If you've been anywhere on social media recently, you've probably seen various posts about pedophilia and how some people are claiming it is a sexuality and belongs in the LGBTQ+ community.
Many people agree and think that this is an insane idea and have been shutting it down nonstop. However, there are people who actually believe this argument.
Ignorant claims like this put our equal rights and progression at a standstill.
Instead of fighting for the right to a fair adoption or protesting the treatment of trans people, we are fighting to prove that pedophiles are not us and we are not pedophiles. This argument is almost laughable because it is so ridiculous, but it is also very sad.
It is sad to think that there are people in this world who view our community like this. It is sad that we are having to fight this. It is sad that pedophiles and abusers are getting attention drawn to them. And it is sad that this is our new battle of 2018.
But nonetheless, we will fight the ignorance as we always have.
Sexual Orientation is defined as "a person's sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted; the fact of being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual," and Gender Identity is defined as "a person's perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex."
Although these terms may be confusing for some, here is a simple fact that everyone should understand: "child" is not a gender. Therefore, the definition of sexual orientation cannot even be compared to pedophilia and neither can gender identity. Being attracted to a child is not the same as being attracted to a certain gender or sex.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where rape, sexual assault, and abuse is common. These things still exist in heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc relationships. But besides that, sex is consensual in these relationships. Two people are attracted to each other regardless of their gender, and they are choosing to be with one another, love one another, and may have sex with one another if that is what they chose.
But a child cannot make this choice.
That is why the age of consent is anywhere from 16-18 depending on your state. A toddler cannot willingly choose to have sex. A 5th grader is not emotionally or mentally able to fall in love or truly understand what it means. Pedophiles are abusers. They are sick, they need help, they should not be supported, and they should not be given the media attention this argument is giving them.
Although it is mainly out of ignorance, the people who view pedophiles and the LGBTQ+ community as the same are pushing a very homophobic and transphobic agenda. Our community is becoming more outcasted than we already are. Claims like this make it very hard to be out and proud in public.
Arguments like this also make it hard for people to come out in general because they fear rejection or could possibly fear for their life. Especially the trans members of our community who are already seen as "freaks." They are already compared to pedophiles and now with things like this in the media, transphobia is even more common.
We need to put a stop to this argument, educate others, and fight ignorance and homo/transphobia with love just like our community always has.
If you see a post on Facebook or overhear a conversation about this topic, speak up and defend your LGBTQ+ family. Educate the people around you, try your best to protect the trans people in your life, bring attention to better LGBTQ+ media, don't stop fighting for other key issues our community faces, and if anything, please don't stay silent.