Not a Negligible Injustice: How MAP Activism can Save the World

In contemporary discussions about systems of privilege and oppression, the situation of MAPs in society is very rarely mentioned, let alone explored on more than a surface level. It appears as if even people who are aware of the ways in which MAPs are being persecuted often don’t give this injustice as much weight as they do to other social issues. This view seems to be based on the assumption that MAPs are an insignificantly small minority whose stigmatization just happens to be collateral damage caused by an uneducated public, seemingly disconnected from other forms of discrimination, such as sexism or racism, and is thus less valueable to analyze and dismantle. “Sure,” they say, in the rare instances they deem their neglect worthy of any note, “MAP activism might help some depressed people, but aren’t there much larger problems society faces right now?”

In this blog post, I’ll look at reasons for why perspectives that recognize the struggle of MAPs as being as vital as the struggle of other disenfranchised groups are urgently needed by first engaging with arguments for why MAPs ought to to be included in discourses about broader social contexts in general, before I’ll focus on a few specific areas (gender, race, and age) that’ll hopefully give further insight as to why MAPs can’t be ignored without risking a plethora of problematic consequences.

In her 1990 book “Epistemology of the Closet,” queer theorist Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick famously asserts that:

“[A]n understanding of virtually any aspect of modern Western culture must be, not merely incomplete, but damaged in its central substance to the degree that it does not incorporate a critical analysis of modern homo/heterosexual definition”

As I’ll argue in the following, I believe that the same can be said about a lack of analysis regarding the relationship between minor attraction and teleiophilia. Without an awareness and inclusion of the voices and experiences of MAPs, research, art, fiction, and other works will in many cases inevitably reinforce harmful ideas about not only MAPs, but also other sexual/romantic identities, gender, race, and disability.

I hope another quote from Sedgwick’s book cited above will be helpful in starting to investigate the relevance of the experiences of MAPs:

“[S]exuality extends along so many dimensions that aren’t well described in terms of the gender of object-choice at all. […] Some of these other dimensions of sexuality have had high diacritical importance in different historical contexts (e.g., human/animal, autoerotic/alloerotic). Others, like adult/child object choice, visibly do have such importance today, but without being very fully subsumed under the hetero/homosexual binarism.”

While I agree with Sedgwick that in today’s society gender is perceived as the dominant category with respect to a person’s sexual/romantic identity, and that sexual/romantic identities which are based on other dimensions, like for example age or species, are usually ignored in many contexts, I also think that this invisibility doesn’t imply that they are a subsidiary matter. In fact, identities are generally made invisible precisely because the dominant culture recognizes their existence as a threat to its current state.

In “Against Proper Objects,” gender theorist Judith Butler offers a critical perspective on Sedgwick’s position by contrasting it with that of anthropologist Gayle Rubin:

“Toward the end of this short theoretical conclusion of the ‘Thinking Sex’ essay, Rubin returns to feminism in a gestural way, suggesting that ‘in the long run, feminism’s critique of gender hierarchy must be incorporated into a radical theory of sex, and the critique of sexual oppression should enrich feminism. But an autonomous theory and politics specific to sexuality must be developed.’ […] The contemporary appropriation of this position for founding lesbian and gay studies thus reduces the expansive category of sexual minorities to the representation of one group of members on the list. According to the logic of Rubin’s argument, it would be as wrong to claim that gender can only or best be understood in the context of class (as some Marxists have argued) as it would be to claim that sexuality can only or best be understood in the context of gender (as some feminists have argued). By extension, it would be equally fallacious to claim that sexuality is only or best understood in the context of lesbian and gay studies. Indeed, according to Rubin’s logic, sexuality is no more likely to receive a thorough analysis under the rubric of lesbian and gay studies than it is under that of feminist studies. […] By separating sexuality from gender in this way, Sedgwick also restricts the scope of Rubin’s coalitional understanding of ‘sexual minorities.'”

Furthermore, as historian Elise Chenier points out in her 2011 article “The Natural Order of Disorder: Pedophilia, Stranger Danger and the Normalising Family“:

“As a social construction, the pedophile persists because it plays an important ideological function in modern society: it affirms the white, middle-class, ‘traditional’ heterosexual family as the ideal site for the production and reproduction of social and political norms.”

This production and reproduction of norms, then, can only be addressed, questioned, and challenged most effectively when there’s an understanding of the MAP/non-MAP binary that currently exists in Western cultures (see Freimond for a critique of this binary) , and thus, necessarily, an inclusion of the views of MAPs in discourses about other social struggles. Without this inclusion, cissexism, ableism, prejudices against gay people, and other systemic problems can’t be understood completely as they’ll be missing a key component of how society functions. In addition, androcentrism, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, teleionormativity, and other norms directly contribute to the separation of different marginalized groups, since they influence the perception they have of each other. For instance, when most people think of a pedophile they have the “image” of a white, male, cis, and otherwise privileged person in mind, while when most people think of a woman, they have the “image” of a teleiophilic, cis, white, heterosexual person in mind. Tendencies like these can often lead people to downplay the oppression other groups experience, and to overlook intersectional solidarity.

To now look at how missing pedophilic perspectives is problematic in a less abstract sense, one field that I feel could benefit a lot from more perspectives from MAPs is gender studies. Similar to e.g. lesbian and gay people, due to their attractions not fitting into heteronormative standards, MAPs have unique insight into how society sees gender (see a previous blog post for a more detailed discussion on this). As Paternotte relates in his 2014 article “The International (Lesbian and) Gay Association and the question of pedophilia: Tracking the demise of gay liberation ideals,” the value in learning from MAPs about issues related to gender has been acknowledged for decades:

“A discussion paper prepared by the COC [the oldest existing LGBT organization in the world] on request of the 1980 Barcelona conference and discussed at the 1981 Torre Pelice conference, which relied on an earlier decision by the COC annual congress […] urged homosexuals to show their solidarity with pedophiles, particularly because both groups suffer from normative compulsory heterosexuality, and maintains that ‘a successful homo-emancipation should include pedo-emancipation’.”

This negative experience with normative compulsory heterosexuality can sometimes lead to certain advantages, as professor Judith/Jack Halberstam points out with the concept of low theory in “The Queer Art of Failure” as described by her/his Wikipedia article:

“Low theory is a term that Halberstam borrows from cultural theorist Stuart Hall, using it to undermine heteronormative definitions of success and to argue that failure to live up to societal standards can open up more creative ways of thinking and being in the world. Halberstam points out that queer and feminine success is always measured by male, heterosexual standards. The failure to live up to these standards, Halberstam argues, can offer unexpected pleasures such as freedom of expression and sexuality.”

This is also discussed by the 2017 Master’s Thesis “The Politics of being a Pedophile“:

“Judith Halberstam provides in her book ‘The Queer Art Of Failure’ (2011) an excellent insight into the different queer ways of being in the world and being in relation to others. Halberstam challenges options for success in heteronormative capitalist Western societies and seeks out the alternatives of being between a cynical resignation to the structures of society or a naïve optimism with no concern for the structures (Halberstam 2011:1). […] When trying to understand my informants’ narrative effort of unbeing – their resistance to become the people society expects them to become – I find Judith Halberstam’s positive outlook on ‘failing’ to be an excellent way of understanding such narratives. For Halberstam, ‘failure’ is just yet another form of being or unbeing in the world, and rather than understanding ‘failure’ through the hegemony that classifies behavior and identity as such, we should understand that: ‘failure allows us to escape the punishing norms that discipline behavior and manage human development with the goal of delivering us from unruly childhoods to orderly and predictable adults.’ (Ibid:3). […]
Even though [my informants’] narratives might be narratives of ‘failure’, as they seem to include no standards and norms for a right way of being in Western societies, the stories are, however, still told to ‘escape the punishing norms that discipline behavior’ and thus provide a meaningful way of living in the world as a minor attracted person.”

Yet, challenging gender norms and heteronormativity isn’t an easy task, as not adhering to them even slightly can cause extreme reactions. According to the Wikipedia article about “homophobia”*:

“In some cases, the works of authors who merely have the word ‘Gay’ in their name (Gay Talese, Peter Gay) or works about things also contain [sic] the name (Enola Gay) have been destroyed because of a perceived pro-homosexual bias. […] The taunting of boys seen as eccentric (and who are not usually gay) is said to be endemic in rural and suburban American schools, and has been associated with risk-taking behavior and outbursts of violence (such as a spate of school shootings) by boys seeking revenge or trying to assert their masculinity.”

Consequently, prejudices against those who don’t fulfill heteronormative expectations, including MAPs, also harm friendships and interactions between heterosexual people of the same gender, since the fear of being stigmatized as not fulfilling them is always present. A few years ago, when I was still in high-school, I regularly heard classmates calling others “gay” and, on a few occasions, “a pedo” in a derogative way when they failed to “prove their masculinity” in one way or another, which to me is a sign that schools should educate students about both hetero- as well as teleionormativity and that those issues hurt people and communities of all ages.

To cite a perhaps more striking example of how patriarchy harms people, in his 1997 book “The Gender Knot” sociologist Allan G. Johnson writes:

“In his analysis of John F. Kennedy’s presidency, for example, David Halberstam argues that Kennedy initiated U.S. involvement in the Vietnamese civil war in part because he failed to appear sufficiently tough and manly at his 1961 Vienna summit meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev challenged Kennedy from the start, and Kennedy, surprised, responded in kind only toward the end. Upon returning home, he felt the need for an opportunity to right the impression he’d made and remove any doubts about his manhood. ‘If he [Khrushchev] thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts,’ Kennedy told New York Times reporter James Reston, ‘ … we won’t get anywhere with him. So we have to act … and Vietnam looks like the place.’ And so the horror and tragedy of America’s involvement in Vietnam turned on a political system organized in part around men’s ability to impress one another with their standing as real men. And this no doubt played a prominent role in the tortured progress of that war and the stubborn refusal of all sides to compromise or admit defeat.”

[square brackets in original]

Apart from these rather clear consequences, there’s also a variety of more subtle, yet severe, ways in which pervasive ideas about gender influence people. Studies show that straight men avoid using reusable plastic bags out of a fear of being seen as feminine or gay, which according to researchers is also a factor environmental activists should have in mind when protesting for more efforts against human-made climate change, as laws implementing regulations for companies might not be supported by parts of the public because of these notions. What is more, patriarchy’s propensity to incite wars, and the environmental destruction they bring with them, aggravates this process.

Considering that some reports predict global warming to risk the end of civilization by 2050, with the sixth mass extinction event in the planet’s history being caused by human activity (as a comparison, some of the previous events were caused by asteroid impacts) and threatening the death of three quarters of animal species within several human lifetimes (a development after which biodiversity will need several million years to get back to previous levels), it can be said that MAP activism and its liberatory aspect in regard to gender might be necessary to save the world.

Of course, the views of other marginalized groups with respect to gender are also needed, and only by collaborating with one another will the chance oppressed people have to prevent an apocalypse be maximized. Worryingly, it seems to me that this teamwork has so far been less than ideal between MAPs and others, to put it mildly.

Not only is it therefore crucial for people who might work with MAPs, maybe especially teachers, therapists, and social workers, to know how MAPs are affected by dominant ideas about gender, it is in addition imperative to examine how the places MAPs occupy in society help them to develop approaches to prevent this kind of censorship, aggression, and violence, and how MAPs can be be encouraged to share their perspectives on gender.

To move on to another important field, critical race theory, Chenier writes that:

“In the present day, when the pedophile (and the homosexual) emerges into public discourse, he is always white. This is because in the Western sexual domain, the racial ‘other’ already signifies either sexual excess or lack, whereas those racially marked as white signify the norm. The sexual abnormality of the ‘other’ is therefore normalised in white Western culture. […] Race, then, may appear to be absent from public and expert discourses about pedophilia, but it is always present, contributing to a much broader ideological project that structures an even wider range of social, economic and political relations. By understanding how normalisation processes draw on racial logics to map out normative and non-normative behaviours, we can see the presence or normalizing discourses as an organizing principle in the very fact of its absence. It is, in short, part of the same tactic of rule that draws on the pedophile and stranger danger to affirm the white heterosexual nuclear family as the normative social unit.”

Or to paraphrase and summarize this, the scapegoating of MAPs functions as an indirect tool to spread racist ideas whose purpose is to stigmatize people of color as “sexually deviant”. Anthropologist Roger Lancaster elaborates on this in his 2017 article “The New Pariahs: Sex, Crime and Punishment in America,” saying:

“Might we think that in a society committed both to a war on crime (with its mass incarceration of black men) and to ridding itself of racism (through formal adherence to a regime of civil rights), the feared figure of the white pedophile is necessary? Might we wonder whether part of the psychosocial work he performs is to absolve the guilty conscience of racism at a time when so many fears are focused on the black gangbanger or the brown border menace?”

[emphasis in original]

To which journalist Judith Levine adds in “Sympathy for the Devil: Why Progressives Haven’t Helped the Sex Of­fender, Why They Should, and How They Can“:

“On the neo-Nazi white supremacist online forum, the word ‘pedophile’ multiplies the loathsomeness of the racial or religious Other, and vice versa (sic all, pun intended):
‘Jew Rabbi pedophile arrested in California from charges in NY’
‘See what islam promotes, all of these pedophile worshipers should be made
to stay in their own country. Deport this muslim w(B)itch.’
‘Minor Sexually Assaulted By Black Pedophile Turcuois Gay’
‘Samantha Runnion, age 5. Kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a mestizo.’
Sometimes it takes being lumped together by those who hate us to recognize
how much we have in common.”

Protesting against the silencing of MAPs, especially MAPs of color, and helping them to speak up against this scapegoating is thus preventing this harmful perception which e.g. contributes to racial profiling and, to refer back to climate change, the disregarding of indigenous people’s protests and efforts against environmental destruction. As a white person, unfortunately I don’t think I’m at the moment educated enough to analyze these points in more depth, but I hope that my short elaboration is still able to highlight the relevance for further discussions and research on this.

The last field I’d like to address is the connection between ageism (specifically youth oppression, adultism, and adult supremacy) and discrimination against MAPs. DeJong et al. (2015) states that:

“Sociologist Mike Males (1996, 1998, 1999) examined pervasive negative myths and stereotypes that are currently applied to youth at the individual, institutional, and societal/cultural levels. The myth of young people as dangerous has been used to justify the implementation of Zero Tolerance policies in schools. Based on the assumption that young people are dangerous, violent, drug addicted, and criminal, these policies aim to not only penalize misbehavior, but to set the stage for arbitrary violence to be perpetrated against young people. […] Young people experience violence so often that government agencies (i.e., Child Protective Services, CPS) exist for the sole purpose of dealing with violence against children. However, parents are legally allowed to spank their children in all states of the U.S. and adults in schools are allowed to spank children in 19 states.”

Given this, to name just one of countless ways in which ageism works, it is clear that, similar to how dominant ideas about gender are detrimental to how people interact with one another, hegemonic ideas about age have a negative influence on an interpersonal level as well. A question that then arises is where youth could likely find allies in their struggle against oppression. Freimond (2009) responds to this by suggesting that:

“As outsiders, marginalized people find it easier to challenge status quo assumptions about all kinds of socially relevant issues, including gender, sex, sexuality, race, class, and so on. Drawing on this theory, I argue that minor-attracted people are uniquely situated to critically examine the roles and values ascribed to adults and children, as well as our cultural customs surrounding sexual identity”

While adult MAPs can be, and frequently are, influenced by adult privilege in similar ways like other adults are, since their discrimination is related to ideas about age they might be in a unique position to realize the functioning and effects of other age-related forms of oppression, such as youth oppression. According to DeJong et al.:

“As former young people, adults must notice where they still carry the internalized limits and feelings of powerlessness installed through youth oppression, alongside a sense of entitlement to the privileges of adulthood. Many adults experience a kind of ‘historical amnesia’ that leads them to forget what it was like being a young person. They lack the information that would enable them to be in effective partnerships with young people that are more liberatory and less oppressive. Through engaging a critical examination of the discourses of childhood and adulthood, adults can become more effective at challenging youth oppression in partnership with young people.”

The advantage of MAPs, then, is that they could often be more resilient than teleiophiles to this “historical amnesia”, due to their attractions increasing the chance for them to be motivated to keep memories of their own youth (especially in Western, age-divided societies), to pay attention to the voices of young people, and to question contemporary ideas about age-related identities. An awareness of youth oppression is particularly relevant since, to quote DeJong et al. again:

“It is as young people that all humans first encounter the experience of domination and subordination. It is through the experience of youth oppression, humans are socialized to accept the attitudes and behavior patterns required to effectively fill the roles of dominant and subordinate. … to accept and occupy the roles of dominant and subordinate that is required for all other oppressions to exist.”

Moreover, youth oppression is also connected to the oppression of MAPs insofar as the stereotype of the “evil, dangerous pedophile” can cause adults to avoid or ignore youth in order to fulfill teleionormative expectations. This is parallel to the anxiety many people have of being perceived as gay or feminine mentioned above. Yet, these negative effects on interactions between youth and adults have dramatic consequences that are maybe even more serious than the ones in relation to heteronormativity. A 1975 article by neuropsychologist James W. Prescott in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (known for maintaining the Doomsday Clock), “Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence,” describes the results of research about differences between societies based on how commonly people in them experience somatosensory pleasure (i.e. non-sexual, non-romantic body contact, e.g. hugs):

“In short, violence may stem from deprivation of somatosensory pleasure either in infancy or in adolescence. […] Physically affectionate human societies are highly unlikely to be physically violent. […] These findings overwhelmingly support the thesis that deprivation of body pleasure throughout life-but particularly during the formative periods of infancy, childhood, and adolescence-are very closely related to the amount of warfare and interpersonal violence. […] This basic premise of the somatosensory pleasure deprivation theory provides us with the tools necessary to fashion a world of peaceful, affectionate, cooperative individuals. The world, however, has limited time to correct the conditions that propel us to violent confrontations. Modern technologies of warfare have made it possible for an individual or nation to bring total destruction to large segments of our population.”

Since MAP activism will help to reduce fears adults have of being perceived as pedophilic for being “too affectionate” towards youth (in a non-sexual, non-romantic way), it will also reduce deprivation of somatosensory pleasure, which, according to Prescott, could prevent an apocalypse. Of course, without more research on the positive impact MAP activism has, these causal links remain speculative.

There is, however, scientific evidence for the potential psychological benefits young people have by spending time with adults outside of the nuclear family, a concept that, as is described by Chenier above, sustains itself by creating and stigmatizing the social category of the pedophile. A study from this September, “Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample,” comes to the conclusion that:

“The PCEs [Positive Childhood Experiences] score included 7 items asking respondents to report how often or how much as a child they: […] (6) had at least 2 nonparent adults who took genuine interest in them […] We hypothesize that PCEs may have a greater influence in promoting positive health, such as getting needed social and emotional support or flourishing as an adult. […] Overall, study results demonstrate that PCEs show a dose-response association with adult mental and relational health […] Findings suggest that PCEs may have lifelong consequences for mental and relational health”

According to Freimond, this positive influence of non-sexual, non-romantic relationships between youth and nonparent adults is often not possible in current Western society as they are:

“[…] proscribed under the guise of protecting children from the sexual advances of adults. The child is, therefore, kept close to the family, and exposure to outside adult influence is limited. Because children and adolescents are economically dependent on their families until the state permits them to engage in paid employment, a relationship with an adult is one of the only ways for children to escape an unhappy home life, or explore alternative ideas or activities. Youth who are dependent on their parents or legal guardians for basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing may feel pressured to remain in a problematic situation at home rather than try to fend for themselves or seek help from an adult outside the family.”

Shulamith Firestone comments on this phenomenon in her 1970 book “The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution“:

“We have seen how the increasing privatization of family life brought ever more oppression to its dependents, women and children. […] [There has been] a continued rigid segregation of children from the rest of society […] Our parks provide the perfect metaphor for our larger age-segregated society: a special playground for the Tender Untouchables, mothers and young children (one seldom finds anyone else here, as if by decree), an athletic field or swimming pool for the youth, a shady knoll for young couples and students, and a bench section for the elderly. This age segregation continues throughout the life of every modern individual; people have very little contact with children once they have outgrown their own childhood. And even within their own childhood, as we have seen, there are rigid age segregations, so that an older child will be embarrassed to be seen with a younger one. […] Thus segregation is still operating full blast to reinforce the oppression of children as a class.”

Prescott also offers a critical perspective on the nuclear family, saying:

“The communal family-like the extended family group-can provide a more stimulating and supportive environment for both children and adults than can the average nuclear family.”

In any case, as professor Emily A. Mattingly remarks in her 2014 dissertation “Queer Developments: The Politics of Reimagining Age,” age is an often overlooked category in academic discourses pertaining to social change:

“Butler’s theorizations of generationality and critical articulations of development in Undoing Gender, in particular, suggest her interest in what I call the age complex. However, her work is largely symptomatic of a kind of critical slippage. It is exactly this critical slippage, this oversight of age—especially in gender and sexuality, critical race, and, more broadly, various critical strands of cultural and performance studies—that is so striking to me. In both feminist and queer studies—fields of study that ground my project—this general lack of critical engagement with age, as a construction, is even more so striking. It is striking, specifically, because these fields, in general, often revere so highly critics who are so willing to deconstruct various other axes of identity, such as race, gender, sexuality, and class, just to name a few. Why not deconstruct age with as much analytical gusto?”

In “Age Trouble” Diederik Janssen looks at some of the potential consequences of this oversight:

“While age faded in as gender faded out as the organising momentum of medicolegal sexology, age never entered queer studies, which continued to exercise a gender paradigm on the erotic. This is an anachronism (cf. Angelides, 2005, p. 273; cf. Angelides, 2004a,b,c,d). In his hint at Australian gay activism’s experience with paedophilia (2005), Steven Angelides centralises its ‘homophobic’ utility by observing the conservative confusion of abject gender preferences with abject age preferences, and more generally its usage in the opportune ‘recuperation’ of hegemonic masculinity. This genderist framework, however, would make paedophilia just another gender dynamic. […]

If we are to conclude with Jeffrey Weeks (and Judith Butler) that paedophilias (sic) could aspire to productive and transformational ‘oppositional identities’, as ‘necessary fictions’, or ‘sites of necessary trouble’, then a major role would be carved out in establishing a critique of what I call the sexual Curriculum, or the total cultural apparatus that fixes subjects to their appropriate locus on The Social Timeline (Janssen, forthcoming 2).”

[emphasis in original]

Lastly, there’ve been a few studies looking into the potential evolutionary role of (male homosexual) minor attraction, as is discussed by the article “Trends in Evolutionary Explanations for Human Male Same-Sex Eroticism: A Commentary on Riegel (2011)” from 2014 in the International Journal of Sexual Health:

“Kauth (2000), Kirkpatrick (2000), and Muscarella (2000) were the first published works that explicitly offered evolutionarily adaptive explanations relevant to transgenerational homosexuality […] [Muscarella] hypothesized that, among ancestral humans, adolescent boys were peripheralized (i.e., set apart from the group and sex-segregated). Given the threatening and dangerous world they lived in (e.g., with frequent and fatal intergroup aggression), he argued, these boys would have benefited from relations with other adolescent males and with adult males, who could offer them protection and access to resources they otherwise might not get. […] [Kirkpatrick] hypothesized that homoeroticism was an adaptation that facilitated the formation of alliances, which were instrumental in resource competition and cooperative defense. In alliances that were transgenerational, he posited that the youths involved benefited through the acquisition of resources and knowledge, whereas the older males benefited from the younger males’ assistance. […] Owing to the developmental benefits the boy obtains—which are essential in warfare, for example—[Neill] also posited that transgenerational homosexuality functioned to help clans in competition with other clans.³ Neill speculated that transgenerational homosexual interest was a potential across older males in general, not just a few (Vanggaard also posited this).”

This suggests that, far from being a fluke, like other forms of attraction, such as teleiophilia, minor attraction has a social function. While in the Stone Age adult MAPs might have been more empathetic to support and care for youth without parents than other adults, and thereby helped the species in surviving, in today’s ageist society support (emotional, economical, or otherwise) is still needed by youth.

As a side note, I feel here might be a good point to also remind readers that quotes on this blog should not be understood as an endorsement of the rest of the text that they were cited from, and that this blog remains neutral on what the organization b4u-act describes as “issues of disagreement“. Sometimes it can be difficult to find sources or quotes that are without connotations regarding these issues, and I hope that regular disclaimers like this are sufficient.

So, in conclusion, the notion of MAP activism being “affordable to overlook” could hardly be more incorrect. In their current form, patriarchal gender roles, the nuclear family, and youth oppression – and consequently the environmental destruction they result in – need the stereotype of the evil MAP to remain as powerful as they are, and it is MAPs who have the best tools to dissolve it. It is the vilification of MAPs on which countless harmful structures rely upon, and it is the disarming diversity, healing persistence, and courageous celebration of their vulnerability so many MAPs have shown, and continue to show, that makes the current order of things crumble.

MAPs might not be able to save the world all by themselves, but it could be that the world cannot be saved without the help of MAPs either. In a society where some researchers openly advocate for eugenics applied against MAPs on the website of one of the biggest broadcasters in the world, claiming that “The dream is to prevent it before the paedophile is even born,” I beg to differ. While I respect that some people belonging to discriminated groups, including MAPs, wish, for a variety of reasons, they could belong to the respective privileged group, I think a world without minor attraction would be a nightmare.

Nevertheless, even assuming MAP activism wouldn’t be relevant to save Earth, that wouldn’t make the discrimination it is struggling against any more just, and as wonderful as minor attraction is, it doesn’t need a purpose, even if that purpose is as epic as rescuing society from nuclear war or human-made climate change.

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky once wrote that “Beauty will save the world”. This beauty, I believe, will always be a part of MAPs, their creative and artistic self-expression, and their struggle for justice. This is what this podcast and its blog are about, this is why the lives of MAPs and their allies are full of meaning, this is why MAP activism is an adventure I’ll never regret being a part of. To speak up for MAPs means to help saving countless worlds: the worlds of MAP youth who wonder if it’s save to come out to their friends and family, the worlds of all the people who knowingly or unknowingly have loved ones who are MAPs, and the worlds of all those whose (self-)hatred, persecution, and suffering is healed by it.

If you’re a MAP who is struggling with internalized stigma: Know that you matter. You are infinitely more meaningful and fantastic, or shall we say maptastic, than society wants you to think. Your very existence is a rebellion, a fabulous protest against humanity’s current path of destroying life on this planet. You hold the key to your, and everyone’s, liberation. The time to open doors with it is now.


Thanks to Peace for help with locating resources/citations.


  • Judith Butler, Against Proper Objects, 1994, p. 10, 24
  • Elise Chenier, The Natural Order of Disorder: Pedophilia, Stranger Danger and the Normalising Family, 2011, p. 172, 183-184
  • David Paternotte, The International (Lesbian and) Gay Association and the question of pedophilia: Tracking the demise of gay liberation ideals, 2014, p. 128
  • Allan G. Johnson, The Gender Knot: Unravelling Our Patriarchal Legacy, 1997, p. 99 (for a shortened version of the book see here)
  • Keri DeJong & Barbara J. Love, Youth Oppression as a Technology of Colonialism: Conceptual Frameworks and Possibilities for Social Justice Education Praxis, 2015, p. 492, 494
  • James W. Prescott, Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence, 1975, p. 13-14, 19-20
  • Christina Bethell et al., Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample: Associations Across Adverse Childhood Experiences Levels, 2019, p. 3-5
  • Emily A. Mattingly, Queer Developments: The Politics of Reimagining Age, 2014, p. 134-135
  • Bruce Rind, Trends in Evolutionary Explanations for Human Male Same-Sex Eroticism: A Commentary on Riegel (2011), 2014, p. 8-10

Recommended reading:

*For a discussion on why the term “homophobia” is often considered to be ableist and otherwise problematic by many people see e.g. “Beyond ‘Homophobia’: Thinking about sexual prejudice and stigma in the twenty-first century” by Herek (2004)

2 thoughts on “Not a Negligible Injustice: How MAP Activism can Save the World

  1. Thanks for a nicely-written, stimulating essay. It leaves us, of course, with the question: how can there be MAP activism in a world which puts MAPs behind bars for the slightest infraction of its rules, in which even so-called progressives are firmly on the side of the criminal justice system, and in which no mainstream media outlet would permit any such activism to be published?

    As someone with close experience of the carceral system and the supposedly rehabilitative agencies which support it, I know that everything MAPs say about themselves is viewed with suspicion as being self-serving. The LGBTQ+ communities vilify MAPs and regard them as the enemy who would bring them down – heteronormative distrust of gay men, for example, is rooted in an assumption that they want to somehow convert or simply assault young boys. There is a lot of work to do.


  2. Heyo!! luv the blog and the pod, i’d love to support you guys on patreon but ur account got deleted? idk what the deal is there lol hope it gets put back up soon! anyways i made this MAP pride heart flag in photoshop and i think its adoooooorbs, check it out pls

    Liked by 1 person

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