Why Are Huffington Post’s ‘Gay Voices’ Columnists Fixated on Underage Sex?

Dec 14, 2013
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A week ago, a Huffington Post columnist argued that it was homophobic to criticize gay men who use Internet sex sites to meet teenage partners. You might shrug that off as an anomaly, if you didn’t realize that in May, Huffington Post was enthusiastically aboard the “Free Kate” bandwagon to legalize sex with 14-year-olds in Florida.


OK, so on Friday, Huffington Post published this “Gay Voices” column by lesbian writer Ella Boureau:

In June of this year, I sent out a story to be considered for Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, a popular anthology put out by Cleis Press. The largest independent queer publisher in the U.S., Cleis has established itself as the de facto clearinghouse for lesbian erotica. . . .
The story I submitted, called “Cottonmouth” . . . is about two teenage cousins who go for a walk in the Mississippi woods to escape the afternoon heat and end up face-to-face with the mystery of sexuality and nature and the myths created about the two. The story was accepted by the guest editor, Sarah Schulman. While Sarah loved it, she had a tussle with the publishers about whether or not the story’s focus was “bestiality.” Sarah’s position was, “So what?” . . .
Then August came, and I received another email from Sarah saying that Cleis wanted to remove “Cottonmouth” from the collection because the characters were underage, and claiming that Cleis faced “legal vulnerability.” Sarah, whose novel The Child, about a sexual relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a 40-year-old man, faced no legal consequences, immediately recognized this as censorship and wrote, “I cannot permit this and will go to the wall.” . . .
Now I see that the discomfort generated by my story marks a shift in what Cleis Press is targeting as their main audience. The “queer” label associated with the publisher is no longer so much about making a space for outsiders to be heard as it is about niche marketing. This is where the fear comes in. Ultimately, the anxiety around the homosexual as pedophile and the uncomfortable linkage of homosexuality with bestiality still looms large in a certain sector of the American public’s imagination

Translation: “Hey, it’s just a harmless story about two teenage cousins who have sex with a snake, what’s the big deal? And I mean, c’mon, the guest editor wrote a novel about pederasty, so obviously you didn’t have a problem with that, right?”

But remember, there’s no such thing as a “gay agenda.” Anybody who says there is such an agenda is a paranoid homophobic bigot.

The OtherMccain

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Michael Whiteacre
Michael Whiteacre
10 years ago

This story just lost me at the needless “gay agenda” kicker. This an interesting topic that can’t simply be chalked up to some homosexual cultural conspiracy.

The notion of a single overarching “gay agenda” is as ridiculous as “patriarchy” — particularly when it’s supposedly evidenced by a couple of HuffPost columnists.

10 years ago

Agreed. I don’t think HuffPo has any agenda where gender identity is concerned beyond the obvious moral imperative to oppose discrimination based on either gender identity or gender itself. That’s not what pisses me off about HuffPo. When it comes to covering porn they suck. They sensationalize every aspect of the condom controversy every time they cover it. They reprint press releases from AHF as if they were gospel. They give Gail Dines a soapbox whenever she wants it. Their in-house porn reporter has openly posted in favor of the condom mandate. They love any story in which a woman… Read more »

Anthony Kennerson
10 years ago

Right. No such thing as a “gay agenda”. Except when right wingers like Robert McCain invent straw horses like Huffington Post columnists quoting Cleis Press fantasy novels on bestiality and underage sex fantasies to ding homosexuals with the usual Christian Right libels.

The moment I saw one of the comments there about the failure of “Western Civilization” favorably quoting Robert Bork, I knew what was up.

Huffington Post does have its issues (exploiting their writers, liberal paternalism in regards to sexual expression), but this just isn’t one of them.

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