Obviously, pedophiles are not considered members of the LGBT community. But to an outsider trying to navigate the system of signals that minority groups use to tell each other apart online, it can be difficult to discern fact from propaganda. This article provides definitions of terms peodphiles commonly use to signal to each other online.
This is a living document. This means that if you return to read this guide at a later date, information may be updated to reflect changes in the community. This guide is best read through one and referenced later during your casual browsing. If you have any new information to contribute, click here to contact the author.
- “Pedophiles are LGBT”: Pedophiles started a campaign to be considered members of the LGBT community on that basis that (1) their sexuality is not the norm and (2) they are discriminated against in mainstream society.
Redundant, obvious disclaimer: It is impossible to have sex with children because children cannot consent – sex between a minor and an adult is always rape. Therefore, being a pedophile is not the same as being gay or transgender. The LGBT community is not a consensus, but many agree with this and those who do not are considered pedophiles. The DSM has also agreed on this point since 2010.
The original campaign for “pedophiles are LGBT” was started by a Reddit user in an intentional smear attempt against the community. However, some individual pedophiles began to co-opt the original meme in order to further normalize their behavior.
Consensus now exists that pedophilia is a distinct sexual orientation, not something that develops in someone who is homosexual or heterosexual. Some people with pedophilic urges are also attracted to adults, and may act only on the latter urges. Because people with pedophilic urges tend to be attracted to children of a particular gender, they are sometimes described in the literature as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual pedophiles. Roughly 9% to 40% of pedophiles are homosexual in their orientation toward children — but that is not the same as saying they are homosexual. Homosexual adults are no more likely than heterosexuals to abuse children.“Pessimissm about pedophilia,” Harvard Mental Health Letter, July 2010.
Emoji usage: Many communities use emojis to signal that they belong to certain groups online. The pear symbol (🍐) is the most commonly used symbol, but the alien symbol (👽) and the globe symbol (🌍) is also used.
MAP: Minor Attracted Person
Pedophiles who claim that they are “minor attracted persons” will often claim that they are using the internet to educate others on the ‘truth’ behind pedophilia and to express their feelings in a healthy manner. Some will even claim that their therapist told them to express themselves online in this way.
Fears about predatory behavior are valid. Most pedophiles who act on their impulses do so by manipulating children and gradually desensitizing them to inappropriate behavior. Then they escalate it.“Pessimissm about pedophilia,” Harvard Mental Health Letter, July 2010.
Pedophilia cannot be cured. Instead, therapists focus on management options that associate the pedophillic desire with an unpleasant stimulus called “aversive conditioning,” or by suppressing the pedophile’s sexual urges – they do not encourage pedophiles to express their urges in a ‘healthy’ way.
Pedophiles will take advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge oon the treatment of pedophila to convince victims and their allies that they are seeing a therapist and are therefore not a danger to minors. Sometimes they will go as far as labeling themselves ‘no-MAPs.’
no-MAP: No-Contact Minor Attracted Person. A no-MAP is a MAP that explicity states that they avoid contact with minors. No-MAPs should be considered at the same risk level as MAPs, as many of them will use the title to attempt to dissaude adult allies from monitoring their behavior.
What can an adult do to help?
The best way to protect your child from predators is to maintain a communicative and supportive relationship with your child. Most children will never encounter a predator online, but your child needs to know that they can trust you enough to come to you for support.
Shaming your child for their sexuality or their developing identity sets a foundation of mistrust that leaves them vulnerable to predators of all types, whether on the internet or in real life.
Adults can help by sharing this link in response to posts made by pedophiles. Many pedophiles will try to mislead the public or potential targets to normalize their behavior. Educating the public on what to look for when talking to people online will help people know who to block before the conversation even beigns.
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