A guest post by Chad Felix Greene
Last week we were thrust into the dark world of adult-teenage sexual relationships and child exploitation. While the media focused its outrage exclusively on the right, videos from George Takei and Bill Maher revealed that outrage was unevenly distributed. To put it mildly. The larger discussion then turned to what it means to provide a safe environment for children and young adults. LGBT or otherwise.
Unfortunately, the left and right disagree on what that safety looks like.
Janet Mock, author of the New York Times bestseller Redefining Realness, is an outspoken transgender advocate working to de-stigmatize sex work, and advocates for sex worker rights. In 2014 she wrote an essay about her experiences working as a prostitute at age 16, and her introduction into the world of transgender sex work at age 15. Please read the article in full, but a brief summary sheds a harsh light on her troublesome motives. Her personal portrayal is filled with poetic declarations of self-realization and romanticizes adult men who taught her the sex work craft.
“…I couldn’t deny that witnessing the women of Merchant Street take their lives into their own hands, empowered me. Watching these women every weekend gathered in sisterhood and community, I learned firsthand about body autonomy, about resilience and agency, about learning to do for yourself in a world that is hostile about your existence.”
Mock never questions motives. She never asks why these MEN didn’t help her “discover herself” without risking her life and dignity. Legality of the sex acts is never mentioned. Condoning by omission.
Just as George Takei waxed eloquent about his first sexual encounter at age 13 (with a 19-year-old man), Mock also loses herself in a fantasy. Neither seem concerned with the normalizing message sent to LGBT youth. A message so different and toxic from that telegraphed to their heterosexual peers.
Which begs a question: is molestation just expected for a young LGBT person? I present the following contrast to illustrate this contention:
Janet Mock was featured in the New York Times celebrating the wisdom of teenagers who accept transgender peers. Her story of high school life, giggling and sharing with the other girls, is delivered as if commonplace. Mock then details an emotional breakdown when she tried following her girlfriends into the girl’s restroom, but was stopped by a school administrator. She was given the option of a private restroom instead.
“Behind the closed door of the nurse’s office restroom, I cried at the rejection and the embarrassment of being separated from my friends and told I did not belong with them.”
Strange, no? Mock was upset by the administrator’s reaction, but Mock praised an adult who engaged her in sex work, saying: “…that enabled me when I was 16 to jump in a car with my first regular and choose a pathway to my survival and liberation.”
What message is Mock sending to confused young boys? That getting into the car of an adult man who will pay you for sex is liberating, but being asked to use the correct bathroom in school is oppressive.
Let me be clear, I do not judge Mock for the sharing the memory, nor the coping mechanisms employed for dealing with pain. But I am alarmed by the pattern in which she, Takei, and many other liberal authors praise. Not only do they excuse adult-teen sexual exploitation, they seem to celebrate it. Some examples…
- A gay dad lectures on the social cruelty of imposing legal punishment on an 18 year old woman who engaged in sex with a 14 year old girl.
- Embracing Teenage Sexuality: Let’s Rethink the Age of Consent which uses examples of other countries with consent laws as low as 12.
- While discussing the history of age of consent laws and the biological implications of children as young as 10, Psychology Today asks the open ended question: ‘What age do you think it should be?’
The left has invested so heavily in the sexuality and self-determination of minors for so long, they find themselves trapped in a contradiction loop. If an 8-year-old can decide their gender and begin transition, then children are “sexual beings.” Meaning teenagers should have full autonomy from their parents in abortion and sex. Right? So how can the left argue against adult-teen sexual relationships? They’ve lodged themselves between a rock and a hard place.
But for those of us on the right, the answer is simple: Adults do not engage sexually with minors. Period.
The issue is not one of technicality or biology. Yes, puberty begins earlier than the legal age of consent. Yes, we live in an oversexed society. But we cannot dismiss the primary role of adults: to be responsible and care for minors. There is no gray area.
The right has an opportunity: to significantly distinguish itself from the pedophilia proponents on the left. We must argue against teenagers engaging in prostitution, regardless of their motivation or identity. We must speak out, protect innocence, defend our children.
We must champion intellectual and character development, and defeat the noxious idea people are but slaves to their impulsive desires.
Safeguarding children, regardless of orientation, from sexual exploitation is simple. But we cannot trust government officials granted with “protecting” the LGBT youth anymore. Their motivations are clearly exploitative and sinister.
Our children deserve protection.
Written by Chad Felix Greene