Friday, April 29, 2005

An Uneasy Subject

This is such a queasy subject, I hesitate to put it in a post. Since the Texas legislature chose to question the rights of homosexuals to foster children, much has been written about the topic. I had understood the issue to be one of the Christian Right disapproving the lifestyle and not given it much more thought. A journey through the blogosphere tonight brought new issues to light and I can't help but sound off on them.

Off the Cuff linked an article from the WSJ Online about a CNN interview which brought up the subject of increased child sexual abuse in homes with homosexual parents. Now let me state for the record that all sources (OTC, WSJ and CNN) call the research for this claim bogus and unsubstantiated. However, like any other story, once started it takes on alive of its own. It got me thinking about pedophilia, child molestation and homosexuality.

Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder pertaining to people who sexually desire pre-pubescent children. Child Molestation is more like rape, in that it has more to do with power and control than with sex. Declared homosexuals number about 1-3% of the population.

My questions start here: Does pedophilia exist more, less or the same in declared homosexuals than in the straight population; the same question for child molesters; what about the population that presents itself as straight, but is in some way closeted, both for pedophiles and as child molesters; is child molestation greater in closeted populations because of the pain/stigma of not being out; would this make children more vulnerable to molestation in seemingly traditional families, where one parent was shielding their sexual orientation?

I have no answers to these questions, nor do I know of any definitive studies being done. My guess is children are in the most danger from people who hide their identities rather than those who share them proudly. Look at the problems in the Catholic Church. Pedophile and child molesting priests, who for years got away with destroying the lives of children, cloaked by the power of the church.

It makes you wonder what the Texas Legislature is afraid of. Is it gay parents or are they so entrenched in conservative religious doctrine, that they can't see where the real dangers lay.