By MIA FREEDMAN
This morning I read some media headlines and hundreds of tweets that said a public figure had compared paedophiles to gay people. If true, it’s the kind of story we would jump to cover on Mamamia. We have a proud and fierce reputation for advocating for marriage equality and we are champions of the LGBTQI community. It’s something I’ve fought passionately for my whole life.
So on any other day we would have ripped into this issue and joined the outrage.
Except today, as I write this, the person being accused of such heinous things is me. And I’m mortified.
Not because I have ever or would ever compare homosexuality to paedophilia – that idea is repugnant to anyone with an IQ above room temperature – but because I accidentally gave ammunition to haters and bigots and caused the words homosexuality and paedophilia to appear in the same sentence in headlines and a Twitter pile-on.
Let me be absolutely clear: I unreservedly apologise to anyone I have upset, confused or outraged and to anyone who thought I would ever ever ever stand with bigotry or homophobia.
I know the facts: there is no link between homosexuality and offending against children. And after the hundreds of hours of live TV and radio I have done, I should have known better; it’s dangerous to try and make a complex point about such an important topic in 10 seconds.
You run a huge risk of your words being twisted, taken out of context and fed to the enemies of your cause. Last night I forgot that and I’m incredibly distressed that the result has been more pain and suffering for the gay community.
What actually happened was this:
When a subject about which I feel passionately – the rights of convicted paedophiles to ‘privacy’ vs the safety of children – I made the wrong call and tried to make a point that was way too complex for a 5 second grab. I recognise now that the long history of people damagingly linking homosexuality and paedophillia, means the two topics can never be inoffensively connected.
In a conversation about paedophiles reoffending (they have one of the highest reoffending rates of any type of criminal), co-host Josh Zseps was talking about the importance of therapy and rehabilitation for paedophiles. Something that always makes me blind with rage is the emphasis on criminals rather than victim, so I came out swinging – not at Josh but at the idea of paedophiles being able to be rehabilitated. I believe they cannot be.