Tue | Sep 22, 2020

J-FLAG clarifies controversial all-sexuals tag

Published:Tuesday | September 13, 2011 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I wish to respond to the requests raised by the concerned mother who penned the letter titled 'Will J-FLAG, other rights groups support paedophiles?', which was published on Saturday, September 10, for J-FLAG to state its position on paedophilia and the meaning of the term 'all-sexuals' used in our name.

J-FLAG unequivocally condemns all forms of sexual abuse, including child sexual abuse, regardless of the sexual orientation of the perpetrator. We recognise the rights of children, under the Convention on the Rights of Child and the Child Care and Protection Act 2004, which includes the right to be free from sexual interference by adults. In this regard, we fully endorse all efforts of law enforcers to apprehend and bring perpetrators of child sexual abuse to justice.

We recognise and accept paedophilia as an adult psychosexual disorder that predisposes individuals towards sexual activity with children, which amounts to abuse of power by the adult individual. This exertion of power over the powerless, the use of disproportionate strength to pacify the weak, and the employment of guile to entrap children, should not be compared, associated, or equated with any form of adult consensual sexuality.

The common misperception that child abuse is a central feature of homosexuality, or that homosexuals inevitably, or at least very often, direct their sexual interest towards children, is cause for great concern to us. We must understand that homosexuality is an emotional and/or sexual attraction towards members of the same sex and paedophile behavior is in no way characteristic of homosexuality. As much as paedophilia does not characterise heterosexuality, homosexuality should not be treated as a corollary to paedophilia, or vice versa.

Meaning of 'all-sexuals'

The term all-sexual was adopted at a Caribbean regional meeting in Curaçao in 1997 which brought together people doing community-organising and building around sexual orientation or gender identity. It was intended to reflect a continuum in sexual identity, which captures the consensual bisexual and transgender experiences of sexual minorities more so than any sexual activities or behaviours.

For us, it was never intended to capture or include persons who are orientated to have sex with animals, children or family members. This position still stands at the core of our understanding and interpretation.

We hope that this clarification provides an avenue for more constructive dialogue about the issues J-FLAG seeks to address, that of the recognition and promotion of the equal and inalienable rights of all persons, despite their sexual orientation.

DANE LEWIS

Executive Director, J-FLAG