Keeping America’s Children Safe
A friend of mine, a radical from the time when radicals burned draft cards, uses the line “keeping America’s children safe” as a running joke to describe the cover that concept provides for bigots, prudes and the power-hungry. As (to paraphrase Dr. Johnson) patriotism was once the last refuge of scoundrels, and as (to paraphrase Senator Roscoe Conkling) that role was usurped by “reform,” people who really want to control what adults can see and do usually try to manufacture a claim of harm to children.
Patrick Califia and I have a few things in common. Among them, we knew we were kinky before we turned 18. But the world was set up to make sure that we didn’t have access to information about how to be who we were in safe and sane ways, with age-appropriate partners, at that age.
At least part of the focus of the personal attacks on MayMay has been the all-ages availability of the information at the KinkForAll conferences. It sounds to me like a flag of convenience, flown by people who would have a problem with the content no matter who it was presented to.
As I look back on my teen years, the least dangerous information anyone could have given me was accurate safety information about how to do what I was starting to learn to do anyway; and social and political discourse about what it meant to do what it is that we do.
In the age of the internet, where kids find ways to get all the worst sort of information as soon as they are of a mind to go looking for it, to pillory someone for advocating access to better, more accurate, more thought-provoking discourse is an argument in bad faith.
There is plenty of conversation to be had about what information is suitable for teens and how to present it. That’s a long conversation. But the people attacking MayMay and KinkForAll are not the least bit interested in having that conversation. In fact, my understanding is that they have been invited to discuss it and have tacitly declined. I think they’re not really interested in protecting children. I think they’re interested in shutting down the conferences and silencing kinksters.
My friend also tends to use the phrase “exercises of power and excuses therefor.” That about covers it. The powers that be in Athens executed Socrates because he was a pain in their collective ass; keeping the children safe was their excuse therefor.