imagine how a typical member of VP will react to this argument. There are likely to be two main responses. One is to say that mainstream  society is right: consensual adult-child sex is intrinsically harmful. (Or, relatedly, they may claim that consensual adult-child sex isn’t even possible, as children are incapable of consenting to sex with adults.) But, on these matters, the evidence seems to be on my side, not theirs. The second type of response they are likely to make is that the suggestion is politically naïve: even if it were the case (which they deny) that adult-child sex can be morally acceptable, mainstream society will never accept it; so the VP approach is the only one that is politically feasible.

And yet it is possible to change people’s minds about the moral standing of adult-child sex. This happened to a great extent in the Netherlands in the 1970s, with resulting legislative changes that modified age-of-consent restrictions in a liberal direction (though these were later repealed). This could happen again, if MAPs would unite in favour of the radical approach.

Of course, depending on one’s personal situation (and one’s level of bravery!), this has to be done very circumspectly in the current climate. I am certainly not advocating breaking any laws. I am suggesting that people do what they can to communicate the truth to others. I believe that if this were done, the needed reforms might eventually come about.

If they did, this would probably be a net benefit, not only to MAPs, but also to young people. When consensual adult-child sex does lead to harm, this seems to happen mainly because of the taboo against it. This is supported to some extent even by the literature of our opponents. I’m thinking especially of Susan Clancy’s The Trauma Myth, in which the author shows that in most cases the experience of sex with an adult is not unpleasant for the child at the time – psychological harm comes later in the form of guilt feelings, which are, of course, entirely dependent on there being a taboo. (This is why I argued above that the term “sexual abuse” should be abandoned for non-coercive cases, though this does not mean I think people should pursue such relationships under current legal and social circumstances.) Get rid of the taboo and the well-being of those children who enjoy sex with adults (and the adults they themselves will become) will be greatly improved.

I was very tentative in my statement above about the likelihood of success in bringing about the needed reforms. It is affected by many factors beyond our control. But of one thing I am certain, for the reasons explained earlier: the VP approach will definitely not yield more than very limited societal improvements either for MAPs or for children. Perhaps we need moderates as well as radicals to introduce new ideas to the public in a relatively non-threatening way. But, rather than VP, our moderates had better be of the kind represented by B4U-ACT, who are neutral on the moral standing of adult-child sex, otherwise they will undermine the radicals. If the only agenda is VP’s, I guarantee there will be no large-scale society-wide improvements in the plight of MAPs or the children whom they wish to be close to.

 

YOUTH SPEAK OUT ABOUT YOUTHLOVE

An earlier guest blogger here, the Japonist (hope that’s a reasonably accurate label of convenience!) who writes as “Peace”, reports the start of a new venture called “Kids Club anthologies”, the first such anthology being titled (no capital letters) out of the mouths of babes – youth speak out about youthlove.

The introduction begins:

Despite all of the noise from the anti, pro, and neutral side of youthlove, there is one group whose voice is often forgotten – youth themselves. Whether this is from an ageist assumption that youth don’t know what’s good for them or the unfortunate reality that youth don’t often get a chance to express their view in print media, it represents a glaring omission in most discussions of topics such as youthlove, the age of consent, and adult/youth relationships. A true discussion of these subjects can’t be had if only adults are granted a chance to speak.

As Peace explained to me in an email, the series will be anthologies of “rarer, hard-to-find, or more obscure pieces” written by paedophiles or about adult/youth relations, the age of consent, sexual attraction to youth, etc., “with each anthology following a theme of some sort”. This first one collects material from the late 70s to the mid 90s “written by gay boys and lesbians, self-proclaimed dykes and fags, feminists, youth liberationists, and groups for queer youth”.

It’s a great idea, not least because youngsters are no longer able to speak out so freely on sexual matters: censorship prevails. It’s a very different story when the topics are adult-approved, as will be seen from my next item below.

 

CHILDREN’S CLIMATE STRIKES GO GLOBAL

It’s fantastic, of course. Great to see and hugely inspiring. The mass movement of school kids out of the classroom and into political activism against climate change is now a global phenomenon. Marching on Friday with placards and banners bearing slogans such as “There is no Planet B” and “The sea is rising, so are we”, tens of thousands of children all around the world in over 100 countries took part in “strike” action to demand that the political elite urgently address the climate change emergency. Fantastic, too, that this action has attracted massive media attention, which will add significantly to the steadily mounting  pressure pushing climate change up the political agenda.

And not just fantastic but utterly amazing that this huge movement was started as recently as last August by schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, then just 15, when she started to skip school on Fridays to protest about climate change outside Sweden’s parliament. By December she was giving an impassioned speech at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland and a month later – after a long overland journey because she refused to go by environmentally unfriendly air travel – she berated the complacency of all the billionaires and other high rollers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urging them to “behave like our house is on fire, because it is.”

Quite rightly, Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I would be very happy for her to win except that she could have serious competition from other school kids, including Emma González and David Hogg, who responded swiftly to a massacre by a rampaging gunman last year at their Florida school. In the wake of the attack, instead of settling for the usual pious prayers and condolences offered by politicians running scared of the powerful gun lobby in the U.S., they vented their anger by demanding action on gun control. And they got it: a state bill was passed bringing in a range of important reforms to limit gun possession and its dangers, and Donald Trump was even forced to take some action (on “bump stops”) at the national level.

Such achievements are eminently worthy of acclaim and Heretic TOC should arguably have made this theme a lead item, not a relatively brief down-page affair. What I am concerned to avoid, though, is a phoney pretence that children – real children, if you will, as opposed to high school seniors such as González and Hogg, verging on adulthood, are in any position to be politically effective on their own. Even the somewhat younger Thunberg had a massive amount of support from adults – a younger child could hardly “run away” to Davos without parental and other help, much less get an invitation to speak there.

And they only know that climate change is so important because adults have taught them about it, probably in school. That’s great. It shows our schools are getting at least something right. But let’s not pretend it is about children’s innate wisdom or any such sentimental bullshit. Kids know more than anyone about their own lives and feelings, though. That is the area of their expertise and that is where there is real scope for thinking about how they might be accorded greater respect, and their agency acknowledged.

 

KINDLING FRESH INTEREST IN MY JACKSON BOOK

Bizarrely, I have been so busy that I find myself a couple of weeks late plugging the new Kindle edition (priced in U.S. dollars here) of my own book about the late King of Pop on my own blog!

I guess regular heretics here all know about Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons, which came out in 2010 shortly after the megastar’s death. Some will even have read it. They will be aware it is an enormous 624-page door-stopper of a tome, weighing in at over a kilo, making it an expensive affair to produce, to deliver, and to buy. In some far-flung parts of the world purchasers have had to part with sums a good deal north of £30 to secure a copy. Bless them, some have actually done just that: there has been a modest number of such customers from Austria to Australia and from Belgium to Brazil.

Now, though, the new Kindle e-book edition can be yours for barely more than a tenth of such an expensive outlay, at a very affordable £3.78 from Amazon in the UK and around $5 in the US. And it comes with a substantial new Preface written in the wake of the sensational Leaving Neverland documentary.

Readers will discover that it was not necessary to be a music industry insider, or otherwise close to Jackson, to discover a huge amount about his relationships with boys, long before the latest revelations and even before his trial: plenty of legal filings and other useful sources were in the public domain for those who cared to look, from the early 1990s onwards. In fact, as many other unofficial biographers have found, it is the insiders – especially family, and those with jobs and contracts to protect – who are most likely to circle the wagons and deny everything. Many of the relevant documents, including lengthy transcripts of interviews and phone calls featuring Jordan Chandler and his father Evan – who was the driving force behind the first allegations against Michael, against the wishes of his reluctant son – were scrutinised by me. These are featured in the book. Even Jordie’s Uncle Ray, and specialist Jackson bloggers such as Desiree Hill at mjfacts, have admitted that I was an assiduous and astute researcher. As for understanding Michael as a boy lover, there’s a lot to be said for the adage: “It takes one to know one”.

In terms of the depth of the book’s coverage, not to be found elsewhere, over 65 pages are devoted to the relationship between Michael and Jordie. Oddly, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons also includes a vastly more systematic and in-depth account of the 2005 trial than is to be found elsewhere, with well over 130 pages on this.

As for breadth, just count the boys!  Well over a dozen were clearly in “special friendships” with him over the years, including the Leaving Neverland boys: you will find plenty about Wade and Jimmy in the book, including strong early indications of their intimacy with the star. A staggering seventy boys are named in all – including three princes, no less! – along with reasons to place most of them among Michael’s more diffuse erotic entourage.

And just for good measure, I might throw in the fact that Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons got rave reviews from more professors (of psychiatry, psychology, cultural studies, you name it) than you could shake a Jacko crotch-grab at – not that you would want to!

 

LOUSE OF LORDS OR LOUSY JOURNALISM?

Those who read the comments here religiously will be aware of this item already: my headline echoes a much cleverer one in The Sun – credit where it’s due, the redtops do tend to be good at snappy puns.

Their most formidable skill, though, lies in knowing how to be deeply obnoxious even when the “story” is vanishingly thin, a gossamer concoction of loosely woven threads of non-story.

Let’s just consider the first couple of sentences:

Britain’s most notorious paedophile campaigner was treated to a plush champagne bash at the House of Lords. Twice-jailed Tom O’Carroll, 73, was among up to 60 guests who were thanked last December for donating money to a children’s book charity.

What’s the story? Essentially, that an old bloke did something that would normally be considered public spirited and praiseworthy: giving money to a worthy cause. A not very well-off bloke, actually, with no income beyond the humble state pension, so if The Sun had been disposed to tell the gospel truth there would have been a “widow’s mite” angle in it for them: see Luke 21:1-4. But it should come as no surprise that the generous spirit of Jesus, who praised the poor widow for giving her all, should be far from the thoughts of the tabloid take-down artists.

I did not give my all – just a bit more than I could sensibly afford, actually – so I can by no means claim anything like equal merit with the  biblical widow; but you might feel, as I do, that it’s a bit rich for The Sun to use this particular event, a reception to thank donors, as a stick with which to beat me.

God save us from SIN, because…

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Adam Powell, today’s guest blogger, was a co-founder of the Forum for Understanding Minor Attraction (FUMA), which engaged with mental health support services in the UK with a view to improving what was on offer to those of us with “an emotional and erotic attraction to children or adolescents below the age of consent”. FUMA pursued this objective from its founding in 2012 to the abandonment of this aim in 2017, largely over frustrations that former maths teacher Adam writes about here. He has since emigrated to the Netherlands. 

 

… POLITICALLY, WE ARE FAILING TO SAVE OURSELVES

I was acquainted with the UK branch of Stop it Now! (SIN) on and off from 2007 to 2015.

SIN began in the US and was founded by Frances Henry, who has said her father sexually assaulted her for four years, from age 12-16. She took it upon herself to visit men in prisons serving sentences for actual or perceived child sexual abuse. She went in to ask them one question: would they respond to therapy if it were offered? The overwhelming majority said they would. This is what she wanted to hear. It is also what I would expect them to say, having serious personal problems and wanting to get something off their chest; but I do not think that is what Henry had in mind.

SIN has spread its influence across the world to other countries including the UK and the Netherlands. The UK branch denies that minor attracted people exist. According to them, nobody is a paedophile. It is a “media stereotype”. They find the very idea that any adult person could be sexually attracted to a child preposterous in spite of many people telling them that this is the case. They believe a child has nothing to offer an adult. They have said on their website that they agree with Freud’s assertion that a child is a sexual being like anyone else, which would appear to contradict their salient message. It causes them consternation that an adult would have a social interest in children; when this is the case they tend to be judgmental and imagine there is something seriously wrong with that individual even if involves nothing sexual. They tend to see their own beliefs as axiomatic; somehow their own thinking is just “common sense”. It needs no explanation; anyone taking a contrary view must be either stupid or rebellious.

I think we need to look carefully at the context within which the UK branch operates, or did until at least 2015. There are significant differences between the UK and NL branches. SIN UK is a charity that works closely with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) which has similar goals. They are being run by much the same people but for accounting purposes have to be treated separately. SIN struggles to raise money from members of the general public because MAPs do not attract much sympathy. Their staff have experienced a lot of flak too. They survive on government grants. Although strictly speaking a charity, SIN UK is a quasi non-governmental organisation. The government is outsourcing its duty of care for minor attracted persons to a charity, when I think the National Health Service should show greater responsibility. Neither SIN or LFF can say anything other than what the government wants to hear, so it is inevitably an abusive organisation reflecting the abusive attitudes of the government and of the wider public. If the staff at SIN were to move to the Netherlands and experience a different ethos they might learn a more compassionate response.

Baroness Lucy Faithfull was a Conservative member of the House of Lords, in which capacity she campaigned for MAPs to receive treatment aimed at a “cure”. This was absurd. Baroness Faithfull should have known that various attempts to “cure” gays had little success and caused enormous psychological damage to those involved. By repeating a broadly similar behaviourist approach but without electric shocks (which were outlawed in the UK in the 1980s) Baroness Faithfull should have been able to foresee that any attempts to “help” people who said that they were minor attracted was likely to have similarly disastrous results.

I think that the Baroness was just as naive as Frances Henry in believing that whatever your problem is, the answer somehow lies in counselling. This is the context within which SIN and child protection “professionals” work. They seem to believe that their moral judgement is enough for them to provide therapeutic services for others. I appreciate that moral judgement is necessary for us to make sense of our lives and to prevent us from harming ourselves and others but moral judgement is always made on the basis of inadequate knowledge.

Here lies the problem with SIN and their fellow travellers. They seldom allow themselves the luxury of accepting that they are frequently wrong, misled and shallow. Things that they see as axiomatic such as “adults are more powerful than children” are not always true. Sometimes a child is more powerful than an adult, within their own orbit. SIN UK is part of a wider movement that wants to see the complex questions about nature and the universe reduced to a few simple axioms, because they imagine this will make the world a happier place. They cannot have what they want so they tend to direct their anger at their clients.

They also have to work closely with the police, probation, child protection agencies, survivors’ groups, the media and mental health professionals, so they have to sing the tune these people want to hear even when it is contradictory. I think people have a better understanding now of the limitations of psychology (which were shown by John De Cecco in an interview with  Joseph Geraci in Paidika (Vol. 1 No.3, Winter 1988), in which he explained that psychology has sold its soul to money. The psychological opinions one gets depend on how much you are willing to pay for them, making the psychological community look very corrupt. One also hears stories about intimidation in British universities of academics who do not say what the government or wider public want to hear. I wonder if an honest psychologist is employable in this country?

I wonder how well SIN understand this? Very controversially they recruited Ray Wyre, who promoted himself as “the national expert on paedophilia”. At the time, Wyre had a background as a probation officer but with no directly relevant qualifications and no peer-reviewed publications to his name. He became the adviser to LFF and SIN. He was not without controversy. As a probation officer he had booked his meetings with sex offenders in groups. He did not ask either higher authority or the offenders themselves for permission to do this. He used this as a stepping stone to introduce sex offenders’ programmes imported from North America devised by Bill Marshall. These programmes are highly abusive mainly because they attempt to re-programme the mind to suit the state, as in the novel A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (later film version directed by Stanley Kubrick). Inspired by Marshall, Wyre wrote a residential programme lasting nine months which was delivered by LFF/SIN. More seriously, Wyre was pre-occupied by MAPs who committed murder and was seeking to develop an hypothesis linking minor attraction and murder.

Initially, in 1992, they tried to open the Gracewell Clinic in Birmingham. Locally, this caused outrage because as a “progressive step” Wyre wanted to open the clinic next door to a children’s hospital. Even Lucy Faithfull had her doubts. Thankfully, the ghastly idea was shelved but in 1996 the Wolvercote Clinic opened in Epsom, Surrey. This clinic survived for six years and was confronted by local people waving placards saying what they would like to do to the clients and others like them. SIN/LFF were very dismissive of local concerns. They are also similarly dismissive whenever MAPs complain about the hatred and stigma they experience on a daily basis even though they have often witnessed this and know that people have been murdered because it was perceived that they were minor attracted. Their excuse is that whenever a “newspaper” screams extreme hatred about an “evil monster” it is not aimed at say, Adam Powell, but the reality of the media is that they promote hatred against all MAPs. There is an absurdity within British culture. On the one hand British people hold the media in very low regard indeed but then quote media prejudices as being absolute truth.

SIN believe that sex offending is a “learned behaviour” that can be “unlearned”. Such a statement is absurd because all behaviour is learned and no behaviour can be unlearned. For example, to be able to play the piano one first needs to learn how to play the piano and once learned the skill is not forgotten but may benefit from occasional practice. SIN make a practice of making sweeping statements that on examination make no sense such as “minor attraction cannot possibly exist because reciprocity in a relationship is important to me and a child can give nothing back”

When asked to explain their thinking, they attribute sex offending to exposure to violence. So a rapist, for example, probably will have greater exposure to violence than the general public. They then, very dishonestly categorise all sex offenders with the rapist and create an impression that all sex offenders are motivated by violence, which is clearly not the truth, whereas if they looked at sub-categories individually they would get different results.

It is like making the general observation that poverty is the most frequent cause of financial dishonesty and then claiming that a banker who commits fraud is motivated by poverty.  They like asserting that sex offending is not a mental illness and indeed it is not, but minor attraction is listed in DSM-5 as being a mental disorder (albeit not automatically so). This undermines SIN in two ways. First it shows that mental health professionals accept that minor attraction exists (even if the UK government refuses to accept this) and secondly SIN is seriously under-qualified to deal with these matters. When shown this, they become dismissive, seeing the work of psychiatrists more talented than themselves as a work of “American indulgence”.

Their tactic is to manipulate their clients into the belief that the client’s parents and others of significance are to blame for the client’s sex offending. Their reason for this is to preserve their own belief that if a person feels motivated towards adult-child sexual behaviour (even if it is only holding hands) there must be something very badly wrong with that person. Clearly “counselling” does not cause minor attraction to go away and the “therapist” systematically torments the client for admitting that they have these feelings. Their goal is to instil guilt so that the client develops a social phobia to the extent that they cannot travel on buses or trains or go to shops where children are present. According to SIN, this phobia is “empowerment”. According to them, anyone who experiences sexual feelings towards children does so by choice, because the client is not obliged to be wherever the child is. They also become personally abusive at this point, asserting that people choose to be minor attracted because they are low status among their “peer group” (although they cannot define what a peer group is) and then choose to be friendly with children (which then becomes sexualised) because this is “safer for them than seeking to develop relationships with adults”. SIN think that they have an educative role in “teaching” people to have “rewarding relationships” with adults. They seem to imagine that relationships are about “social skills” rather than falling in love, and they seem to think they can teach “social skills” even though they themselves are frequently rude.

SIN UK also view singles as people who are not fully fledged adults. They think that single MAPs should have adult partners; they fail to think through issues such as how the adult partner feels about minor attraction or whether the relationship gives access to children within the partner’s family.  For them, the most important thing in life is about “fitting in” suggesting they would persecute gays if this was necessary to “fit in”.

As they do not believe minor attraction exists, they cannot accept either that people can have paedophilic feelings but not act on them. They completely misunderstand homosexuality too. I remember a member of staff complaining to me that she could not understand what I was talking about when mentioning the combination of gay and celibate. In their imagination, anyone who is gay is homosexually active; so a child cannot be gay because they are “too young for that”. Due to their lack of separation between sexual attraction and sexual activity, they cannot accept that it is possible for a minor attracted person to live a responsible life as an MAP. They think MAPs must erase these emotions. SIN UK admitted that they have had complaints from clients alleging aggravation of existing mental health disorders (but still think there is a higher point of principle at stake). They also have difficulty understanding why a man sexually attracted to boys would describe himself as gay and minor attracted. For them being gay is adult-to-adult only. They don’t bother reading DSM, for example, which explains that homosexuality is sexual attraction between persons of the same sex and that age does not come into it.

Their rejection of minor attraction is partly because of perceived power difference; but power difference exists in all relationships, so objecting to power difference in relationships is opposition to all relationships. SIN become dismissive when this is explained to them and their response is to defend their own marriages as having equality of power. Even if this were true, it might not remain so. What if one partner happened to be in a car crash, was unable to work again and was left  dependant on their spouse for care? Such questions to SIN are dismissed as “unhelpful”. They do not seem to understand that power differences are not a problem when people sincerely love each other.

I have spoken a lot about SIN UK but I think that SIN NL is a good deal better than this. They do for example, accept that some people through no choice or fault of their own or anybody else’s are minor attracted and need to live responsible lives as MAPs and navigate a lot of stigma and ignorance. I remember a staff member of SIN UK becoming angry when I pointed this out and they become personally insulting.

Much of what they say is prefixed with “society says”. They get quite agitated when one points out that until a few years ago society hated gays for being gay and that one should not jump onto a bandwagon just because it has majority support. Their answer is that they don’t equate the two things, but then neither do I. They simply refuse to accept that if they repeat discredited behaviourist techniques that have failed with gays they will fail again, causing untold misery.

For all the controversy, SIN NL appears to be a much more humane organisation than its British equivalent. They work closely with Dr Frans Gieles and with JORis, a Dutch MAP group; JON is its counterpart in a different part of the country. They have shared ideas and materials. I do believe, however, that the only reason MAPs are treated with even a modicum of respect in the Netherlands is thanks to the pioneering work of Edward Brongersma and Frits Bernard. Until recently, MAPs had more political power in the NL than in the UK. Here lies the issue, in my opinion. Minor attraction is a political problem in need of a political solution and unfortunately, I do not think that things will get any better for MAPs without organising politically.

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