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Kiddie porn or bust

Kiddie porn or bust

I didn’t live in Ontario in 1994/1995, so I don’t remember the London orchestrated-for-media kiddie-porn ring dreamt up by Julian Fantino, then police chief, and his department. Gerald Hannon recently revisited the story — which came to be seen as a gay witch-hunt — in his review of a new book that addresses it.

In those years, while Fantino was arresting men for having sex with 14- and 15-year-old boys, I was living in Winnipeg. I also turned 14 in 1994. It was the year I met my first boyfriend and went to my first rave. Many of my high-school friends were sexually active; some got pregnant and had babies in those years. I was old enough to work in a coffee shop and pay my own way at home. A passionate raver by 15, I moved out of my mother’s house when I was in Grade 12 and spent my weekends partying with many men in their 20s, 30s and 40s. The rave scene was an escape for people who were a bit different — including those, like me, coming to terms with their sexuality. We were hairdressers, hustlers and everything in between.

I remember several male teenagers who spent most of their time with older gay men. For some it was about drugs or sex; for others it was an escape from abusive homes or parents who didn’t accept their newfound sexuality. We knew what we were doing and we enjoyed it. Interestingly, that’s what two of the “victims” in the London charade told CBC radio. Former hustler Scott Baldwin and his friend David Ashfield were interviewed for its Ideas program on Oct 7, 1994.

“I think the police have made a big issue out of, really, nothing. I think it’s just a pin-up on gay people in general,” Baldwin said.

Ashfield agreed: “I think that the stuff they’re writing in the papers, a lot of it, is phony... They think all the kids were victims and that they didn’t know what they were doing and stuff like that. They knew what they were doing... I could see if adults would rape a kid or something, that’s wrong. But I’m saying if they are both willing — even if it’s for money, if the kid says yes and says, sure, let’s go — the kid knows what he’s doing.”

There’s a big difference between making and distributing kiddie porn and having consensual sex, even if that sex is on video. Child abuse is a very real problem, which is why it should never have been conflated with what happened in London. Sadly, homophobia and journalistic laziness are with us today. Several of Canada’s major newspapers, for example, continue to headline a Toronto homicide story involving a lesbian couple with the sensationalistic words “lesbian axe murder.” As Hannon points out in his review, while most of the charges in London’s “kiddie porn ring” were prostitution related, the straight press referred to “child pornography for an unconscionable period of time.”

His article is also a timely reminder of the calibre of people promoted to positions of great power in our alarmist, crime-fixated federal government. Consider Fantino’s ministerial colleague, the dishonoured Vic Toews — he of the bombastic you’re either “with us or with the child pornographers.” Or just Google Julian Fantino — it’s a laugh. A man who spent most of his life as a police officer — much of it mired in scandal, including the London farce mentioned — has been tasked with managing Canada’s international development. It’s generous to say Fantino’s made a royal shambles of this portfolio. National Post columnist Michael Den Tandt says he’s the wrong man for every cabinet job. “Perhaps a portfolio could be found that requires Julian Fantino to say and do nothing at all, ever,” he wrote in a Jan 15 column.

The entire saga is a depressing indictment of our political system. The writing was on the wall, yet our government ignored history and common sense (and what is good for the country) in favour of politicking. Canada’s international reputation has once again taken a hit. For those who’ve followed this ignominious career, it will come as no surprise if Julian Fantino ends his professional life in as much disgrace as it began.

Comments

I promise my last post, unless someone replies
I'm sorry if I am hogging the board. But I missed reading the last parts of the linked CBC radio interview earlier. According to the relevent clinical opinions of the pyschologists, boys were negatively affected by their experiences. This confims the concerns I raised before. What also disturbs me is that the social workers, psychologists and police all seem to be doubted and even subtely blamed for sticking their noses in, by the activists. It was even said in the comments under an xtra article from several years back, that the older men were victimized by the under-age sex workers. Where is the responsibility of the adults who made the tapes and bought the underage sex, to be that adult in the room, to have known better? A gay witch hunt? The crimes of these guys, don't represent who the vast majority of gay males are, nor how homosexuality is expressed. It's been called, "the child porn ring that wasn't". Yet many youth were identified by a tape. It was made by two people, but they still did these illegal acts against many. It seems a trivial matter what general heading the very real exploitation was under. The fact the teens were mistreated by their parents, only makes them more vulnerable. It doesn't make further disrespect and indignity from society, like sex for food and shelter, anymore OK. Let's raise, not lower, expectations. Boy, girl, gay, straight, bi, questioning, trans; from a good home or a broken home,all deserve the same respect and rights. If some want to make this a gay rights issue, then we need to protect gay youth who are often isolated and vulnerable. Lastly, yes, they do pursue these types of cases when a 14-16 year old female is the victim(even if they didn't or did a questionable job with a specific case, it doesn't make not pursuing such cases against boys, right). This link cites some cases with girls who were rescued from pornography and prostitution... http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/canada.html
One more thing...
And who said the older men were even gay? The sex of the underage person who is abused or expoited is not an indication of whether the perpetrator is gay or straight.
Abuse of Power
Maureen Reid said it well in the link: "I think, though, exploitation is under eighteen. I think children can consent to sex with peers at [fourteen]. I think what they were watching were adults orchestrating and exploiting children into having sexual activity with each other while they were watching it. Whether it was criminal in all cases, it was clearly, in my mind, abusive....I think it was abusive because it was coerced, because it was non-consensual, because there was a power differential, there were elements of coercion and enticements, and that to me made it abusive." The author, Glenwright, is wrong. It is child porn if you tape it. This has nothing to do with gay or straight, homophobia or religion. We'd be just as upset if a group of much older men had orchestrated a tape and bought sexual services from equally socially vulnerable, 10-14 or 15 year old girls. There is a strong intellectual, social and economic power differential and there cannot be informed consent. As Reid also said, young men are expected to not be sensitive about their abuse, to suck it up and move on, to be strong. People will also try to find any small nugget of positive in a bad situation or memory. This doesn't mean exploitation and abuse have not happened. Again, this has nothing to do with gay men, gay rights or LGBT. The "lesbian axe murder" thing is a red herring as are the completely personal attacks on Julian Fantino.
They knew what they were doing...
A few years ago there was a sex scandal at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Some teen boys got hockey tickets and dinners in exchange for blow-jobs. The caretakers of the Gardens were jailed for “statutory rape.” The poor “children!!” were raped by homosexual monsters —was every Hetero media outlet’s spin. YET those teens paid their own bus fares to go back again and again, for years, to get free stuff and free blow-jobs. Females never give blow-jobs for free. The boys knew exactly how lucky they were. They knew what they were doing and what they were getting! (Allegedly) B.T.W. Getting money, or gifts, etc. in exchange for sex is called prostitution. Young guys from good Hetero Christian families —prostitutes ?? Nah...Couldn’t be...
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