Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Those Ugly Nasty Stereotypes...Where Do They Come From?

From the June 25, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco police have arrested veteran gay rights advocate Larry Brinkin in connection with felony possession of child pornography.
Brinkin, 66, who worked for the San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission before his retirement in 2010, was taken into custody Friday night. He spent the night in jail before he was released on bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department.
The details of the photographs involving adult men and children aged 1-3 years old are too grotesque for me to quote.

During his 22-year tenure at the Human Rights Commission, Brinkin was best known for championing equal rights for gays and lesbians. He helped craft San Francisco's groundbreaking Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality.
Upon Brinkin's retirement, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring the week of Feb. 1, 2010, "Larry Brinkin Week" in San Francisco, saying his "dedication to advance the civil rights of all people has never stopped."
Where do these nasty stereotypes about gay people come from?

UPDATE: The June 25, 2012 SF Weekly (an "alternative" newspaper who don't find the Chronicle far enough left) reports that he "led the fight for the city to recognize same-sex partnerships."  Some commenters are finding the fiercely racist remarks in the email associated with the porn so unbelievable that they are assuming that Brinkin's email was hacked.  That could be.  It is surprisingly easy to do, and it might even be someone taking advantage of an unsecured wireless connnection.  But Brinkin apparently hasn't made that defense.


  1. It isn't fair because individuals are treated as members of a group, but like many stereotypes, there's a grain of truth contained therein. Homosexuals are disproportionately involved in child molestation (typically 20-30% of molesters are homosexual or bisexual, who make up about 2-3% of the population).

  2. Whoops! I accidentally deleted a comment by someone saying that none of the gay people he knows are child molesters. Doubtless true.

  3. I happened to have a copy of this posting in a tab with his comment:

    tkc said...

    That is the problem with stereotypes. Out of all the gay people I've met, not a one of them was a child molester.

    If this guy is guilty then throw the book at him. It is not fair to judge others by his actions.

  4. hga: thanks for resubmitting it. I agree that judging people by their membership in an identity is the action of a lazy person. But stereotypes often reflect actual frequent (if not common) characteristics of a group.

  5. As far as I've been able to find, those numbers reflect only the genders of the molester and the victim. While there might be some interesting conceptual results from that metric, it's not terribly clear it says anything useful about observing men as a whole in the name of preventing child abuse. When you look at conventional measures of orientation, whether self-identification or previous voluntary activity, you see a smaller disparity (such as the ~87% non-adult-male interested sample from Groth and Birnbaum's work in the 70s), sometimes even smaller than predicted (such as the <1% gay, bisexual, or lesbian of the Jenny study from 1994).

    Even if we're to call someone who never shows sexual interest in an adult of the same gender a homosexual or bisexual -- which is at least a little misleading -- it doesn't say much about people who are interested and show interest in adults of the same gender, nor suggest any effective results from conflating the matter with people who show interest in adults of the same gender. Indeed, conflating the two becomes actively misleading.

    I'll admit the scientific studies on the matter are far from conclusive, but that's unfortunately common.

  6. It may well be that child molesters separate their child preferences from their adult preferences. It may even be related to the sense of shame associated with homosexuality. (Yet if shame was an issue, why not shame associated with something far worse?)

    Nonetheless, there are many examples of those who are homosexual in their adult orientation and in their child orientation. I've posted a number of examples over the years. What is irritating is a recurring theme in newspapers accounts that argue not only are those who identify as homosexuals no more likely to be child molesters than the general population (which in most studies is clearly false), but even the implication, sometimes explicit claim that those who identify themselves as homosexuals will not be interested in underage partners. And that's clearly not true.

  7. I found this in the second article: ""The AOL e-mail account was also linked to Yahoo! Groups centering around discussions of child porn, according to the search warrant."

    I guess I'm naive. Are there really such Yahoo groups? How is that possible?

  8. The shame argument would give reason to suspect percentages had changed over the last thirty years, since homosexual conduct between adults is a hell of a lot less taboo now than it was fifty years ago. Will have to see if I can find any reputable studies on that.

    I can understand your irritation in situations where the press release starts denying rape victim's claims because of the left's weird insistence that its protected wards can do no wrong. That vast majority of the time, there's an stated or unstated "vast majority of" in there, though, because there was and remains a stereotype that all gay men were child molesters. Without distinguishing yourself in contrast to that unstated stereotype, the statement "sometimes explicit claim that those who identify themselves as homosexuals will not be interested in underage partners. And that's clearly not true." comes across as being a blanket statement about most or all homosexuals.

    Where individual cases of child sexual abuse by adult males and even adult males who were sexually attracted to adult males exist and easily prove the statement that homosexuals in the entire population never are interested in underage partners, it's just as easy to disprove all or most homosexuals are interested in significantly underage partners -- I go both ways myself, with a moderate same-sex preference, while my brother and his boyfriend are entirely gay, and find the concept disgusting.

    ((I'm still not seeing great evidence for the statement "those who identify as homosexuals no more likely to be child molesters than the general population (which in most studies is clearly false)", though. I can believe it's possible, given social structures and the tendency for female-adult-on-male-pubescent crimes to be ignored, but the aforementioned Groth and Birnbaum study only found adult-bisexual-interest among non-het-adult-interest child molesters, where the Jenny study found few enough for 1% to nearly be a rounding error -- and that's rating activity, which tended to overshoot self-identification in that time period. Small sample size and possibly problematic methodology, but not worth dismissing out-of-hand without better evidence.))

  9. Josh: my point is that we seem to have swung from a stereotype of homosexuals as child molesters (although I'm not sure the stereotype was ever 100% or even close) to a media emphasis that homosexuals are almost never child molesters. That's my objection.

    Books on the subject of child sexual abuse published before Political Correctness took over on this subject were pretty clear that molesters who preferred (sometimes exclusively) boys were closeted homosexuals.

    One study published by Gene G. Abel in 1987 attempted to argue that homosexuals aren't particularly common child molesters: "Only 21 percent of the child molesters we studied who assault little boys were exclusively homosexual. Nearly 80 percent of the men who molested little boys were heterosexual or bisexual, and most of these men were married and had children of their own." This involved the 63% of victims that were boys, so even by Abel's counting, 13% were exclusively homosexual.

    Masters, Johnson, and Kolodny's textbook asserts that 26% of victims involve molesters who exclusively molest little boys.

    Janet Shibley Hyde's very pro-homosexual book on human sexually had to go back to 1971 to find, "Actually, most child molesting is done by
    heterosexual men to little girls; 80 percent of child molesting
    is in that category, and only 20 percent is homosexual (McCaghy,

    Maybe more recent work doesn't show these numbers, but it does appear that while the vast majority of homosexuals are not molesters, it still seems disproportionate.

  10. By the way, the comment above: "Out of all the gay people I've met, not a one of them was a child molester."

    First of all, the number of molesters is relatively small in any population, partly because molesters often have LOTS of victims.

    Secondly, how many people would admit to be a molester (whether straight or gay)?