We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
—The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
A Concerned Citizen
As a law-abiding citizen of the United States, I am entitled to enjoy the same freedoms and privileges as any other citizen. As a childlover, however, I feel that I am the subject of discrimination and infringements of my rights and my dignity. Therefore, I decided to write a letter to my elected officials, at both the state and the federal level, to inform them of my situation and ask them what actions they are taking to protect my rights as a citizen. I sent letters to the following people:
- George W. Bush (R)
- President of the United States of America
- John F. Kerry (D)
- United States Senator
- Edward M. Kennedy (D)
- United States Senator
- Michael E. Capuano (D)
- United States Congressman
Massachusetts, 8th District
- Mitt Romney (R)
- Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- Dianne Wilkerson (D)
- Massachusetts State Senator
2nd Suffolk District
- Marty Walz (D)
- Massachusetts State Representative
8th Suffolk District
Dear [ name inserted ],
I am a childlover. I am writing to you today to inquire what steps you will take as my elected representative to preserve the civil liberties and due process to which I am entitled as a citizen of the United States of America. I am concerned about the infringement of my rights because we live today in an atmosphere where people like myself are seeing our rights trampled upon and ignored due to the moral panic about amaros.
Please allow me to elaborate. By classifying myself as a childlover, I am admitting that I have a primary attraction to pre-pubescent girls. I would stress, however, that this attraction has never led me to engage in any illegal activities. I have never had sexual experiences with any children. I therefore cannot be classified as a child molester.
Unfortunately, however, society and the mainstream media have made the terms pedophile and child molester synonymous. This has put immense pressure on me and others like me to conceal our identities and to live in constant fear that our attraction will be discovered and we will be subjected to public ridicule.
I have three specific concerns. Firstly, I fear that my physical safety may be in jeopardy. My reason for this fear is that there seems to be an increase in anti-childlover violence as well as official negligence that allows some of this violence to take place. Specifically, the murder of John Geoghan in a Massachusetts prison and the beating of Kevin Kinder, who was placed in a Florida jail cell with a former victim, show that the authorities are not careful enough to protect the right to life that amarsi, convicted or not, should be afforded.
Secondly, I am concerned about a disturbing trend to police my thoughts. I am referring specifically to the case of John Doe v. City of Lafayette, Indiana, where the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a former offender could be banned from certain public areas because of thoughts he had about children he saw there.
I am also concerned about the unchallenged activities of vigilantes such as perverted-justice.com. Organizations such as this act as judge and jury and rob their victims of due process under the law when they publicize their personal details and engage in public harassment campaigns against them. These campaigns are based upon unverifiable chat transcripts that the vigilantes claim prove that their victims engaged in sexually explicit online chats with underaged teens. Both this vigilante activity and the court ruling I cited above infringe upon my privacy and liberty.
Thirdly, I am concerned about the difficulties that amarsi like myself have finding any kind of counselling. We are afraid to discuss our pedophilic feelings with qualified psychologists and other mental health practitioners because we fear that we will be discriminated against, misunderstood or reported to the authorities, who will make the assumption that we are sexual offenders. The case of John Doe v. City of Lafayette came to light originally because he spoke of his thoughts in a group therapy session and his therapist reported his speech to his former probation officer.
Very little research has been done on amarsi outside of a forensic setting. Therefore, amaros is not understood sufficiently by either the scientific or the medical establishment. Despite this, pedophilia is classified by the American Psychological Association in their DSM-IV diagnostic manual as a paraphilia.
While sufferers of most 'mental disorders' can avail themselves of the medical establishment to treat their ailments, amarsi can only do so if the are willing to risk being branded as a criminal by the authorities and as an evil pervert by the general public. At the same time, as amarsi we are under a legal obligation to suppress our sexuality. Yet even if we never commit any crime, if our sexual preference becomes public, we are subject to ridicule and discrimination. In such an environment, it is wholly impossible for us to pursue happiness.
Dr. Fred Berlin of the National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma estimates that childlovers may comprise four percent of the population. A 1989 study conducted by John Briere, Ph.D and Marsha Runtz, Ph.D entitled University Males' Sexual Interest in Children concluded that twenty-one percent of males had some sexual attraction to children. Therefore, somewhere between one in twenty-five and one in four citizens have pedophilic feelings. Yet, society prefers to bury its head in the sand and ignore the needs of amarsi.
The result of this prejudice and ignorance is that our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are under threat. I am a member of a not insignificant constituency and I am calling upon you as my elected representative to discuss ways to ensure that I, and others like me, are able to enjoy the same freedoms and privileges as other Americans.
I originally sent this letter in August, 2004 to the recipients listed above. Several of these elected representatives were running for re-election (and in one case, running for an even higher office), so admittedly that was not the ideal time to send such a letter (for we all know that politicians are not inclined to do the “right thing” during a campaign). Still, I am perturbed by the fact that I got absolutely no responses at all other than an automated email stating that my missive had been received. I will try again when the dust from the campaign has settled. Perhaps I will have better luck then?
I resent the letter in March, 2005. Paul Demakis, who decided not to run for re-election, was replaced at the Massachusetts State Assembly by Marty Walz, his hand-picked successor. Therefore, she received my letter for the first time. I will let you know what responses (if any) I receive.