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adults or the sex offender registry will continue to demonstrate a disproportionate amount of LGBT members because of outdated laws.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.
In all honesty, I have never read or looked at the conservative Breitbart website. Another blog follower recently sent me a YouTube clip from a Breitbart Editor named Milo Yiannopoulos. At first, my fine-tuned gaydar went off, but I was thinking to myself “a gay conservative?” I kept listening and actually couldn’t believe my ears. But then I stopped myself short of becoming somewhat like sheep and falling into the trap of listening to sound bites to sought out more of a full speech site to make my final determination.
Folks, it is no hidden fact that I am very liberal. But in certain situations, I cannot follow the party line all of the time. I remember my time as a college student senator where I vehemently voted against an expensively overpriced Talley Student Center. I was the liberal that was trying to save students money and stop a student government organization and faculty from continually practicing campus cronyism (which continues to practice). My lone ‘no’ student senate vote was squashed because the “sheep” of student government wanted to impress school leadership and its compeer relationships disregarding a popular vote against funding a new Talley Center. I remember distinctly hearing other student senators and campus faculty advisors that wanted to control, accuse, intimidate, or impeach me because I didn’t follow the majority in student government and campus administration. An apparent blow to democracy and similar to those that protest Yiannopoulos at his campus events. Back to Yiannopoulos.
When I heard this guy speak I couldn’t help but think he is lecturing in an unfiltered manner. Of course, he is popular because he is voicing and rallying against the very institutions that have created safe spaces or the practice of becoming sheep before the slaughter. Do I support everything Yiannopoulos says? No. However, I do subscribe that he brings an excellent and compelling argument that both sides should have an opportunity to be heard. Do I think Yiannopoulos is a member of the Alt-Right or supports white supremacy? Emphatically no! What I do think he does, and efficiently but perhaps not academically, trigger what we have hidden as our inner voice and begin to reassess if that voice is not being challenged effectively. Naturally, Yiannopoulos has a trolling way of inciting a discussion and keeping his cool. What seems to occur on nearly a frequent basis is opposing audience members fall prey to appearing self-centered in hopes they are viewed as social justice warriors with poor to sad results. One thing I will say positive about Yiannopoulos is that his assessment of the Republican and Democratic U.S. parties are spot on. He has plausible arguments about Title IX laws (as I previously blogged about). I can see where he has an active following. But let me be clear, Yiannopoulous doesn’t represent either major political party in the United States. Instead, he focuses on the whitewash of policies that may have strayed from the original design that favor particular groups or interests. The design of system policies should avoid fluctuating for protected classes. Rather policy should be designed to equally and adequately safeguard and preserve all matters with the same level of scrutiny.
A problem for liberals like myself is that a majority of those that represent the left fail to properly listen to the opposing side and try to learn from its perspective. I, on the other hand, seek to follow my conscience and levels of compromise to look for a middle ground. This is the art of diplomacy and something we should learn to re-engage with. Sure it’s heated. Sure it’s divisive. Yes, sometimes it becomes personal. But hopefully, we walk away after the debate that we can build a bridge towards compromise or understanding. Yiannopoulous said something rather interesting in one of his videos. He mentioned that two of the top billed comedians wouldn’t appear on college campuses because “college kids are too politically correct.” He is right that we have become a society of censorship and liberalism with its importance of equality and creativity is being redefined as an a la carte safe space where laughter is punishable. This concerns me and should concern you. I am still a liberal and human with good intended qualities. My hope is that you will be human too and allow speech to continue regardless of our differences.