1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

The Myth of the Gay Pedophile

Contrary to Popular Belief Gay Men AREN'T the Most Likely to Sexually Abuse Kids


Silhouette of Child holding her mum's hand
onebluelight/Vetta/Getty Images

Quick question: Who do you think is most likely to sexually abuse a child? A gay man or a straight man?

If you said a straight man, you'd be right. But a lot of people out there assume that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles than are straight men. There are a few reasons for this.

A big one is that if the victim is a boy, the assumption is that the offender is gay. And while this might seem to make sense, the vast majority of offenders identify as straight, regardless of the sex of their victim.

As an article in Psychology Today explains,

"Some research shows that for pedophiles, the gender of the child is immaterial. Accessibility is more the factor in who a pedophile abuses. This may explain the high incidence of children molested in church communities and fraternal organizations, where the pedophile may more easily have access to children. In these situations, an adult male is trusted by those around him, including children and their families. Males are often given access to boys to mentor, teach, coach and advise. Therefore, a male pedophile may have easier access to a male child.

In trying to make sense of an adult male's sexually abusing a male child, many of us mislabel it as an act of homosexuality, which it isn't...To call child molestation of a boy by a man "homosexual" or of a girl by a man "heterosexual" is to misunderstand pedophilia. No true pedophile is attracted to adults, so neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality applies."

Sadly, the myth that gay men are pedophiles still exists and has some pretty dire consequences. For example, it has been used to deny gay men the ability to become dads by banning them from adopting or being foster parents. It has also kept them out of organizations like the Boy Scouts.

This myth can also make life at home tough for gay teens. One lesbian teen writes that her dad has bought into it and this makes her really uncomfortable with the idea of coming out. She says:

"Today I accidentally mentioned that Dumbledore is gay. My dad was shocked. He was saying that Dumbledore shouldn't be allow to be principle of a school with young boys cause he may do something to them. WTF dad, really?! Apparently not even harry potter characters are safe from prejudice.

How am I meant come out when my own dad goes and says stuff like that? That was such an ignorant comment. Just cause I like people from the same sex doesn't mean I'll go for little girls. It just makes me so mad.

Hopefully, over time, the myth that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles than others will die out. But for now, it still seems to exist in some circles.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.