Ask Angelo - Angelo Pezzote by R. Angelo Pezzote, MA, RPh

ang020904
Angelo Pezzote
MA, RPh

 Many of my gay male friends have been molested as  children.

 Are more gay than straight men abused?

 Does that make them gay?

 


Those are broad, insightful and powerful questions. In short, there is no evidence to suggest a positive answer to either of the questions posed. But I have some ideas which may be helpful to you.

There are a number of reasons why it may seem as though more gay men were abused as children. Gay men might report being molested more than straight men report it. Maybe by having more familiarity with confronting Self by coming out, we are more willing to come forward and share our abuse relative to our straight male allies. So it may seem as though more of us were abused because we talk about it more.

A separate issue raised within the first question is are gay boys actually molested more? Perhaps being gay children, some of us become more vulnerable than straight boys to being preyed upon by molesters. Not fitting in, not belonging, feeling different or being flat out rejected by peers and family may lead to vulnerabilities like low self-esteem, depression, and isolation. This combination could set some of us up by making us more susceptible to the special attention of some pedophile friend, relative or stranger. Every boy needs to feel that he is OK and loved. It is the attention - the love and connection the child wants - never the abuse. Childhood sexual abuse has devastating consequences. But recovery is possible. I admire the courage of male survivors of childhood abuse.

To answer the second question, no, abuse does not make someone gay. While no one knows the cause of any sexual orientation, it is believed that sexuality is already hard wired by an early age. One's natural sexuality therefore can get tainted by abuse to make for confusion. Mike Lew, author of a recommended book Victims No Longer (Second Edition): The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse, Quill Edition (HarperCollins) New York: 2004, states, "An incident of sexual abuse could activate awareness of a sexual orientation that might otherwise have manifested itself later on in a less traumatic fashion...Survivors who were sexually abused by other men question what this experience means about their sexuality... For gay men, it more often takes the form, Is this why Im gay? or Did this happen to me because Im gay? ...Since the abuse was committed sexually, it is often mistakenly seen as an act of sexual passion instead of what it really isan aggressive, destructive violation of another human being."

Power, violence and control are what the abuse may be about for the perpetrator not gay sex. Pedophiles identify in large as straight. This remains true even though many sexualize same sex children. It's children in general that they get off on not a particular gender. Others may be developmentally stuck as children themselves, so they think they are appropriately relating to children as children.

In any case, abuse is not about sex and it is never the child's fault. Even if an adorable, mature, gay, nine year old boy says "I want you to have sex with me," it is up to the caretaker to say "no" and to get that child the professional help they may need.

Love and Light,

Angelo