Crossing Genres: From Harsh Reality To Utter Surrealism In A Few Days
As I said on my first story here on Medium, I talk about a very touchy subject, one that can make a lot of people very uncomfortable. I knew, from my experience on Twitter, that it would expose me to negative feedback sooner or later. However, I never imagined that something like what happened here would ever happen, which is one of the weirdest, most surrealist things that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
A few weeks before the holidays I was looking through posts tagged with “pedophilia” (one of the tags I use in all my posts) and came across a post written by a guy by the name Justin Forest titled “Why Grisham Got it Right” (cached copy, and here a link to where I tweeted it) in which he discussed some of the issues related to child pornography legislation related to the controversy over John Grisham’s words. I made a number of comments and asked a few questions, to which he graciously responded. During our exchange I told him I was a non-offending pedophile (he didn’t seem to have looked at my profile by then), and that piqued his interest. He read some of my posts, made highlights and supportive/positive comments and recommended some of them (recommending in Medium is a way to “share” what you like with the people who follow you). We ended up following each other on Medium and Twitter, but really didn’t interact much. He didn’t write that much about pedophilia, but he did write about sexuality in general so I was interested. He also told me, through a private note on Medium, that he had written a book about pedophilia and child molestation called “Lolita in the Lion’s Den”, which was (I think) self-published and has mostly positive reviews on Amazon (though very few).
Medium is indeed a “weird” platform. It is great as a free platform where anyone can write what they want, though it doesn’t have the typical structure of a blog and that can be confusing, but that is by design since it’s not intended as a traditional blogging platform. However, in addition to letting anyone write what they want, there are a number of “publications” on Medium through which writers can write their pieces. Luke Malone’s critically acclaimed, award winning piece on a pedophile called Adam was published on Medium through a publication called Matter. Through following Justin on Medium I learned that he wrote for a number of publications, including one called Crossing Genres. I had noticed some stories published on Crossing Genres about sexuality and gender identity that had been either published or recommended by Justin (in fact there were so many stories about gender identity that I first thought it was called Crossing Genders). The Crossing Genres publication has “intentional subversion is our only submission requirement” as their “motto”, and this is how they describe themselves (emphasis mine):
We are a socially progressive publication featuring poetics, creative nonfiction, free flow narrative, short fiction, op/ed pieces, social justice theory, photojournalism, & other divergent literary forms. We publish new, emerging, & seasoned writers; women, writers of color, & GLBTQ writers are especially encouraged to submit. Send your Medium draft link to: email@example.com
Looking through their submission requirements, I read the following (emphasis mine):
As our tag line says, intentional subversion is our only submission requirement. To most writers who would be a good fit with the publication, what we say above is in no way unclear. Defined broadly, that might mean well written, creative pieces that have something unique or important to say and are written from a progressive bent, often employing alternative or experimental writing styles and approaches, though this is not specifically required. A tighter definition might ask that you write something we don’t see often, something that makes us cheer, cry, belly laugh, or all of those. Attempt to peak our interest, blow our minds, turn us on, anger the fuck out of us, or shows us a way to become a better human. Do that in a unique style, or even a fucked up one that works, and you will no doubt be a great fit.
Something unique or important to say, progressive, that can anger the fuck our of people? In hindsight, I guess I was right in thinking my stories would be a perfect fit for this publication. I didn’t know, though, what was going to happen next. But at the moment I decided to sent them an email asking them to consider some of my stories for publication:
My name is Ender Wiggin (not really, I think you’ll understand why I use a false name in a bit) and I am a non-offending pedophile member of the Virtuous Pedophiles community. I have been on Medium for some time writing about what it is like to be a pedophile in this day and age, even when one is committed to never acting on his attractions and harming kids, the kind of hate we are directed, the stigma of the condition and many other things. As you can imagine this topic is very controversial (so talk about intentional subversion) and arouses very strong emotions in a lot of people. I came to learn about your publication through an article written by a recent follower of mine on Medium, Justin Forest, who has made positive comments (and recommended) a few of my pieces. Reading your submission requirements, I think what I definitely have something “unique and important” to say, it is definitely “progressive”, and it definitely “angers the fuck out of” some people. I wouldn’t say my style is particularly “alternative or experimental”, since I am an amateur writer (I have no professional experience writing). In any case I thought you could be interested in publishing some of the stories I have published on Medium, and if you consider me as a writer for CG I can continue to contribute since I still have a lot to say about the topic that brought me here in the first place. Seeing that you have a lot of stories on “non-conventional” sexualities, I think the topic I deal with could be very interesting for you.
My first submission could be my first story published on Medium titled “The Non-Offending Pedophile”.
If you’re interested, you can take a look at some of my other stories that could potentially be future submissions if you’re interested:
Why I Do This
Pride? What Pride?
The Stigmatization Of Pedophilia
At What Age Is It OK To Start Killing Pedophiles?
Let me know what you think, and thank you for your consideration.
I sent this email on December 16th, and a couple of week later, into the holidays, I had not received any response. So I contacted Justin over DM on Twitter asking him if they normally take that long to respond. Here is our exchange:
So I let some time pass and early in the year (Jan 4th) I sent another email:
Since almost a month has gone by I thought I’d send a note. Not sure if my email got lost, or simply ignored. Any feedback would be appreciated, even it it’s to tell me to get lost.
They never replied.
And then the weird things started to happen. I suddenly noticed a big spike in my articles’ readership, particularly my main “front page” article, The Non-Offending Pedophile. I was getting a lot of views and reads, a few recommends and then I started to get some of my first really negative feedback. The first one puzzled me:
“Ender Wiggin“ who are you? In every way, you write exactly like “Justin Forest” (and so do your admirers “Chandler…medium.com
Here, David Montgomery basically accuses me of being Justin Forest and a number of other “sock puppet” identities created by myself in order to give my blog some feedback and notoriety.
“Ender Wiggin” who are you? In every way, you write exactly like “Justin Forest” (and so do your admirers “Chandler Klebs,” “Daywalker,” “John Parker Meadows,” “Lyta Hall,” etc, etc). All of you use the same Hobbit-like pseudonyms, same condescending tone, same limited vocabulary and childish syntax, same groundless arguments, same obsequious responses to each other’s comments, and same utterly unbelievable “scientific” references. So let’s just cut to the chase, shall we, “Justin”?
At this point I had no idea what the fuck he was talking about, or what kind of hallucinogenic mushrooms he was on.
Shortly after that I got another negative response, by David Streever:
I am sure that your interests and appetites do hurt children, and I am sure that you commit acts which harm children…medium.com
And later another one, by Elliot Nichols:
So don’t pretend your desires aren’t damaging. Don’t justify them away.medium.com
These are the typical responses I get from haters day in and day out on Twitter and other places. It’s really easy for me to discredit their arguments (while respecting their person), so I will respond to them separately.
Then I realized something strange. On the Medium mobile app I could see another response that I couldn’t see on the desktop browser, one by a guy by the name of Tim Barrus titled I am banning you. And he did just that, he blocked me so I couldn’t read any of his posts (including his response to me). It was easy enough to open the link on a private browser window where I wasn’t logged in with my Medium account to read it.
Now, a little background on Tim Barrus. Since I had been following Justin and later the publication Crossing Genres I had stumbled across some of his posts. He apparently works with boys that have been victims of CSA and, from what I gathered later, he seems to have been a victim himself as a child (I don’t know for sure). One of the stories by him that I read really shocked me and I “recommended” it. Not sure if it was that what brought me under his attention. It was never my intention to be disrespectful to the damaged boys he works with. All I did was recommend one of his stories, but he claims that just by existing or by writing here about what I write I have harmed his boys. But I don’t buy it. Sorry, but I refuse to feel guilty for the crimes I have not committed. And if the kids have been harmed by reading my stories, as is apparently the case, then the problem is with the person that showed them my stories, not me. If they have stumbled across my stories by themselves, then I guess that’s just the risk of living and being on the internet. I have every right to be here and write about what I need to write as everyone else, no matter what anyone says. In any case I am sorry if reading my writing has caused anyone distress. I know the topic I write about is touchy and controversial, but I will not stop doing what I’m doing because it’s important that someone does it. I know those that are speaking against me here won’t believe me, but I am deeply concerned about children’s well-being. If I wasn’t I would have molested a child by now. If I don’t, it’s precisely because I know and acknowledge that children cannot consent to sex with an adult and doing it would be damaging to them (as evidenced by Tim Barrus’s boys), and I don’t want to harm anyone because — believe it or not — I’m actually a good person. But anyway, moving along…
Tim’s response to my article had a number of responses itself, most notoriously this one by Heather Nann, one of the senior editors for Crossing Genres:
I just read the original psychobabble bullshit piece in which he blames the media— “The media has been irresponsibly…medium.com
Instead of responding to my original article, Heather hides behind Tim’s in order to attack me (or Justin, as apparently everyone thinks we’re the same person now) on a personal level. When someone doesn’t have arguments to refute yours, it is known that they resort to ad hominem attacks, and that is all that this “piece” by Heather is. She doesn’t give a single argument as to why what I say is so offensive or misguided or utter bullshit, she just goes on to call me a “piece of shit”, a “child fucker” and to say that “the only reason” I don’t show my real identity is because I would “lose access” the the children she’s so sure I’m molesting on a daily basis.
Because, obviously, that is the only reasons a pedophile could possibly have for not coming out publicly as such, right? I’m sure the fact that she (and most of the population) already assumes I am what I’m not (a “child fucker”) and would call the authorities on me even if she had no evidence of me breaking a single law, which would undoubtedly ruin my life and my family’s has nothing to do with it.
I’m sure the fact that between 14% and 28% of the population believes pedophiles should be killed regardless of whether they have ever offended, even while they’re still children or teenagers themselves, has nothing to do with it either. I’m sure the death threats that I receive towards me and my family on a daily basis on Twitter also have nothing to do with it either. No, it’s obvious that it’s in the nature of the pedophile to be deceitful and manipulative, right? And if anyone says anything in support of pedophiles who don’t break the law and are committed to going through their lives without ever harming children, like Justin Forest, they are obviously pedophiles themselves, or at least “pedophile enablers”.
Heather’s response is worthy of the worst internet trolls I have encountered on Twitter. But look, I get it, Heather is a victim of abuse, and I’m deeply sorry for that. No child should have to go through what she had to go through. There is something she is right about: it doesn’t matter whether those who abused her were actually pedophiles or situational offenders. What they did was wrong and caused her a tremendous amount of pain not because they were pedophiles (unchosen), but because they chose to do something terrible to a child (chosen). I don’t care whether you want to acknowledge pedophilia as a sexual orientation or want to consider it a mental disorder, I think it’s clear that people don’t choose either. Unless you believe people choose to develop cancer, that is. Or does Heather (and everyone else) honestly believe that I woke up one day and made a conscious decision to belong to the most despised and reviled collective in our modern society? I can understand how people think pedophiles are evil — given the common (and yes, irresponsible) conflation of pedophilia and child molestation in the media — but do they really think we’re that stupid? The notion that an unchosen biological trait (whether it’s an orientation or a disorder is pretty much irrelevant at this point) somehow determines a person’s character or moral compass is simply ridiculous, and it’s the same kind of thinking the Nazis in Germany had about Jews. They thought the Jews were deceitful and manipulative by nature, and that was the best way to discredit anything they would say to defend themselves. And yet that thinking pervades every discourse and conversation about the topic of pedophilia in our day and age, and no one realizes how flawed it is. No one realizes that is exactly why I am here, doing what I do, and why an organization like Virtuous Pedophiles exists.
But I digress. Like I said, Heather is right in saying that it doesn’t matter whether the people who abused her were pedophiles or not. What does matter, is that she apparently doesn’t think it’s irresponsible or unfair to blame innocent people of one collective for the crimes of a few, many of whom don’t even belong to that collective. And since I’m sure people will appreciate some sources, here are a few.
- A study by Michael C. Seto and Martin L. Lalumière titled “A Brief Screening Scale to Identify Pedophilic Interests Among Child Molesters” found that only between 27% and 40% of child molesters were pedophiles. The wide variation depends on where they set the cutting point for a diagnosis of pedophilia. With a more permissive cut-off point, they concluded that 40% of child molesters are pedophiles (which means that even in this case more than half of all child molesters aren’t pedophiles). However at this cut-off point, 17% of their control group (random population of non-child sexual offenders) were categorized as pedophiles, which they found to be too high (Michael C. Seto estimates the prevalence of pedophilia in the general population to be around 1–2%). So they adjusted their diagnostic cut-off point until only 10% of controls fell under the category (which is still a really high number), in which case they concluded that 27% of child molesters were pedophiles (meaning that 73% or almost three quarters of all child molesters are not pedophiles).
- Another study found that only 16,2% of child molesters would qualify for a diagnosis of pedophilia, meaning that 83,8% do not:
Experimental sample consists of 146 forensic cases (all men), they committed child molestation in years 2005–2012. According to the criteria (DSM-IV-TR) for pedophilia, penile plethysmography (PPG), actual clinical and case history data were used for the diagnosis determination. Obtained clinical and sociodemographic data were statistically evaluated.
Only a small part (16,2 %) of sexual offenders against children meet the criteria (DSM-IV-TR) for pedophilia. There is significant difference in occurrence of other psychopathological features between groups of ‘pedophiles’ and non-pedophilic ‘child molesters’, i.a. alcohol abuse/dependence, sexual dysfunction, personality disorder, increased aggressiveness, mental deficit, etc.
- Finally, the Dutch Government issued a report on child sexual abuse (in Dutch) in which it concluded that only 20% of child molesters are pedophiles (meaning that 80% are not).
But I digress again. Apparently Heather also believes that a pedophile that goes through his life with an unchosen condition (and unchosen means one cannot be blamed for it, by definition) and without ever harming a child is just as evil as the people who abused her when she was a child. Look Heather, I get the anger at the people who molested you, and I get your anger at child molesters, but your anger at people who have done no wrong, just for having feelings that you find disgusting, feelings they never asked for and can’t get rid of, and in spite of making a conscious decision to do no harm, is misplaced and it’s not helpful, to you or to society in general.
Shortly after this piece, another editor of Crossing Genres by the name alto wrote the following piece:
I had noticed that Justin Forest had disappeared from both Twitter and Medium suddenly, and I was as puzzled as alto and the rest of the Crossing Genres team. But until I read this piece I didn’t know what had been going on, and I also didn’t know Justin Forest was a pen name. It kind of explained why some people started to believe weird things, but let me be very clear: I am NOT Justin Forest. I had never heard of this guy until I found his piece on John Grisham and all I ever did was exchange a few notes on our stories, a few recommends, a handful of tweets and the DM exchange I reproduced in its entirety above. If someone believes we are the same person and I somehow orchestrated all our interactions in order to make it seem like we’re not, including a DM conversation between two Twitter accounts run by the same person, I suggest they quit whatever it is they’re smoking lately. This is one of the most ridiculous conspiracy theories I have seen in my entire life.
Since I don’t know Justin, I have no idea what his motives were for doing what he was doing. I have no idea if all the qualifications he claimed to have are real or fake. I have no idea what made him quit Twitter and Medium deleting all his stories all of a sudden. And I have no idea where he is. All I know is, I’m not him.
However, I have additional gripes with alto’s piece that I will address by responding to it directly when I have some additional time. In my response I will address how this organization is endorsed by the most renowned experts on the topic of pedophilia and child sexual abuse, such as James Cantor, Michael Seto, Ray Blanchard, Fred Berlin, Elizabeth Letourneau, Sarah Goode and others, as well as by respected sexuality-focused journalists like Dan Savage and the author of the award-winning piece mentioned above Luke Malone, who actually spent a long time doing the research on the topic that Heather, Tim, David, Elliott and David have clearly not spent. In addition, the Virtuous Pedophiles organization has been positively mentioned in the vast majority of any and all articles being published in online or print publications about the topic of pedophilia and how a new approach by which we stop stigmatizing innocent people that have not chosen to be pedophiles but do choose to never act on their attractions in order to not harm children.
The last thing I would like to comment on is that, not happy with her vitriolic response to Tim’s response to my piece, one published from her personal identity on Medium, and one which like I said I can somewhat understand where she’s coming from, she decided to publish, under the Crossing Genres “brand” an expanded attack on my person which has nothing to say but continue to call me names, most notably scumbag:
I am not a quack or liar though. I have what I say I have.medium.com
Or, to be honest, I don’t know if she’s talking about me or Justin Forest, or I guess both because it seems she’s under the influence of whatever someone poured in her drink the other day and believes I have multiple personalities, one of which is Justin. So this is what she has to say about scumbags like me and Justin (who, to this point, I have no evidence of being a pedophile, his only crime is having an open mind and speaking sympathetically about innocent people who have committed no crime and are called for “being mauled by pitbulls”).
What I find incredibly unethical is for a (supposedly serious, and ethical) publication like Crossing Genres to provide a platform for such a vitriolic personal attack on someone else just for having a different opinion and feelings he never chose, but chooses not to act on. I get that Heather is angry, but like I said I refuse to apologize for the crimes I have not committed and will never commit. Here is an example of Heather’s “class” and, by extension, that of the publication Crossing Genres:
So fuck you, Scumbag. I hope that you’re discovered and outed before you put your hands on another child. Because I have zero doubt that you have raped kids. Zero. And karma, motherfucker. It’s going to come back on you.
This is a disgrace in the name of “journalism”, and alto and his colleagues should be deeply ashamed of themselves for publishing a piece that amounts to nothing but slander and libel.
In closing, dear Crossing Genres, should I take that as a no?