In 1973, the American Psychological Association (APA) caved under mounting pressure from the far left and homosexuals to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder, or at least that’s what the anti-gay political pundits and religious leaders would like us to think. All too often, we see those on the far-right say that homosexuality is still a disorder, despite mounds of evidence that prove the contrary. They say the APA removed homosexuality as a mental disorder as a political ploy to legitimize a deviant lifestyle choice that can be cured with a prescription of treatment and the healing powers of their religion. Since 1973, the United States and other parts of the world have made significant strides in ensuring every LGBTQ individual is provided equality and equal protection under the law. In the heat of the marriage equality debates, we’ve heard the slippery slope fallacy that if homosexuals are given rights, then the only logical next step is legalizing pedophilia, bestiality and incest.
But is there a possibility that maybe these anti-gay neoconservatives were right? Could legalized pedophilia be just around the corner? Some on the far-right would like us to think so. A few days ago, the American Psychological Association committed an egregious error when they were discussing changes to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). “Cultural expert” Sandy Rios ran with the error and created a controversy that pedophilia was being declassified in the latest edition of the DSM-V. She argued that just as the homosexuals had pressured the APA in the 1970s, NAMBLA and their supporters had successfully done the same. A prominent “Christian news” organization picked up this story, and it quickly went viral online, which in turn created hysteria .
Failing to act as any reputable journalist would, the “news” site, Sandy Rios and her posse failed to conduct a simple two-second fact-check that would have eased anyone’s fears that what they were reporting on was a false reality. Instead, the far-right, anti-gay blogosphere ran amok, fear-mongered and manipulated those that hang on every one of their ill-gotten words in the hopes that they’d eat it right up! It seems as though many others failed to conduct independent studies to determine the validity of these claims and instead ran to the neoconservative sites clamoring to Antoine Dodson’s famous words, “hide yo kids, cuz they comin’ for you.” “How can we protect our children now,” one concerned parent said, “What has happened to this country,” another cried with dozens of question marks to reiterate the urgency of their question.
When the APA made a statement explaining their error, the Christian site, Sandy Rios and the neoconservative blogosphere didn’t redact their statements that had been creating hysteria in some circles as any credible news agency or person would do. Instead, they wrote a little disclaimer announcing the claims that pedophilia was now a sexual orientation similar to heterosexuality and homosexuality was “in dispute by some.” Others waited until a more intelligent individual came along and pointed out the error in their comments section.
This unfortunate event occurred after the APA was attempting to explain that pedophilia is no longer the term used to describe a sexual attraction to prepubescent children. They have changed pedophilia to “Paraphilic Disorder,” in an effort to create more uniformity in the way the disorders were named in the DSM-V chapter about pedophilia. If you’re curious to know what the criteria for the newly-worded disorder is, you can read this PDF file that explains what Paraphilic Disorder is and the criteria required for a diagnosis. The bulk of the importance for this disorder says (Emphasis is mine):
Most people with atypical sexual interests do not have a mental disorder. To be diagnosed with a paraphilic disorder, DSM-5 requires that people with these interests:
feel personal distress about their interest, not merely distress resulting from society’s disapproval;
have a sexual desire or behavior that involves another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death, or a desire for sexual behaviors involving unwilling persons or persons unable to give legal consent.
You might be asking yourself why would Sandy Rios and her cronies intentionally mislead the public into ignorantly thinking pedophilia is now a sexual orientation, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary. It’s quite simple, really. The LGBTQ community has made great strides in losing the second-class citizen status that we’ve been labeled with for generations. Approval of marriage equality is at all-time highs, Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell kicked the bucket years ago (and the world didn’t end!), 14 states, Washington, D.C., and a handful of counties in New Mexico now have marriage equality, with Oregon recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state and Hawaii possibly being on the cusp of extending marriage equality to their citizens. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been garnering headlines lately, and all the challenges to bans on same-sex marriage have been clogging the state and federal judiciaries. What better way to buck this trend than to make concerned parents think their children are in danger of falling victim to sexual predators if support for equality continues. Sandy Rios and the gang don’t care if what they say isn’t true, the truth doesn’t fit into their losing agenda to codify discrimination into this country. They hope to sway people away from supporting LGBTQ rights by passing on ignorance to those that cling to their every word. These people are salivating at the mouth. They can finally say, “I told you so,” even if there’s not an ounce of truth to what they told us.
In the coming weeks, months and years, I suspect we’ll be hearing more about this error by the American Psychological Association. The anti-gay neoconservatives will jump on the bandwagon conceding that the APA made an error, while pointing at the mistake as evidence that people are softening their views on pedophilia. Those on the losing side of history will cry that it’s only a matter of time before our children will become sexual prey and the we’ll have to sit idly by as pedophiles exercise their “equal rights.” They’ll say the pedophilia mishap was just revealed a few years sooner than they had planned.