Ireland’s Sunday Tribune‘s has caused quite a stir after posign as a 15-year old boy on Gaydar. Two intrepid reporters – Una Mullally and Mick McCaffrey – decided to go undercover after news spread that a 15-year old boy had been using the popular website to score tricks. In the provocatively entitled article, “Open Season on Irish Teens”, the daring duo describe creating the fictitious online identity and receiving over 40 replies within a day, a number they seem to think indicates an evil epidemic. Some homo-journos, meanwhile, insist they’re the evil ones.
Mullally and McCraffrey write:
Many sent crude and explicit emails and two men arranged to meet the fictional teenager for sex after an account was set up on the gay social networking website Gaydar last Thursday.
Within minutes men were contacting the fictitious scholboy, ‘Davey’, for sex.
One walks away from the article feeling as if all of Irish homos are kiddie-seeking pervos, a tone the fagalas over at Gay UK worry will perpetuate negative stereotypes. They write:
The undercover operation by The Sunday Tribune may have uncovered some unsavoury characters, but the overall implication is that Gaydar is a hot bed of kiddy fiddlers and gay men can’t be trusted near as playground.
While they trumpet the fact that ‘Davey’ received 40 messages from obviously careless and downright stupid men, they neglect to mention that a 35-yr-old might equally receive as many messages if his profile featured a picture of his enormous penis.
This style of reporting does nothing but demonise gay men and fuel homophobia. This hateful climate merely creates a society where teenagers feel unable to broach their sexuality with their parents, peers or teachersâ€¦so wind up on gay dating sites trying to make friends.
If journalists and politicians stopped oppressing teenage sex, they claim, then gay teenagers wouldn’t have to resort to online chats and clandestine meetings.
This is a topic known all too well on this side of the ocean. News organizations and lawmakers alike discussed intergenerational relationships after Mark Foley’s resignation last year. Of course you remember Foley came under fire after exchanging naughty IMs with underage congressional pages. While no concrete conclusions were reached, the debate again raised the question of whether or not we as a culture are ready to acknowledge gay teenage sexuality. As the kids at Gay UK point out:
Gay teenagers have sexual urges, just like their straight counterparts, yet somehow this is seen as unpalatable and too complex to deal with, so it’s ignored by everyone…
What are your respective takes, readers?