A homosexual campaigner’s claims that some child-adult sexual relationships are “positive” have been slammed by a national newspaper columnist as “deeply shocking”.
Peter Hitchens, writing in The Mail on Sunday, blasted a letter written by Peter Tatchell to The Guardian, in which he claimed that he knew cases of nine-year-olds for whom sex with adults “gave them great joy”.
In Mr Tatchell’s controversial letter, sent in 1997, he talked about the “positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships”, although he now claims he was “not in any way condoning paedophilia”, and is “against sex between adults and children”.
Mr Hitchens 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?”
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.”
In his 1997 letter Mr Tatchell commented that several of his friends had had sex with adults when they were aged between nine and 13. “None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy”, he wrote.
He went on to say that 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”.
Responding to enquiries from Peter Hitchens, Mr Tatchell claimed his main purpose in writing the letter had been to defend free speech.
Peter Tatchell has repeatedly called for the age of consent to be lowered to 14 but Michael Gove, who is now Education Secretary, has said that the law is in place as a safeguard against the physical risks and emotional damage caused by underage sex.
Speaking last year while Shadow Children’s Secretary, Mr Gove said the age of consent law, “helps teens themselves to say no and resist the sort of pressure to ‘experiment’ which can lead to disease, heartbreak and pregnancy”.
“It keeps our children from straying into the barbed-wire-strewn no-man’s land of emotional loss and personal turmoil which premature entanglements inevitably involve”, he said.
Last year, remarking on Mr Tatchell’s call for a weakening of the age of consent, commentator David Lindsay said “sex is for people who can cope with the consequences, physical and otherwise. In a word, adults”.