For as long as we can remember, homophobes have riled up anti-LGBTQ sentiment by comparing us to pedophiles. They say we’re sexual predators try to “recruit” children and turn young kids gay by sexually molesting them. They say sexual abusers are predominantly gay and that the LGBTQ community is actually trying to normalize pedophilia as a legitimate sexual attraction (a claim right-wingers have repeatedly had to fabricate out of whole cloth since it’s not actually happening). Trans people particularly who just wanna use the bathroom matching their gender identity are accused by conservatives of being pedophiles who can’t wait to molest kids in the toilet.
In fact, right-wing actor and troll James Woods recently tweeted out an image (below) proclaiming that the LGBTQ community is embracing pedophiles as part of their queer family.
So now’s a good time to point out a proven sociological fact: The overwhelming majority of pedophiles are actually heterosexual (and cisgender).
And so it begins… pic.twitter.com/ku6FQpBbAO
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 31, 2018
In a 1994 study published in the journal Pediatrics, three researchers examined 269 cases of child sexual abuse handled by a regional children’s hospital. Researchers examined charts related to each of the cases — 78% of which involved girls and 22% of which involved boys — to determine the alleged offender’s gender and whether they were reported as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
They found that only two out of 269 individuals accused of child sexual abuse identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual — that’s 0.7%. That means that 99.3% of the time, the pedophile was actually heterosexual.
Most past studies on sexual identity, pedophiles and child molesters has been flawed
Psychology professor Gregory M. Herek says past research on child sexual abuse has mistakenly conflated pedophiles and child sexual abusers as the same thing, when they’re not really.
Herek says “pedophilia” actually refers to an “adult psychological disorder characterized by a preference for prepubescent children as sexual partners,” and child sexual abusers aren’t often interviewed to see if they’re true pedophiles or just some other type of opportunistic predator.
Furthermore, Herek says past research has labeled any instances of men molesting boys or women molesting girls as “homosexual,” when in reality, most child molesters aren’t interested in relationships with adults at all, regardless of their gender.
He also points out that past studies of convicted child molesters never ask whether they’ve ever had adult sexual relationships with men or women. Additionally, the National Academy of Sciences said in a 1993 report, “Most molesters of boys do not report sexual interest in adult men.”
Only one 1988 study (often cited by the the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council) said 86% of men accused of child molestation described themselves as homosexual or bisexual. But this one study didn’t reveal how they came to this conclusion, making its findings difficult to analyze or corroborate among other studies.
Researchers behind the 1994 study found that gay, bi and lesbian identified-people are most likely to molest children at rates consistent to their existence in the U.S. population. And since only 3.8% of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ, there’s a far more likely chance that child molesters and pedophiles will identify as heterosexual, that is, if they feel any sexual attraction towards adults to begin with.
Considering that an estimated 0.3% of the U.S. population is transgender, we can safely assume that the majority of child molesters, sexual abusers and pedophiles are also cisgender. Wow. Perhaps we should ban them from using public restrooms — isn’t our children’s safety worth it? (sarcasm)
In short, the claim that LGBTQ people are more likely to be pedophiles is overblown and a reflection of queerphobia rather than actual criminal or sociological data.
That won’t stop bigots like James Woods from conflating LGBTQ people with pedophiles, of course — which is an oddity seeing as he himself has been accused of trying to seduce a 16-year-old girl when he was much older. But it may equip you with some factual data the next time someone tries to come at you with this hateful, untrue mess.