In recent light of actor Kevin Spacey being accused of making sexual advances at 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986, miles of bold lines need to be drawn between homosexuality and pedophilia.
Being attracted to people of the same sex does not in any way correlate with sexual attraction toward children. But, members of disliked minority groups throughout history have been stereotyped and used as the scapegoat for dangerous situations no one wants to face. During the Middle Ages, everyone thought Jews were killing Christian babies. Black men were lynched during the 20th century after being falsely accused of raping white women. To top it off, during the 70's, the anti-gay organization Save Our Children campaigned endlessly to convince the public that “a particularly deviant-minded [gay] teacher could sexually molest children.”
Past scandals can easily be pulled to support this discriminatory ideology. Headlines have led with news of the international breakthrough when the Catholic Church was found covering up their priests sexually abusing boys (2002). Former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned after soliciting sexual messages to teenage boys (2006). Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing boys during the 70s and was later found raping a 10-year-old boy on Penn State campus (2002). These situations are a reality and dangerous, but the facts are that male pedophiles tend to choose young boys because they identify with the child, not because the offender is gay.
Kevin Spacey was 27-years-old when he drunkenly picked up young teenage Rapp and attempted to have sex with him before the child actor could escape. This is pedophilia. This was seconds away from child molestation. Only decades later when Rapp admitted, did Spacey apologize publicly, but in a particular way that begged for empathy and understanding.
“This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life,” Spacey said in a tweet. “I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose to live as a gay.”
His statement attempts to excuse his unacceptable behavior by suddenly admitting his sexuality at such a convenient time of desperation. With the entire nation watching and ready to retweet, post and share and without considering the pain and decades of progression the LGBTQ community has made since the 70’s, he forced the blame and guilt of his actions on being gay. This was a desperate move of his public relations team to save his career from a scandal during a wave of Hollywood sexual assault reports. Most of all, his apparent apology was a cruel statement that twisted the knife into the back of LGBTQ community and then broadcasted it.