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Peter Tatchell: Why aren’t schools educating kids against sex abuse? -A response.

By J. Ginsberg

In this first article on Peter Tatchell, I dig into his writing style in order to better understand exactly what his position is regarding:-

* Children and their sexual rights and the important role of schools in promoting them

* His mindset during his time with the Gay Liberation Front and what its core message was

including his term queer emancipation

* How some of his statements seem to have an open-ended meaning

* Some of the similar values he appears to share with Prof Emma Renold.

The first sentence in this article written by Peter Tatchell (P.T.) is perhaps the worthiest of all. He puts his best foot forward and states, “The sexual abuse of children is a national scandal” Well, none of us would disagree with that and know in our hearts that the sexual violation of a child is a despicable act and that it represents humanity at its lowest. We are also very aware that child sexual abuse can and does remain undetected and unpunished for a number of reasons, some of which we may never truly know, given that the long history of such abuse has been downplayed and ignored for many years.  P.T. goes on to ask, “So why are schools doing so little to combat it?” His opening gambit puts the ball firmly in the school’s court, rather than with the judicial system, and concludes with a rather dubious sentence- “This neglect is outrageous, given that educating young people with sexual rights, knowledge, skills and confidence can help protect them against abuse”.

Let’s just ponder on the implication of that last sentence.

The first cause for concern is the placing of the term “sexual rights” It came first in the sentence and the word “sexual” is the only adjective before a series of other nouns. We could be forgiven for thinking that everything following those two words “sexual rights” is expanding on the same theme. So, for “knowledge, read “sexual knowledge,” and for “skills”, we can read “sexual skills “and so on. Had he put sexual rights at the end of this list, that possibility would have been ruled out. Was this a stylistic error?  Imagine if he had reversed the order and the sentence read “This neglect is outrageous, given that educating young people with knowledge, skills, confidence and sexual rights ….”. The emphasis would have been on the term “sexual rights”. As it is, the emphasis is on the word” confidence” –and who would not wish their child to be confident?  Perhaps this could be described as sugar-coating the pill. The pill being—sexual rights for children. None of us should be impressed by his vague use of “young people” which seems to confer semi-adulthood on children. That said, PT has made it patently clear, right from the get-go, that he is advocating for children’s sexual rights. We have no way but to assume this, since “young people” is a relative term and not a specific one. The “young person” referred to might be 9 or 19 years of age. We know this because of his 1997 letter to The Guardian.

 In his letter to The Guardian, he upholds an adult’s right to claim that he had enjoyed homosexual sex at the age of 9. So, by supporting the adult in his decision, he is also respecting the adult’s right to express his enjoyment of a seemingly paedophilic relationship which took place at a tender age. It’s a little hard to know if it was really paedophilic since he does not mention the age of his friend’s “partner” He has not stated his age, so it’s open to conjecture—meaning, your guess is as good as mine! No more than he specifies the age of a “young adult” in this article. Such a term requires clarification, but, as you can see, P.T is not the best at providing details and prefers to allow vagueness rather than explanation. And of course, he is in no way endorsing paedophilia, which he roundly criticises, but he is hardly ruling it out either it would seem. A little more exactitude is needed, but exactitude seems to be the prime thing missing in PT’s writing style.  The saying “Having your cake and eating it” springs to mind. In an age where the sexual age of consent is 16, why go out of your way to publicly provide an exception to this rule, on the grounds of “enjoyment” When confronted, PT is well able to say “Me!. I abhor the sexual abuse of children and totally condemn it. All I was saying was that there might be exceptions to the rule!” He obviously celebrates grey areas.

In the days when the Q never existed in the ever-expanding LGBTQIA +movement, P.T. had a few words to say about the word “queer” On his Wikipedia page we can read the following quote concerning his early days in human rights activism, at a time when he was involved with the Gay Liberation Front, which flourished for a few years in various countries in the early 70’s.

 “The G.F.L was a glorious, enthusiastic and often chaotic mix of anarchists, hippies, left-wingers, feminists, liberals and counter-culturalists. Despite our differences, we shared a radical idealism-a dream of what the world could and should be-free from not just homophobia but the whole sex-shame culture which oppressed straights as much as LGBT’s We were sexual liberationists and social revolutionaries , out to turn the world upside down. ..GFL’s main aim was never equality in the status quo. ...GLF’s strategy for  queer emancipation was to change society’s values and norms , rather than adapt to them”.


The underlining is my own, in order to draw attention to his war-cry and for the expression “queer emancipation” to register a little deeper. P.T.’s unofficial manifesto here is making it clear that he and his activists were not satisfied with equality for gays within the prevailing system. The system itself needed to go, in order to make way for a new one. Let’s consider the fact that the word “queer”, during the days of GLF, was a derogatory substitute for “homosexual” It had none of the Pzazz it has today and indeed, many homosexuals despised it. The term “I come over all queer” which I heard many times in East London as a way of saying “I got taken poorly” became a source for comedic laughs as the meaning of the word” queer” changed over time. The comedy act would accompany the words with a flap of his hand and a flutter of his eyelashes. The audience would fall around laughing because they understood the innuendo-- “we all know what THAT means...what a lark!” Whilst the odd homosexual would be faking a laugh and shuffling his feet. “Queer” was a smear, nothing more, nothing less and P.T. would have known this to be the case in the 1970’s, the era he was talking about.

So, let’s consider what a child’s sexual rights might consist of, and why the word “sexual” is used in conjunction with the word “child’s”. PT, to be fair, used the term “young people”, but as stated before, that term is not age specific. It seems that the UN includes in their Convention of the Rights of the Child, the terms “sexual and reproductive rights”. So, perhaps PT’s  enthusiasm for sexual rights for children is even more universal than we might think  and  might explain why he is inserting the Q and the T in reference to a time when neither of them had any societal meaning for the great majority of people.  Could he by any chance be promoting Q and T rights? All the way back in the 70’s? Even though both were an historical fantasy on his part.  By now, we are all familiar with the terms, even if we do not fully comprehend their meaning. PT has helped this process of familiarisation along, by using them as a given, instead of a fantasy. The truth is that they never existed at such a time, and he is only pretending that they did.!  So, what does this word really mean, since it is obviously not what we think? Is it possible that P.T. was referring to Queer Theory, an academic philosophy rooted in political activism, that was just beginning to take root during GLF’s days. It would seem highly likely, given his use of “queer emancipation” Luckily, some people are able to explain this theory to those who are ignorant of it. Queer Theory has been described by Dr Jay Richards as “the distillation of the most toxic intellectual poisons of our age. If it were just the personal philosophy of a few eccentrics, we could ignore it. But….it has all the marks of a cult whose adherents have access to most of our children.” (From The Queering of the American Child by Logan Lancing).

Nigel Thorne, too, explains its significance to us in a powerful way with his very informative and accessible videos, in which he proves that many of the people in power and influence regarding RSE  in Wales, are self-proclaimed Queer Theorists at heart, a fact that should make every parent feel worried. Once you have even a small grasp of this slippery and confusing ideology, you will become very concerned for your children’s future. This is not a fringe consideration. Queer Theory goes beyond any boundary you might imagine, and it impacts on our everyday lives in the most intimate way. It changes society—just as P.T. foretold it would. He was ahead of the curve it seems.  One of the foremost proponents of Queer Theory in Wales happens to be the woman who penned, along with another Queer Theorist, the RSE code for Welsh schools, Professor Emma Renold.  Rest assured that such people are not confined to Wales but can be found in universities and institutions all round the world. They are cracking a hard whip and their minions dance to its rhythm. Once you understand the language of Queer Theory, you will begin to understand the mess we are in and the dangers it represents to your child. The significance of P.T.’s quote will become clear.

Neither P.T. nor fellow activists can adequately prove to have your child’s welfare at heart. No more than they have the welfare of lesbians and gays at heart, despite having championed their cause. There is much more to say relating to the main article, but that will keep for a later date. The main objective for now is for everyone to understand that a person like P.T. has various layers. Some of which he prefers to hide under banners of equity and freedom. His style is mostly vague and void of references to research. However, at times, he unwittingly reveals his personal values as he did in 1997 when he asserted his right to argue that some children are capable of enjoying sex with an older person at the age of 9, because his friend did. And yet, he still abhors paedophilia with a passion. The unspoken question is “Then why mention it in positive terms?”

I will leave you with a quote from the first chapter of Prof Emma Renold’s book “Girls, Boys and Junior Sexualities. She feels that by “Exploding the myth of the primary school as a cultural greenhouse for the nurturing and protection of children’s (sexual) innocence, it vividly illustrates how children locate their local primary school as a key social and cultural arena for doing “sexuality” Could we be forgiven for thinking that their ethos has something in common and that in their world, children only have presumed innocence, as Renold puts it?

To be continued.......

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