Supporting Marginalized Groups

Sorry to start yet another topic on the ongoing drama, but I think the current discussions criticizing Prostasia’s response to this are too narrow for the larger discussion that seems very relevant.

In my opinion, the core issue that Prostasia’s running into here, on Twitter, and on other platforms is that they compromised on one of their core principles (sex positivity) in an effort to please an angry mob. I don’t want to focus too much on the FAQ since I know it’s being revised, but I feel that there’s still a lack of understanding as to why it was a problem in the first place so I wanted to mention it. I recognize and acknowledge that the “innately evil” paragraph was not stating the views of Prostasia itself or any of its members but rather clarifying that the general public is still welcome to hold whatever beliefs it wants. The issue, therefore, is not with the wording of that quote, but rather with the fact that it was included at all. The people who believe pedophilia is innately evil are not going to support Prostasia, no matter how many concessions you give them. They don’t want your permission to hold those beliefs, and they will see you trying to give them permission as patronizing or use it as an opportunity to take your words out of context. Prostasia’s existing supporters, on the other hand, will (and do) see that paragraph as an unnecessary addition that serves no other purpose than telling people it’s ok to be bigoted. In the end, Prostasia’s haters are unconvinced and their supporters feel betrayed. As for the “pill” paragraph, I’ve addressed my thoughts on that elsewhere in the forum, but I’m happy to clarify if anyone has any questions.

One of Prostasia’s go-to responses to criticism is to point out that they’re not a MAP advocacy group. While I agree this is a reasonable response to some individuals who have little interest in your role as a CSA prevention organization, I think it has also been overused and allowed Prostasia to overlook some legitimate concerns. No matter how you try to frame it, on of the methods you use to pursue your goal of preventing CSA is helping MAPs find support. As you know, support for MAPs often focuses on self-acceptance and coping strategies (in addition to more direct harm reduction if necessary), so it is in Prostasia’s best interest to promote these elements of support. Explicitly stating that it’s fine for people to hate MAPs and that if a cure for MAPness existed it should be implemented does the exact opposite, implying that bigotry against sexual minorities is acceptable if the group is hated enough and that eliminating or changing the sexualities of a group made mostly of non-offenders is somehow an acceptable response to the existence of CSA.

Whether it’s your primary goal or at the bottom of your list of priorities, you are a group that, at some level, aims to support MAPs, even if only in pursuit of a larger goal. To attempt to accomplish that while actively refusing to accept input from MAPs as anything more than external feedback…well it’s not a surprise when people compare you to Autism Speaks. Prostasia has always left a lot to be desired when it comes to responding to criticism, especially when that criticism is focused on their support of MAPs and the MAP community, which isn’t really a surprise when researchers are viewed as an adequate replacement for members of the very group you’re claiming to support. Yes, research on stigmatized groups is important; I’ve spent several hours collecting and analyzing articles for an FAQ about MAPs on my own website, but it cannot replace input from members of the group you’re researching. Even after I had verified that all the information on my website was accurate and all my sources were cited, when I shared it with other MAPs they were still able to point out places where I had used stigmatized or unclear wording. It’s those little intricacies that research cannot catch, so it’s no surprise that those are the same intricacies Prostasia often fails to address in their own content.

I’d also like to address the topic of implicit bias. To do so, I’d like to make the analogy of a hypothetical domestic violence prevention organization. Because members of the LGBTQ community are more likely to experience intimate partner violence, this group focuses, in part, on supporting them. If you had to think of potential methods of accomplishing this, the first ones to come to mind would likely be providing better sex-ed for queer communities and sharing resources for LGBTQ individuals who have been victims of or are at risk of becoming perpetrators of domestic violence. What about things that wouldn’t be helpful? Well, supporting homophobia or conflating queerness with domestic violence would likely help perpetuate a stigma that makes it difficult for some LGBTQ individuals to seek support if they experience or are at risk of perpetrating domestic violence. My point here is this: if your logic breaks down when you apply it to a less stigmatized group then pretending it’s reasonable to apply it to a more stigmatized group is discriminatory and illogical.

All this being said, I do have a lot of respect for Prostasia and I want to see them succeed. I think they’ve done a lot of amazing work and most of the time their takes are balanced and well thought out. My issue is with how quick they are to throw the interests of groups they claim to support out the window when they’re under pressure. It’s not my place to make decisions, but I think some sort of check to ensure members of these groups are not being thrown under the bus in content that was created quickly and without much chance for review. I personally believe such a check would only be effective if it actually involved members of this group, a thought process Prostasia seems to agree with when it comes to other stigmatized groups, but again, not my place to make decisions.

Finally, I have seen several Prostasia staff members lament the perceived impossibility of what they’re trying to do. While I recognize how unbelievably difficult and thankless CSA prevention can be, I think what’s impossible is trying to walk a line between having good optics and pioneering a revolutionary approach to protecting children. To that, I can only say “pick one.”

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Well, I don’t. But I understand what you guys are saying…

Many of us do. [filler words]

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I was with ya til this point, but I have to modify this sentence:

I think what’s impossible is trying to walk a line between having good optics THAT PLEASES EVERYONE and pioneering a revolutionary approach to protecting children. To that, I can only say “pick one.”

You can always have competent optics.

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Thanks for pointing that out! That’s on me for getting lazy at the end

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I believe MAP Support Club will have some opinions to add once we discuss this as a staff.

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