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Tuesday, 14 September 2010


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I can understand that some people are concerned by certain of Peter
Tatchell's writings on under-age sex. But I don't think you have given
a fair and accurate picture of what Tatchell is saying and why he is
saying it. The quotes you cite from Tatchell are too selective and
partial. You quote too many of his words out of context.

Tatchell offers a different explanation, which I am posting below. I
hope you might engage with what he is actually saying.

Peter Tatchell writes:

The idea that I advocate paedophilia is laughable, sick, untrue and defamatory.

Unlike many Catholic clergy, I have never abused anyone. Unlike the
Pope, I have never failed to report abusers or covered up their
crimes. I do not support sex with children. Full stop.

Dares to Speak was an academic book published in 1997, authored by
professors, anthropologists, psychologists, a Dutch senator and a
former editor of a Catholic newspaper. It questioned ages of consent
and whether all sex between children and adults is necessarily

I do not condone adults having sex with children. My Guardian letter
about this book was in defence of free speech and open debate about
the issue, in opposition to those who said that the book and the
debate it generated should not happen and should be closed down. I was
against calls for censorship. Even if Dares to Speak is entirely
wrong, in a free society its authors have a right to be published and

My Guardian letter cited examples of Papuan tribes and some of my
friends who had sex with adults while they were still children, but
who do not feel they were harmed. I was not endorsing their viewpoint
but merely stating that they had a different perspective from the
mainstream one about inter-generational sex. They have every right for
their perspective to be heard. If they say they were not harmed, we
should respect that (while also recognising that many people are
harmed by early sexual experiences).

My Guardian letter did say very clearly that paedophilia is
"impossible" to condone - meaning that I don't condone it.

Here's an example of what he wrote in the Irish Independent last year:

Irish Independent – 10 March 2008

You can see that he made protecting young people against sex abuse his
first priority.

he has said similar things in many other articles and interviews.

See this Guardian article, published in September last year:

It is true that I support reducing the legal consent age to 14. But I
support 14 in order to end the criminalisation of the many young
people who have sexual contact with each other from this age onwards.
More than half of all British teenagers have their first sexual
experience (not necessarily full intercourse) at around the age of 14.
I do not advocate them having sex at this early age. It is best if
they wait. But I don’t think that consenting 14 years olds should be
dragged to court and threatened with prison. I certainly do not
endorse adults having sex with young people aged 14.

Seaon, thanks for your comment and welcome to D&N.

In my post all I did was quote from Hitchen's piece in The Mail. I have now read the links you provided and, whilst I leave it to my readers to make up their own minds, in my opinion Tatchell's views are well and accurately summarised in his own words which Hitchens quoted and I reproduced above.

It is no good Tatchell describing all the benefits (as he sees it) to be derived from paedophilia and/or child-on-child sex and then tossing in a 'get-out-of-jail-free' card like "While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia". Perhaps I am imagining it, but I sense an unspoken regret that at the moment it is impossible to condone paedophilia but stick around, kids, it won't be too long!

There is also a logical lapse in his thinking. He claims not to "endorse [a peculiar choice of word] adults having sex with young people aged 14." Given that the thrust of his argument is that notions of childhood/adulthood ending/beginning at an arbitrary age are ridiculous, why shouldn't a grown man have sex with a 14-year old who is perhaps already having sex with another 14-year old? And what does he mean by a 'grown man'? Someone who is, say, 15, or 16, or 17, or what?

Hitchens applauds Tatchell, and so do I, for his honesty in spelling out exactly and precisely where the so-called sexual revolution is leading, but I also accuse him of rank humbuggery in failing to stand by the appalling consequences which a man of his intelligence knows full well will result.

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