I have reproduced the text of a letter which Peter Tatchell wrote to the Guardian in 1997, defending the publication of a book called "Dares To Speak", on the subject of paedophilia. I have done this because the full letter is now difficult to find on the Internet. I have come across several Tatchell supporters who were unaware of the letter and it's content and who were shocked by it.
In view of the fact that many Tatchell supporters claim he is against paedophilia and fights against abuse, I think it's important that the full text of the letter is available for interested parties to read.
Is Peter Tatchell against paedophilia, or is he, in fact, a paedophile apologist? I know what I think. I invite you to read and decide for yourself.
Peter Tatchell's letter to the Guardian, dated 26 June 1997, is reproduced in full below
ROS Coward (Why Dares to Speak says nothing useful, June 23) thinks it is “shocking” that Gay Men’s Press has published a book, Dares To Speak, which challenges the assumption that all sex involving children and adults is abusive. I think it is courageous.
The distinguished psychologists and anthropologists cited in this book deserve to be heard. Offering a rational, informed perspective on sexual relations between younger and older people, they document examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal, beneficial and enjoyable by old and young alike.
Prof Gilbert Herdt points to the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea, where all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood. Far from being harmed, Prof Herdt says the boys grow up to be happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers.
The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.
While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.