Sexual Politics: Sexuality and Pedophilia

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Yadavendra Singh Darvesh

Yadavendra S Darvesh

Homosexuality was considered to be a psychiatric disorder for ages. Until 1973, it was classified as mental illness in the DSM and in 1990, World Health Organization took off homosexuality from the list of its diseases. Despite these important developments the Ministry of Home Affairs, during the hearings of the case ‘Naz Foundation vs. Government of NCT Delhi and Others’, argued that the Section 377 needs to be retained as it prosecutes individuals accused of child sexual abuse. Thereby equating same sex orientation with pedophilia. This argument not only reflects misplaced notion of homosexuals being child abusers, but also as a deviant individuals.

Before we delve further, we need to understand a clear distinction between homosexuality and pedophilia. Homosexuality refers to a person’s physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction towards same sex. Pedophilia is characterized by recurring, intense sexually arousing fantasies, urges or behavior involving children. Also, we need to know that pedophilia refers to the sexual preference for prepubescent minors and hebephilia refers to the sexual preference for pubescent minors. But our laws consider any person less than 18 years of age a child and legally incapable of giving consent to sexual relationships. So pedophilia is both a pathological disorder and a crime. But here it is interesting to know that it is not necessary that a pedophile person will certainly act on their fantasies or urges with a child. There are many people who sexually abuse children, but are not attracted to them.

Historically and culturally there were many civilizations that consider man-minor relationships to be natural and normal. But not so in today’s world.  Unfortunately, there are still innumerable examples of LGBT individuals have been targeted as ‘child molesters’. Schools have refused to take openly gay person as a faculty, laws prohibiting LGBT individuals to adopt children or go for surrogacy, religious bodies confirming homosexuals are child abusers. Any references of equating homosexuality with pedophilia or CSA are not only damaging and mischievous but also a malicious attempt to bring down all the gains achieved till now.

Sexuality may or may not be biological or natural, but it certainly is political.

Yadavendra S Darvesh

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