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How Do Age of Consent Laws Affect Gay Teens?

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age of consent

age of consent

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Question: How Do Age of Consent Laws Affect Gay Teens?
Answer:

What It Is

The age of consent is the age that a person can legally agree to have sex.

A person over the age of consent who has sex with someone under the age of consent can be charged with a crime for having sex with the younger person, regardless of whether or not the younger person agrees to have sex.

American Age of Consent Laws

The age of consent varies between states and countries. The website Cool Nurse provides the information below on American age of consent laws, by state.

In some states, laws are different depending on the gender of the people involved. In those states, the abbreviation f/m refers to laws about male, female sex, m/m refers to male, male sex, and f/f refers to female, female sex.

  • Alabama f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Alaska 16
  • Arizona f/m: 18 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Arkansas f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • California 18
  • Colorado 17
  • Connecticut 16
  • District of Columbia f/m: 16 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Delaware f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Florida f/m: 18 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Georgia 16
  • Hawaii f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Idaho f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Illinois 17
  • Indiana 16
  • Iowa f/m: 16 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Kansas f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Kentucky f/m: 16 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Louisiana f/m: 17 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Maine 16
  • Maryland f/m: 16 m/m: No current law f/f: No current law
  • Massachusetts f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Michigan f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Minnesota f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Mississippi f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Missouri f/m: 17 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Montana f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: 18 f/f: 18
  • Nebraska f/m: 17 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Nevada f/m: 16 m/m: 18 f/f: 18
  • New Hampshire ]f/m: 16 m/m: 18 f/f: 18
  • New Jersey 16
  • New Mexico f/m: 17 m/m: 16 f/f: 16
  • New York 17
  • North Carolina f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • North Dakota 18
  • Ohio f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Oklahoma f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Oregon 18
  • Pennsylvania 16
  • Rhode Island f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • South Carolina f/m: 14(f) 16(m) m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • South Dakota f/m: 16 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Tennessee f/m: 18 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Texas f/m:17 m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Utah f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: Law invalidated f/f: Law invalidated
  • Vermont f/m: 16 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Virginia f/m: 18 m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed
  • Washington 16
  • West Virginia f/m: 16 m/m: 18 f/f: 18
  • Wisconsin 18
  • Wyoming f/m: 16(f) 18(m) m/m: Law repealed f/f: Law repealed

Canadian Age of Consent Laws

Canadian age of consent laws have sparked a lot of controversy recently. Partly, this has been because of their uneven application.

The back story is that for over 100 years, Canada's age of consent for vaginal sex was 14. On the other hand, until the late 1980s' the age of consent for anal sex was 21. In 1988, that was lowered to 18.

On May 1st, 2008, the age of consent for vaginal sex was raised to 16. But the age of consent for anal sex was not lowered from 18. This upset many people in the gay community who viewed this as discriminatory, and pointed out that under this law two 17-year-olds having anal sex could be charged with a crime!

Others worried that despite "close in age" laws that don't make it a crime for two teens to have vaginal or oral sex, many young people would be confused by the new legislation, and would not seek help when needed.

The Impact on Gay Teens

Age of consent laws are designed to protect teens from adult predators. Sometimes they can end up punishing kids in non-coercive situations. It is really important for gay teens, who already face hurdles when it comes to their sexuality to know the law and how it affects them.

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