Friday, August 04, 2006

Republican Perry McGuire, hate speech of the week

Georgia Republican for attorney general, Perry McGuire (mentioned last night) said...

...that allowing gay clubs to meet in schools is "much like allowing a pedophile club or a gambling club to meet at school." McGuire was responding to a question about a recent federal court ruling allowing a gay-straight alliance to meet at White County High School in Georgia.
....McGuire described [the gay-straight alliance club] as a "gay sex" club. "I think the problem here, and I think where the court substantially erred, is that the intent of the act was never to allow organizations that advocate illegal activity [to have campus access]," he told Agape Press. "And in Georgia, sex between minors is illegal; statutory rape laws apply.
"Homosexual activist clubs in schools are detrimental to students and to the moral well-being of society," he continued. (The Advocate)
Does McGuire think that an exclusively straight club would advocate and engage in illegal sexual activity? And would a court that had ruled in its favor have "substantially erred?" I dare him to make such an assertion.

The fact that McGuire made his statements to a Christian news service tells me he has a theocon agenda to advance in pandering to homophobic conservative Georgians. His remarks elicit the worst in people by appealing to bigotry and superstition ignoring science, psychiatry, and psychology about gays and lesbians. As an attorney general candidate, McGuire dismisses the statistics about sex abuse in his egregiously ignorant statements, something that a potential law official should know. Heckuva job, McGuire!

I've already fired off an email this afternoon to Cynthia Tucker at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Op/Eds--Reg. Req.) expressing my repugnance at McGuire's remarks. In it I stated...
I would hope that a candidate for attorney general would understand the nature of the criminals he would prosecute. By his tying pedophiles to gay teens, he confirms he knows nothing.
Most offenders are "family men" and I have referred to these perverts in the past as "heterosexuals." But in truth, pedophiles are in a class of their own, deviants that have nothing to do with sexuality--meaning a biological trait we are born with. Heterosexuals, as do gays, lesbians, and bisexuals reside in the class of biologically-induced, naturally-occurring sexual orientation. Pedophiles don't rate such a distinction. They suffer from a disorder, a disease, that's acquired, often as victims of abuse themselves, that compels them to offend children. Such despicable acts are not about sex--but about power, control, and violence. Rape is not sex. A body part or device used to violate the private parts of a child or juvenile is the violent weapon of a pedophile. For McGuire to spread ignorance, homophobic, and outright false information transverses beyond the pale.

Examine the majority of sex abuse abuse victims and you will discover that they are overwhelmingly female. The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (1991-1996 of 12 states--Source) reports on Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. The findings show:
  • Females were more than six times as likely as males to be the victims of sexual assaults known to law enforcement agencies.
  • More specifically, 86% of all victims of sexual assault were female.
  • The relative proportion of female victims generally increased with age.
  • Sixty-nine percent of victims under age 6 were female, compared with 73% of victims under age 12, and 82% of all juvenile (under age 18) victims.
  • The female proportion of sexual assault victims reached 90% at age 13 and 95% at age 19.
  • Based on the NIBRS [National Incident-Based Reporting System] data, the year in a male's life when he is most likely to be the victim of a sexual assault is age 4. By age 17 his risk of victimization has been cut by a factor of 5.
  • A female's year of greatest risk is age 14. Her risk drops to half the peak level by age 17 and to a fifth of the peak level by age 27.
  • At his peak victimization age of 4, a male's risk of sexual assault victimization is just half that of females of the same age.
  • In the later juvenile years (ages 14 to 17), the female victimization rates [of high school age] are at least 10 times greater than the male rates for similar age groups.
Got that? The huge majority of children and juveniles of sexual assault are female. And who are the perpetrators? The opposite sex. Again, from the same DOJ source:
  • Nearly all of the offenders in sexual assaults reported to law enforcement were male (96%).
  • Female offenders were most common in assaults against victims under age 6.
  • For these youngest victims, 12% of offenders were females, compared with 6% for victims ages 6 through 12, and 3% for victims ages 12 through 17.
  • Overall, 6% of the offenders who sexually assaulted juveniles were female, compared with just 1% of the female offenders who sexually assaulted adults.
And what about age?
Overall, 23% of sexual assault offenders were under age 18 and 77% were adults. Juveniles were a substantially smaller proportion of the offenders in forcible rapes (17%) than in sexual assaults with an object (23%), forcible fondlings (27%), and incidents of forcible sodomy (36%).
The overwhelming demographic profile of a sex offender--adult males who assault females, the opposite sex--does not fit gay high school students. However, lesbian, straight, and bisexual high schoolers, beware of male teachers and men in authority positions who use their access to children to offend!

The Catholic abuse ("sex" is a misnomer) scandal obscured the facts about pedophiles and gave homophobic ideologues an opportunity to speciously tie "gay" to "pedophile." All of this was done with the complicity of an allegedly "fair and balanced" media that did not report the truth about the statistics of sexual abuse among children and their offenders.

Yes, there are men who prey on boys. Yes, there are women who prey on girls. However, they are a minority. Follow the facts. Most sex offenders of children and juveniles are adult men and the huge majority of child victims are female. What's that tell you? It's time to dispel the myth often touted by conservative homophobes that being gay is inexorably connected to child molestation. It is not!

As Rev. Irene pointed out about hate speech aimed at minorities:
The liberation of a people is also rooted in the liberation from abusive language, which is essentially hate hurled at them. Using epithets, especially jokingly, does not eradicate its historical baggage or the existing social relations among us. Instead, dislodging these epithets from their historical context makes us insensitive and arrogant to the historical injustices done to specific group of Americans.
It allows all Americans to become numb to the use and abuse of the power of hate speech because of the currency these epithets still have.
The epithet of pedophile assumed about gay teens by McGuire smacks of ugly hate speech, the underlying message being that gays are bad, their sexuality illegal and deviant. Deputy Legal Director Judith E. Schaeffer of The People For the American Way criticized McGuire saying:
Gay-straight alliances exist to create safe, supportive environments for gay and lesbian students who all too often are victims of bullying and discrimination, to combat harassment and discrimination, and to provide information. To suggest that they exist to advocate illegal activity is just plain wrong. It’s an attempt to appeal to bigotry and exploit Georgia teens for political gain...
Research indicates that many students who are gay or perceived to be gay are verbally or physically harassed or assaulted in school. Divisive, erroneous, and mean-spirited comments like McGuire’s could increase anti-gay sentiment and lead to even more bullying of gay and lesbian young people. That’s unacceptable. All students, gay and non-gay, should be able to feel safe, and be safe, when they go to school.
For this, Perry McGuire earns recognition for Hate Speech of the Week.

Perry McGuire Website
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Perry McGuire Mailing Address:
Perry McGuire for Attorney General
PO Box 658
Douglasville, GA 30133
Telephone: 404.805.8006