Today I was listening to a rather heated conversation about alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos. Apparently, he was alleged to have spoken with an online broadcast about his sexual relationships at an early age with older men. The conversation went over the top, so to speak, and became a cross over the line where Yiannopoulos eludes to himself and his priest engaged in a sort of sexual circumstance when he was a pre-teen. Naturally, this is a profoundly disturbing revelation, but Milo does raise an interesting perspective and disturbing information about consent in America, the definition of classical pedophilia, and how homosexuality is labeled.
I am in no way defending pedophilia or Milo Yiannopoulos’s extreme rhetoric. However, he began this taboo conversation with some nearly correct facts. He was correct that pedophilia is listed for a child that is under the age of thirteen years old. The age of consent in America significantly differs state to state and is widely misunderstood. But most conservative Americans tend to create this false impression that homosexuality is linked to pedophilia. Because of what Yiannopoulos said I am confident that the religious right will once again begin to label the LGBT community as a precursor to pedophilia. Milo said, “if I were 15 and experimented with another boy a year older than I then we are freaks. But when a straight couple the same age does the same thing they are coming of age.” He is correct there is a division of standards between the straight and homosexual community.
Let’s face facts. Milo knows how to cleverly troll the internet and media to begin a conversation – even if it’s the wrong way to start a discussion. But I chose to listen beyond the filth and shock to the story of many talking points of the LGBT community. Honestly, there is a divide in our nation with the LGBT age of consent standards. For example, in New Hampshire, West Virginia, and many other states the age of consent between a straight couple is 16 years of age. But the law in these states and others makes it illegal for a gay or lesbian couple to consent until age 18. North Carolina and other states have similar laws. Naturally, there will be either LGBT members remain in the closet until they are adults or the sex offender registry will continue to demonstrate a disproportionate amount of LGBT members because of outdated laws. So basically to combat the age of consent law many states raised the legal consent age to 18 making the slightest form of sexual contact a felonious crime. Maybe we can learn a lesson from our neighbors in France, United Kingdom and Germany where the age of consent is 16 regardless of the other individual’s age. But of course, they teach sex ed in schools where we are nearly forbidden to do so. Instead, you read your taboo sex discussions on internet boards. So much for America setting the standard.
Homosexuality in America will continue to become labeled with misinformation and slander as long as constructive sexual discussions remain hidden from view. Dr. Ruth was once a household name on television. She discussed many sexual behaviors but eventually was taken off the air mainly in part by conservatives that felt her educational comments and suggestions shouldn’t be heard during peak broadcast hours. Ruth was eventually moved to cable during the late 1990’s losing the critical audience she should have been talking to all along. I fear that Milo’s comments will hurt the gay & lesbian communities. Some people only hear what they want to hear and that may be “a gay man talked about his pedophilia experience” or something out of context but similar. That trolling moment is what scares me and how it can become similar to the debunked Hillary Clinton Pizzagate conspiracy.