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Beyond Pride #5: Born This Way

As I’ve discussed my attraction to minors this week, I’ve kept it focused on my own struggles and my growth through that journey. This post marks a shift in my emphasis as I move toward more external analysis. I had hoped to avoid these topics directly, but it has become clear to me that I simply cannot explore life as a MAP without them. Today’s post will focus on the aspects of the LGBT community that have intersected with my struggles. Tomorrow’s will look at the church’s response to sexual sin and what it means for MAPs.

I mentioned in the first essay that Pride Month is confusing for me. On the one hand, I understand what it means to carry a sexual attraction that is different from the social norm. On the other hand, my situation does not fit neatly with the Pride movement; I’m fighting my nature instead of embracing it.

More than anything else, though, there has been a single ideal that has caused me more consternation than any other.

The idea that our sexual identity is innate and should therefore be accepted without question is extremely problematic for me. Encapsulated most succinctly in the phrase, “born this way,” this particular plea has gained such traction that it has become a part of politics and pop culture. Of recent notability is Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s response a few months ago when replying to Vice President Mike Pence on the subject of homosexuality.

He said, “And that's the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

I’ve been hearing this type of rebuttal for years, and it honestly infuriates me. Statements like this are devastating. When he tells his detractors to basically “take it up with God” Mayor Pete establishes a divine mandate for his sexuality based on nothing more than the fact it is innate. Such a “birth mandate” then, by logical extension, applies to all inborn desires. This is terrifying since I believe that attraction to minors falls under that umbrella. I’ve come to recognize that Mayor Pete’s statement is a fallacy, but to a teenage MAP, who may lack the logical or emotional currency to combat this message, it would sound very enticing.

It’s more than just the idea that being born with a certain sexual proclivity grants the freedom to act on it, though. Molded into this belief is the idea that being asked to resist one’s sexual attraction is tantamount to self-destruction. The argument goes that what we are defines how we must act.

If this worldview is correct then those attracted to children are doomed to live unfulfilled and meaningless lives, or—even worse—to seek their happiness through the pain of others. Thus, if we hold this view to be true, then minor-attracted people truly are monsters who will never find any kind of joy. If that’s the case, then the most violent opponents of MAPs—those who hate even non-offending ones—are correct: we would be better off dead.

I cannot adequately put into words how strongly I reject this analysis. My strength in the face of these trials, the life that I have lived, and the joy in my marriage to Janelle are all major blows to this concept. Moreover, there are plenty of other MAPs whose lives also serve as proof against this theory. These facts alone should make this an easy case to close.

The problem here is that the cost of being wrong is high. If the birth mandate is incorrect, then the LGBT community has spent a lot of energy spreading a devastating lie. The threat here is the sunk cost fallacy.

To those unfamiliar with it, the sunk cost fallacy is the belief that it is worth continuing to invest capital in a doomed venture simply because so much is already invested. You determine the value of something not based on the benefits it actually provides but instead in terms of how much it has already cost you. It’s a dangerous fallacy because it encourages throwing resources into a project that doesn’t warrant them.

That’s what I fear this situation has become. My desires create an obvious logical flaw within the birth mandate argument, but I believe that this has simply been ignored. Too much of modern homosexual philosophy is built on this ideal. To acknowledge my case would require a terrifying admission: sexual urges—and identity—CAN be resisted. This is good news for MAPs, but bad news for a community that has built many of their justifications on this foundation.

The current environment surrounding homosexuality is one that demands pride in sexual identity, a pride which manifests as both desire and action. Part of the current gay culture is embracing identity and letting nothing get in the way. That’s a message of empowerment for many. For minor-attracted people like myself, though, it is a message that destroys all hope of a meaningful life.

Wiley III