Fences Make Good Neighbors #1: Freedom and Control
It’s been a while since my last essay on my life as a minor-attracted person, or MAP. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please see my series titled “Beyond Pride” on my Facebook page, or at my website: wileyhaydon.com/blog.) I’ve spent the intervening time doing research and reaching out to people who I think might be able to assist me in my journey as I strive to bring MAPs’ situation to the public eye. I’ve found a number of frustrating walls in my path, but I’ve also made some real progress, too.
Over the course of these journeys, one question that keeps coming up is whether or not I am a danger to the children around me. I don’t see myself as a threat, but I can understand how others could reach that assumption based on my attractions. This complicates the matter as ensuring the safety of children is going to come into conflict with my freedom.
This leads to some difficult questions. After all, I’ve never committed any crime or harmed any child. Any actions taken to constrain me are based on discriminatory views of minor-attracted people. The assumption is that since some MAPs have harmed kids, I may do so as well.
As I’ve stated before, my attraction doesn’t lead me to violence or assault any more than the average heterosexual man. Just because I have a desire doesn’t mean that I will act upon it. The fact that others have acted inappropriately does not (or perhaps should not) reflect on me negatively. After all, some heterosexual men rape women, but we don’t treat all men as rapists. It’s reasonable to argue that a similar grace be extended to me.
On the other hand, children are less able to defend themselves from any untoward activity, so additional barriers to protect them make sense. I may not have committed any crimes, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t. Because of that, enacting some barriers seem like pro-active prudence.
There’s a careful balance to be walked here, though. If the stipulations placed upon me are too onerous, it will strongly discourage other MAPs from admitting their attractions and seeking help. If they feel they are going to be punished for their attractions (rather than their actions) they are unlikely to open up to anyone.
So the question I have today is: What does that balance look like?
This query has served as the crux of discussions that I’ve been having recently. Several of us have discussed where that line lies. I’m trying to be flexible; I recognize that even allowing a MAP to be present is a compromise on the part of many, so I’m trying to be accommodating with any special requests or restrictions that may come up.
Still, everyone is different. That’s why I want to ask you, my friends, what your requirements would look like. If you knew that a MAP (not me, necessarily) wanted to attend your church, go to a movie, hang out at a Christmas party, or attend some similar event, what restrictions would you want in place to feel comfortable? Is there any level of accommodation that could be made to put you at ease, or is the topic still so frightfully new and terrifying that this area is impossible to compromise on?
I’m honestly curious here as I’ve seen the full gamut of reactions. Some people I know trust me and are comfortable enough that they still bring their kids around without additional restrictions. Others have all but cut me from their lives for fear of what I might do to children. I expect answers here will be equally broad, but I honestly want to hear your take. Through these essays I sincerely hope I’ve taught you something about MAPs; now, it’s time for me to learn something.
I’d appreciate it if you’d leave your response in the comments, but if you don’t want to publicly post your thoughts on my essay, I understand. You can message them to me through Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Either way, please take the chance to respond; the discussion this begins will be helpful as I move forward.