Tatchell blasted for call to lower age of consent
Wed, 20 Oct 2010
Peter Tatchell has repeated his demand for a lower age of consent and also called for more explicit sex education, but his comments have been slammed by critics.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live show, Mr Tatchell said lowering the age of consent should be combined with earlier sex and relationship education.
But his comments were panned as “completely and utterly wrong” as the other guests on the BBC show expressed their disagreement with his position.
Broadcaster and writer Jon Guant said it was “ridiculous” to consider lowering the age of consent to 14, adding that most people in the UK would agree.
Mr Gaunt also strongly criticised Labour’s sex education approach, saying it had cost tens of millions of pounds, lasted many years, and more of the same just won’t work.
He also warned there was a “danger” of young people being groomed if the age of consent was lowered.
Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who is a Chaplain to the Queen and was the show’s other guest, said self discipline and self respect were needed, not more sex education.
She added that sex was being treated as a game but it should be viewed instead in its rightful place as “special” and “important”.
Revd Hudson-Wilkin also commented that it should be parents who talk about sex with their children, and not teachers and youth workers.
Mr Tatchell claimed on the programme that the current age of consent prevents teachers and youth workers from giving under 16-year-olds information about sex.
The BBC show ran a text poll during the programme asking people whether the age of consent should be lowered to 14, and the idea was overwhelmingly rejected with 84 per cent saying “No”.
On the show Mr Tatchell said he does not “condone” sex between adults and children.
In 1997 the activist sent a letter to The Guardian in which he talked about the “positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships” and even said he knew cases of nine-year-olds for whom sex with adults “gave them great joy”.
Last month a national newspaper columnist described Mr Tatchell’s 1997 comments “deeply shocking”.
Peter Hitchens, writing in The Mail on Sunday, said the letter raised the issue of “where the sexual revolution may really be headed”.
He continued: “What he said in 1997 remains deeply shocking to almost all of us. But shock fades into numb acceptance, as it has over and over again.
“Much of what is normal now would have been deeply shocking to British people 50 years ago. We got used to it.
“How will we know where to stop? Or will we just carry on for ever?”, he said.
The columnist added: “As the condom-wavers and value-free sex-educators advance into our primary schools, and the pornography seeps like slurry from millions of teenage bedroom computers, it seems clear to me that shock, by itself, is no defence against this endless, sordid dismantling of moral barriers till there is nothing left at all.”