The following is a response from the LGBT Intimate Partner Violence Committee of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault to statements made by Waupaca Judge Philip Kirk in sentencing Delton Gorges on May 9.
While sentencing convicted child molester Delton Gorges, Judge Philip Kirk made some distasteful jokes about gay people. He then went on to say that Gorges must be gay and a victim of society’s homophobia, which explains his crimes. In effect, Kirk vilified gay men and tried to make Gorges appear just another victim of society.
According to a study by Child Welfare Information Gateway, “A child’s risk of being molested by his or her relatives’ heterosexual partner is over 100 times greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual.” The study also found that out of 269 cases of child sex abuse, only two offenders were found to be gay or lesbian.
The American Psychological Association has said it’s a false myth that gay men are more likely to sexually molest children than heterosexual men. “There is no evidence to suggest that homosexuals molest children,” the APA has stated.
Words like Kirk’s help spread this myth, which has damaging consequences for gay men.
Anti-gay forces use this myth to deny loving gay male couples the right to adopt, become foster parents or to serve as volunteers in some organizations.
Members of marginalized groups are frequently stereotyped in a negative way to perpetuate homophobia, racism and religious intolerance. This intolerance helps fuel the cycle of violence against marginalized communities. The LGBT community has experienced rising incidents of hate crime, suicides and other forms of violence in the past 10 years – a rise that can be directly attributed to society’s attitudes and lack of understanding.
A person’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with pedophilia. Pedophilia is a violent crime committed against children by perpetrators who seek power and control over their victims.
We urge Kirk to issue an apology to the LGBT community. If he would like to learn more about sexual violence or the LGBT community, we are happy to assist him.