Category: Essays

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For Sex Offenders, Can Isolation Breed Community?

I feel weird. I hate myself. These are the reflections of Chad Stoffel in an SBS Dateline documentary entitled Banished, revealing a thriving community of sex offenders in Florida. When Chad realized he was gay he started down a path of self-loathing and secrecy. Growing up in a deeply religious...

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Gay Male Youth Sexual Conduct Policed and Punished More than Other Youths

Kaitlyn Hunt is an 18-year-old registered sex offender currently under house arrest for two years before she begins three years of probation surveillance. Her crime? As soon as she turned 18, the parents of Kaitlyn’s 14-year-old girlfriend turned her in to the police for child sex abuse. The case has...

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To Lena Dunham: From A Person Placed on the Sex Offender Registry as a Child

This post comes from CSJ contributor Josh Gravens. Dear Lena Dunham, You have been taking some heat for a passage from your book outlining what most psychological and developmental experts would call childhood sexual curiosity, if not just plain curiosity. I am glad you have defended your actions as a...

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Fear the Bogeyman: Sex Offender Panic on Halloween

With Halloween coming up, I thought it was important to repost this essay that I wrote last year and published on The Huffington Post. With the glacial speed at which sex law reform is happening, we fear that this essay will be all too relevant in the years to come. It can be said that...

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Was John Grisham Right? How Child Porn Laws Fuel Mass Incarceration

Popular author John Grisham made headlines this week for speaking out against harsh sentences for child pornography, citing the recent prosecution of a friend for downloading child porn. His friend was sentenced to three years in prison for downloading pornography that claimed to depict 16-year-old females. Predictably there was an immediate backlash,...

1

How the Criminalization of the Queer Community Affects Us All

In 2005, when Danny was 17 years old, he began dating a 16-year-old boy. Like many teenage romances, this one did not end well — but not for the reasons you might expect. When the 16-year-old’s parents found out about the relationship, they blamed Danny for “turning their son gay,”...

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Why Queers Should Care About Sex Offenders

This piece that I wrote for The Huffington Post summarizes a lot of what The Center for Sexual Justice stands for.  While it received a wave of criticism from some on both the left and right, many people reached out to me thanking me for publishing something that they have...