Pedophile . . . pride? How the Night Breed taught me self-love

Part 1: The Novel

One of the things I am frequently accused of by critics is being proud of my sexuality.  Initially I was taken aback by these accusations. Sure, I talk openly on the web and in media interviews about what it’s like to have this orientation, but I never thought of myself as deriving any particular pleasure from simply having it. These imputations clearly stem from the concept of ‘gay pride,’ which has become a large part of the LGBT identity. I’ll be honest here: though I had no beef with it, I had never really understood the reasoning behind gay pride, or racial pride for that matter. So you happen to be born gay, or black, or white, or whatever. It’s a simple accident of fate, a genetic toss of the dice and nothing more. No, I’ve always taken pride in accomplishments, not in random conditions I had no control over.

On the flip side of that, I was not ashamed of my sexuality either, and for precisely the same reason. I didn’t choose it, so why should I feel ashamed of it? My feeling has always been that you should feel shame for bad deeds, things you’ve done wrong, not for things you had no choice about. I saw pride and shame over identity as two sides of the same coin. But in a discussion I had a few days ago with someone who is deeply troubled by his own sexual attraction to kids, I had an epiphany, what I call a Eureka Moment.

During the discussion, this young man pointed out that he was confused by the MAPs who seemed to view their sexuality through a positive light instead of as something wholly negative. My advice to him was to read Clive Barker’s novel Cabal.  That may seem like a rather oblique suggestion at first glance. What does a horror novel from the ’80s have to do with a much maligned sexuality, after all? In a word, everything.

The novel follows a group of freakish characters called the Night Breed who live in the underground city of Midian. Barker initially sets them up as frightening beings with a horrific appearance, a connect to death, and disturbing powers, all qualities ordinarily attributed to the villains in horror tales. But then he does something astounding: he completely subverts this trope, making the Night Breed the heroes of the story. You see, the Night Breed aren’t Night Breed by choice, but rather by birth or by accident, and what they want most in the world is simply to be left alone by outsiders. This isn’t for selfish reasons. They aren’t a cult doing terrible things away from the prying eyes of “decent” society. Nor do they recruit members. Quite the opposite, in fact: it is difficult to find them, and even if one manages to discover their secret underground lair, there’s no guarantee they will accept you as one of their own.

The Night Breed know from centuries of experience that most people are frightened and repulsed by them, and thus would rather destroy them than learn from them or accept them. If discovered, they would be called witches and demons and be killed, just as they had always been in the past. Indeed, by the novel’s finale the local authorities have invaded Midian, destroyed it and murdered most of the Night Breed, all at the behest of the psychiatrist Decker, who lied to the cops by claiming one of his patients, Boone, is a serial killer when in fact it is Decker himself who is the serial killer.  He tells them Boone is hiding out in Midian, which is true, but Decker has framed him, set him up to take the fall for his own murderous ways by convincing Boone that he is guilty. And because Decker was a wealthy, highly respected doctor and Boone just a working class nobody, Decker’s claims are believed both by others and (at first) by Boone himself.

Now, to understand where I’m going with this, we need to know something about the book’s author: Clive Barker is gay. Cabal is at it’s essence a story about persecution of those who are different and misunderstood. It was written and published in 1988, well before the LGBT community were accepted by a majority of mainstream society and had the rights and protections they have today. But the concept works for any group of people who are despised and mistreated because of who they are rather than anything they’ve done.

When the novel came out, the critics, who had been much more enthusiastic about Barker’s earlier work, weren’t sure what to make of it. Some dismissed it as silly or over-the-top. Others failed to see it as horror because they simply couldn’t comprehend the humanity of the Night Breed, or how tragic their destruction is. How does a critical fandom weaned on Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King process this? Cabal is in no sense a typical horror novel, more a dark allegory that hits a major nerve in the ongoing culture war. Some may even be tempted to dismiss the book’s message as quaint. I mean, it’s not like we live in medieval Europe anymore, where people we’re afraid of can be falsely accused of committing atrocities, tortured and murdered, right? Surely we’ve moved beyond the mentality that gave rise to the Jewish Holocaust, right? Right?

But there’s something else about the Night Breed that may have been off-putting to some readers. Sure, okay, they can accept that there are freaks who can’t help being freaks, but the social code suggests—nay, demands—that the freaks feel ashamed of their differences and be humble in the presence of the beautiful and non-defective. While the Night Breed tend to stay away from “normal” folks, when they are forced by circumstances to interact with them, they aren’t modest, deferential or in any sense apologetic about their peculiar nature. Perhaps they are even (gulp) . . . a bit prideful of it.

Part 2: The Epiphany

But why? Why would such malformed creatures take any pleasure in their own aberration? I think it’s for the same reason that some MAPs, even the non-offending variety, take any degree of satisfaction in something so woefully at odds with society’s mores: there is a kind of power, and a certain peace, in being so thoroughly secure in one’s identity that even in the face of near absolute condemnation, you know without a shadow of a doubt who you are. What’s more, you hold that knowledge with such conviction that you are willing to endure an unceasing storm of insults and abuse to announce it out loud, both as a beacon for others like you and to enlighten the non-MAPs out there who are sympathetic to your struggles. Can this honestly be said of most people? Why else would they be willing to murder perfectly innocent people if not compensating for insecurity in the face of their own doubts about themselves and what they have always believed? In that sense they are no different than the jihadis who are willing to murder innocents to assure themselves their beliefs are the right ones.

The same applies, I think, to the persecutors of the Night Breed, who are simply too dynamic, too cool, too accepting of their own eccentricities to be allowed to exist. For the Night Breed are not outlandish in only one dimension, which is a common problem with many non-humans in horror fiction. And regardless of what others might think of them, the Night Breed know there is an orchid-like beauty, rare and exotic, in all that flagrant, unapologetic strangeness, an embrace of diversity that might frighten even the heartiest defenders of multiculturalism. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Night Breed know who they are, and they don’t run from it.

When I read Cabal in high school, after having read all of The Books of Blood collections and The Damnation Game, it was hands down my favorite Clive Barker story. It resonated with me like no fictional world before it ever had, or could. I always knew there was a reason I’d loved monsters since around Kindergarten age, and Cabal taught me why: I identified with them. Here was a book where the “monsters” not only weren’t depicted as inherently violent, soulless and depraved but were actually being celebrated, shown to have intelligence, sensitivity, culture. Yes, they were stranger than strange, but they could also be tender lovers, wise leaders, adoring parents, brave warriors, passionate musicians, and everything in between. As a shy, bookish teenager born without a right hand, fascinated by the darker side of reality and cursed with a completely unfeasible sexuality, something I could never tell even my closest loved ones about, I looked at the Night Breed and saw my own reflection there.

So, yes, there is a portion of humanity—a small but steady one, to be sure—who fully embrace everything they are, no matter that they’re unlike 99% of the world’s population (and a sizable percentage of that 99% think the happy oddballs to be mentally ill at best, downright evil at worst). I am one of those people. I have never been particularly interested in conforming to other people’s expectations of me. For a time I tried to play it safe in that regard, to the extent I was able. But these various aspects of me—my physical disability, my emotional issues, my creativity, my growing interest in the horror and dark fantasy genres, and of course my pedophilia—were becoming entangled, playing off of and reinforcing each other to the point where they eventually became inseparable. It was inevitable, really. I was playing Whack-a-mole with myself, trying to keep all of these troublesome aspects from popping up at the wrong time, and the strain was unbearable.

It all came to a head one morning before school when I was 16, ironically over this very novel. I had long known my dad to be weirded out by horror fiction and avoided exposing my interest in it to him in any direct fashion, knowing he was likely to voice his displeasure. However, I was excited about Cabal. My sister and my dad were both sitting on the couch in the living room while I stood nearby. For some reason my sister, who had never taken an interest in what I was reading before, asked me about Cabal. Even though my dad was present, I plunged into it anyway, telling her about the scene where Boone’s girlfriend Lori first encounters the little shape-shifting girl Babette, trapped in her animal form under the shade of a bush. Like vampires, the Night Breed cannot be exposed to direct sunlight; it destroys them. So Babette could not leave the shade of the shrub and her mother Rachel cannot retrieve her. Lori, realizing what’s happening, rescues the child, shielding her from the sun, and safely delivers her to her mother. That’s it.

My sister, not a fan of speculative fiction at all, and certainly not dark fiction, thought the scene I described was quite nice. My father, however, had a very different opinion, telling me outright that I was sick for having any interest in such things. His words cut deeper that morning than I could ever have imagined. I couldn’t understand it. I mean, I’d chosen the least disturbing scene in the book, one that demonstrated the basic humanity of the Night Breed and had nothing particularly gory or gruesome in it. The scene had a happy ending, for God’s sake! Yet still he excoriated me for my enthusiasm for these weirdos, my sympathy for Barker’s devils. I broke down into tears and fled to the kitchen, sinking against the cabinets, truly shaken to my core. Could he be right? My sister did her best to comfort me, which helped but did not alleviate the shame and hurt entirely.

Following that, I did some soul-searching. An ordinary kid might have been more susceptible to his father’s opinion of his tastes, might even have taken it to heart and rejected his deep love for monstrosity. I was no ordinary kid, and never would be. At that point I stopped caring about my dad’s opinion of my interests. It was my first step toward full autonomy of thought and feeling. There was no way in hell I was going to stop loving these things. If anything, I doubled down on my passion for the dark and weird. My main takeaway from that experience was not to be so open about it in front of him, which I had plenty of practice with because of hiding my sexuality. But there was no going back. If I recognized before then that I had trouble relating to my dad’s point-of-view, I now understood that we resided on entirely different plains of existence.

Am I a pervert? Am I sick and twisted? Am I . . . a monster? At one time these labels would’ve offended me, but now I realize that, like beauty, they are really in the eye of the beholder anyway. If you want to call me a monster, so be it. I don’t consider that an insult anymore. In fact, I will wear it happily, because it doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to you. Is that pride speaking? Again, if you want to call that pride, be my guest.

You see, it is because of my fundamental differences from the fearful, pitchfork-wielding mob that I am the person I am today. Every good thing I’ve done, every child whose life I’ve made richer, every abuse survivor I’ve commiserated with, every person I’ve comforted when they were down, every interview I’ve done in support of NOMAPs, was a direct result of the accumulated experiences of my life and my passions, all of it ineradicably woven together into the curious and unique arras that is my self.

Part 3: My History

I was born and raised in rural communities, where I was constantly bombarded with prejudice of all sorts. Being born disabled, and left-handed at that, I never truly fit in with boys my own age, who pursued sports and rough play. I was an introverted kid from the beginning, and my interests as a small child were very different from that of most boys my age: monsters and sci-fi (which have now become a lot more mainstream but were niche interests for kids in the rural South in the early 1970s), rock collecting, drawing, and of course, reading. My favorite subjects were Greek mythology, stars and planets, aliens, dinosaurs, reptiles, insects—basically anything that was weird and cool to me.

Being rejected by the cool kids at school for my one-handedness, I quickly befriended the other class outcasts: the chubby boy, a born storyteller; the Native American kid, who had long hair and lived up the road from me; and our class’s only black kid, whose artistic skills I envied. Thus, from my earliest years I saw through the nonsense of bigotry against out groups. This would extend into junior high and high school, where one of my best friends was gay before that was ever cool. He wound up being the very first person I ever told about my sexuality.

On top of that, as a small child I was quite keyed into my emotional side, including the horrors of life and death. Because of this, I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong, to the point that I was against capital punishment even as a kid. Once, in my seventh grade math class at the school I attended in Michie, Tennessee, someone came in to do a survey of which kids were for and against capital punishment by show of hands (oh, that’s not biased research at all, is it?)  Every other kid but me and Ruby, the girl who sat behind me, raised their hands in favor of the death penalty. Ruby had an uncle who was executed by electric chair, which explained her opposition to it. But I have never had any relatives executed, as far as I know; I was opposed to it on strictly moral grounds.

Ergo, against all odds, I became a flamboyant liberal in the midst of a culture dominated by hardcore conformist conservatives, and I’ve remained so ever since.  Spending my teen years mainly in Michigan helped some too, as I finally met people who shared my politics, which solidified my confidence in my viewpoint.  But the three things that really pushed me towards it was my birth defect, my sensitivity to unfairness, and the development of my sexuality, all of which were of a piece.

I was molested at age seven, but I never felt particularly traumatized by this, and as I was exposed to the violent feelings of the adults around me towards pedophiles and sex offenders, I was more horrified by these gruesome reactions than I ever was by the actual abuse, which was pretty tame in the scheme of things. This was, of course, before I learned what rape was, and other forms of sexual abuse that were much more horrendous than anything I went through. Nevertheless, the die was cast early, and it slowly began to sink in that I too found children more appealing than adults on every level, including erotically. In retrospect, I realize at least part of that appeal rests in the fact that, as a shy, awkward, sensitive adolescent, I found small kids to be safe company: friendly, nonjudgmental, and most importantly, not prone to horrific violence as adults often were, or threatened to be.

The levels of irony to be parsed out from the feedback loop of self-reinforcement that made me who I am have certainly not escaped me. There may be some innate component to pedophilia—I suspect there is—but if ever there was a childhood tailor-made to turn someone into a pedophile, it was mine: a smart, introverted, left-handed kid with a disability and other health issues that kept him away from peers while simultaneously planting in him an almost gut-level dread and mistrust of most of the adults around him, poorly educated blue-collar types who were prone to outbursts of anger and violence (if not personally then through their adoption of an unseen surrogate, a vengeful and angry God who would set you on fire forever if you disobeyed the rules), instilled in him a sense of his own oddness at every turn whilst also glorifying the healthy, beautiful child he never could be, forcing him to find solace and understanding in his own fantasy world whilst also constantly reminding him that fantasies were the province of children, to be well shed of and outgrown by the time one arrived into adolescence (and yet another thing to be ashamed of if he did not), and then throwing into this mix one of the few adults he could immediately identity with, benign, nerdy and unusual like himself, and having that adult introduce him to sex not in some horrific and painful way but in a gentle and intimate manner, and then having those adults near him tell him that this was wrong and dirty and a thing never to be spoken of again, something worthy of the most hideous forms of torture and murder they could imagine.

How, pray tell, did such a boy ever have even half a chance of developing anything like a normal sexuality in the midst of the esoteric circus that was his childhood? In the end, it doesn’t matter. I am who I am through no fault of my own. I am, like everyone else, a product of my genes and my early environment, as well as whatever it was, whether God or Nature, that saw fit to throw me into this world sans one limb.

Part 4: Conclusion

In the end, all of this has forged and strengthened me, made me into someone who, like Tom Petty, wouldn’t back down from his convictions even at the Gates of Hell. Someone with a love for truth, history and culture the likes of which Donald Trump and his half-baked minions could never comprehend. Seriously, ask any Trump supporter to name three famous American paintings from the nineteenth or twentieth century and watch them fall all over themselves in an attempt to avoid or negate your question. Ask them for three American artists period. Or ask them to name just the first six presidents in order. Or any number of facts about America that happened before their lifetime. You’ll discover immediately how patriotic they really are and how much they care about the culture they claim is worth defending against the encroachment of post-modernism. Hell, ask them to define post-modernism. Better yet, hit them where it really hurts: ask them to give you five quotes from their purported hero, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The supposed patriotism and Christianity of 95% of these fools collapses like the house of cards it is under any degree of real scrutiny.

Meanwhile, I can do all of that. Not because I like to show off, but because I care about these things. I care about these things because I care about the way we have progressed, or regressed in some instances, as a society since then; how American democracy has been perverted over time; what the founding fathers actually intended with the Bill of Rights, and so on. The history of art and literature are subjects that interest me, as is the history of censorship of the arts. Why? Because I want to fully understand my rights as an American citizen and a creative person, and the limitations of those rights. I want to make informed decisions based on facts, not on the opinions of blustering, under-educated loudmouths on YouTube, in direct contrast to what I see from the people who vote and opine, out of fear and hate, against their own self-interests.

Moreover, I have worked many times harder than I ever would have to fight stigma and abuse of MAPs and of kids, and to all persecuted minorities besides. I care very deeply about justice, fairness, tolerance, diversity, freedom and human rights for all. I have cried myself to sleep and lay awake all night worrying over children I will never meet, children in foreign lands and right here in America. Little girls being forced to marry men twice their age, and threatened with torture and murder if they refuse. Little boys conscripted into child armies, made to witness and participate in atrocities that have broken grown men. Children being beaten, starved. Kids separated from loving parents and kept in cages because they weren’t born here.

Despite sometimes crippling social anxiety, I’ve been interviewed by radio and TV stations, newspapers, magazines, blogs and podcasts all over the world. I’ve participated in a documentary about my sexuality, even though I would not call myself photogenic by any means. I’ve spoken to dozens of scholars and researchers, given up hours of my time to patiently answer their questions, and I did it happily and honestly. I suffered severe long-term clinical depression for many years, a depression that nearly drove me to suicide, and yet here I sit, typing this post to share with all of humanity. I do these things because they need to be done, and because I happened to bear the peculiar mix of circumstances and traits that have led me to this virtual mount, where I make myself a target daily to get my message out.

I have written a dark fantasy novel, not to mention various short stories that combine my passions. I wouldn’t dare say I’m the best writer around, or even the best amateur, but I am quite certain I have some degree of talent in this endeavor that most people do not. That comes from years of reading fiction, and writing it for myself. I have now achieved a level of proficiency that allows me to comfortably offer my work for the perusal and critique of all and sundry. I hope it is enjoyed and makes an impact, but I’m fine just knowing I have contributed something to the culture, given back for all the pleasure I’ve received from other authors. I also draw and create other sorts of visual art, as illustration and as graphic design. I have all but mastered Photoshop entirely. Again, I’m not saying these things to boast. I readily admit there are far better creative minds than I, and plenty of them. I point this out merely as further evidence of the degree to which my passions and desires, including pedophilia, have driven me to become a better person.

So is that pride? I don’t know, but if it is, I’d say I’ve earned it.

 

Reports of my downfall have been greatly exaggerated

So, in case you haven’t heard, my Twitter account was suspended about a week ago. Twitter claimed I violated their TOS, though when I asked for specifics I heard nothing back. I think ever since they got called out by a British tabloid for supporting “peeeeedos”, they have been culling our accounts slowly, looking for any little reason to suspend us. Meanwhile, the people acting as Twitter’s hall monitors—because, honestly, they have no life and need to feel like they’re accomplishing something to feel remotely good about themselves—are calling themselves the “unBEARables”, but what they are really is just the same old white supremacist jackasses that harassed us before, only because they were themselves getting suspended, they regrouped and came back pretending to be better people than they really are. They’re no longer billing themselves as hateful bigots anymore because, as it turns out, most people can see through that right away and know that if you’re rocking the swastikas and KKK emblems, you’re probably kind of a douche. Go figure. So now they’re just standard-grade ignorant ultra-cons with an ursine fetish, I guess. Whatevs. 😉

Anyway, these buffoons are having a field day thinking they have taken me down in some important way, as if removing my account from one social media platform somehow equates to silencing me forevaaaaahhh. Hey, I look at it like this: if they feel even an eency weency bit better about their pathetic little lives at the thought that they have felled some kind of Pedo Goliath, than more power to ’em. Logic would suggest they would be much more successful at shutting me up if they just ignored me, as I tend to come back swinging even harder, but hey, who cares about logic when you’ve got righteous indignation on your side, huh? For everyone else, I’m still on Facebook and Skype, I still have the same email account I’ve had forever and a day (starkroth@yahoo.com), I’m still on VirPed and I obviously still have this blog. I am not hard to find if anyone wants or needs to contact me. Sorry, haters, but I don’t go down that easily.

And you know what? I wasn’t even upset to lose my Twitter account. I view it as a blessing in disguise. Twitter is such a time-suck anyway, and I have gotten so much writing done over the last few days. Sure, I’ll set up a new account eventually, but honestly, I’m in no hurry to do that. I’m rather enjoying hearing through the grapevine about the absolute circus that has been left in the wake of the Twitter Pedo Pogroms, everything from claims that I am moping around the house in a blue funk because Twitter was just that important to me (it wasn’t) to rumors that my foreign girlfriend who still lives in her native country is a secret US federal agent and I’ve been busted for unspecified offenses. I promise you, my baby girl would cut you if you had the unmitigated gall to say to her face that she was working for the Americans. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but just barely. She’s Slavic, and Slavs don’t screw around.

So, all I want to say to you haters is, go on with your bad selves. You do you, guys. As for me, I am having a blast watching from a distance while the monkey house goes completely bananas, no pun intended. Have a good one, folks. Peace, out.

 

 

 

My present situation

Something insidious is going on in my family right now. Two of my relatives, whom I will not name here because I don’t want to give them undue public attention, are engaged in a campaign of spreading lies and rumors about me. They are also participating in a terror campaign to try to stir up local resentment against me, and they are doing this by contacting everyone they know, including all of my dad’s friends and co-workers, and informing them about me and my documentary and my activism. Knowing their political and social views, I also suspect they have ties to white supremacy groups. They’re purpose is thus: they are attempting to have me murdered without it coming back to them.

I want it to be very clear—these two relatives have never liked me, even well before I came out as a MAP, due to our strong political differences. In fact, I suspect none of their current activities are ultimately about my sexuality. Not really. This is all politically motivated, and is likely being brought on by the failure of Roy Moore to get elected—someone they both supported (thus proving my point about the hypocrisy of the far right)—and whom I obviously strongly condemned.

But I have connections too, and I have already arranged that if anything does happen to me, those two will be the first two people investigated, and I guarantee anyone else who is involved in an attack or attempt on my life in this area will have ties to these two relatives if you trace it back. I want to repeat that this campaign is purely political. These relatives—especially the older of the two—are unrepentant racists and supporters of the far right, and they are doing their best to try to turn my own father against me. These two people are immoral and have a long history of bad behavior, engaging in acts of arson, theft and insurance fraud, among other crimes. I would not be surprised to learn they had engaged in murder for hire either. Short of that, they may attempt to frame me somehow. Just exactly how they might do that I don’t know, but it is a distinct possibility.

I wanted this message to get out there so authorities and others know what is going on here. Like I said, if anything does happen to me, I have already arranged for it to be investigated, but I also urge my fans and readers to follow the Jackson Sun newspaper for the next few months, because it will certainly be in that paper. I’ve already made sure of that. And if it does happen, I urge you to contact the FBI and send them the link to this post. I will be leaving the names of these relatives with several individuals.

Thank you and God bless you all.

I’m in love!

Today I am writing about something I never thought I would write about: I have love in my life at last, and yes, she is over the age of consent. First off, I will say right now that I will not publicly identify her, so don’t ask me to do so. There are a few reasons for this. First, she lives in a country (I won’t name it either, but I will say it’s in Eastern Europe) where the status of females isn’t great. That, combined with the fact of who I am, would likely make life pretty difficult for her there, especially as she is still quite young and is currently enrolled in university. Secondly, I wish to protect her from the harassment and guilt-by-association nonsense she would almost certainly face if publicly linked with me, even if our relationship is still presently confined to online communication. Thirdly, it’s what she wants. She has no desire to be in the public eye right now in any capacity, and I completely respect that.

Now that that’s been established, for the purposes of this post and any future post in which she is mentioned, I will call her Zora. A few weeks ago, Zora approached me in Facebook and, though a bit shy and nervous, informed me that she had seen the Barcroft Media documentary about me and that she had developed feelings for me. I admit I found this difficult to believe at first and thought perhaps she was a troll or someone out to sabotage me. But as I got to know her, her story really captured me and I found myself dropping my guard more and more. And then I began to explore her Facebook page and found pictures of her. As soon as I saw her, my heart was captured by her beauty. I can’t explain how or why it happened, but for whatever reason I fell in love with this girl who was half way around the world and could barely speak English. We communicated through Facebook’s message feature, and this is still our primary means of talking to each other, though we have also Skyped. There is no question that she is real and that she truly loves me, as I do her.

What can I say about Zora? She is the most amazing, most beautiful, most awe-inspiring person I’ve ever met. She’s tough and vulnerable all at once. She is into virtually all of the same things I’m into—genre fiction, art, vintage technology, antiques, elephants. She is a pretty good artist in her own right, and I look forward to seeing how her skills continue to develop. She loves the same authors I do, and the same rock bands. She inspires me every day and gives me a reason to wake up in the morning. For the first time in years I am hopeful about my future. Of course, the fact that she lives far away and doesn’t yet speak fluent English are certainly obstacles for us right now; nevertheless, these things are not insurmountable. I do want her to come to America, and she wants this too, but I also want her to finish her schooling. This will give her the opportunity to not only get an education so that she can be self-reliant when she makes it to our shores, but also it will give her time to make absolutely sure she really wants to be here before she takes that giant leap.

Yes, there is a large age difference, and yes, neither of us have had a real relationship before this. These may seem like things that might divide us, but in reality they are the very things that have drawn us together and that continue to strengthen our relationship. As I sit here and contemplate my reality, I am in awe of the miracle that has occurred in my life. Until this point I never believed that true love was in the cards for me. Now I know that isn’t true. And even if Zora and I never even meet in real life or cement our relationship physically, I will be forever thankful to this incredible girl, as well as to John Balson and Rauridh Connellan who made that documentary, because if not for them, Zora never would’ve learned about me and never would’ve come to my virtual doorstep, and I never would’ve had the chance to fall in love.

I don’t know why life is the way it is. I don’t know why I was born without a right hand, why I was sexually abused or why I developed a sexual attraction to prepubescent girls. I don’t know why I have spent so much of my life suffering and alone. But I do know finally why I came into this world. There are two reasons: one is to be a public advocate for people who are stuck with a sexual attraction to children but want to do no harm. The other is to love this girl, and be loved by her in turn. The strange thing is, these two things are not mutually exclusive, for if a guy like me—a 44-year-old one-armed MAP who has long felt unlovable and that many people have mocked for everything from his name to his appearance—can find love in this world, then anyone can. Never give up hope, my friends. Your soul mate is out there somewhere, and he or she is looking for someone special just like you. I know it. 🙂

A couple of announcements

Okay, so first things first: there’s a new VICE article that is mainly about me that just came out, called A Pedophile Opens Up About Being Targeted By Vigilantes, written by Manisha Krishnan. It’s actually part four in a series about vigilantes who target pedophiles and sex offenders.

Alright, now for the bigger news. I am about to launch a new video series on YouTube called To MAP Humanity, which will tackle pedophilia from a variety of angles and in various contexts. The show will deal with this very serious topic in a more lighthearted way than the media usually does, with an emphasis on the pedophile’s humanity. The first episode is set to launch on January 7th or 8th. Whatever the case, I will provide a link whenever it becomes available.

I worked on a documentary this week

I decided a few weeks ago to finally participate in a documentary that featured me speaking about my life and my sexuality. I had been offered docs before but had turned them down for one reason or another. This time I was approached by John Balson of Barcroft Media, and initially I wavered on participating but ultimately decided to go ahead and do it. What I liked about this one is that it would only require two days of filming. And I’ve been working my way up to more and more exposure, so I suppose I was just ready.

John and his cameraman, Rauridh (pronounced like Rory) Connellan, flew down last Wednesday night, and I met up with them at 1 PM on Thursday in my local McDonald’s parking lot. I liked them immediately. They were younger than I imagined they would be—in their mid-twenties—and both were originally from London and had pronounced English accents, though they’ve lived in New York City for the last couple of years. They were generous, pleasant and very down-to-earth. I was still a bit nervous that first day and I’m sure it showed, but they just had a way about them that put me at ease. I took them to a local restaurant called the Saw Meal, where we ate lunch and discussed what we were going to be doing over the next few days.

Then I led them to the local boat ramp to do some initial filming. It was about 2:30 PM at this point and the temperature had climbed to the high 90s on the Fahrenheit scale, with a heat index of 105 degrees. I began to sweat buckets immediately and had a soaked t-shirt in minutes. For some reason I had opted to wear long pants, socks and tennis shoes instead of my customary shorts and sandals for such weather. I suppose I thought it would be more stylish on camera. Needless to say, it was a choice I soon regretted, and I am relatively certain almost none of that footage will be usable in the end. Oh, well.

I then decided to go ahead and take them back to my house, even though I had initially told them I didn’t want to do any shooting at or near there. I live in an old, well-worn mobile home inherited from my grandmother, and it’s currently in the midst of being repaired and redecorated. Moreover, I’m a pretty typical bachelor as well as a creative type: not a disgusting slob (I don’t leave old food lying around or anything, and I regularly wash my dishes and clean my bathrooms), but not exactly neat and tidy either. There are books, note-stuffed folders and artist’s implements lying everywhere. Meaning that my place isn’t exactly photogenic, though Rauridh assured me the backgrounds would be blurred out anyway. I’m holding him to that. You hear my, Rauridh? You better not make me look like a slob! 😉

I changed my clothes and we shot some interior stuff. I was still sweating somewhat, even though my house was much cooler than the outdoors. It just seemed like everything was at such a hectic pace, something I’m not used to. Again, they both assured me I was doing fine. I’m still not sure if they were being sincere or just encouraging me to continue, but for the most part it worked. Eventually they departed for their hotel room to get some supper, but they returned about an hour-and-a-half later and we resumed shooting till about 8 PM, including another go at the river. This time it wasn’t as hot, but some river-dwelling dolt was running a loud, obnoxious machine right across the river the entire time we were there, disturbing the sensitive sound equipment Rauridh was using. I don’t think much of that is going to be usable unless they overlay some of the sound portion from an earlier interview session over it and just keep the video portion. After that we called it an evening.

The next day they showed up at my place about 11 AM. I was much calmer on Friday, and it was also not nearly as hot and humid, so I wasn’t as prone to sweating my behind off. We did the bulk of the heavy interviewing in my house that day, and it was quite successful, I think. They also wanted to talk to me out on the front porch, but as it was quite cluttered, we had to do some rearranging first. As the guys were in the process of moving around some pieces of plywood, I spotted a huge spider sitting on the wood and called them over.

“You guys know what that is?” I asked.

Neither did.

“It’s a brown recluse. You don’t want to mess with those.” I grabbed a broom and prepared to nail it, but John stopped me.

“No, don’t, it’s bad luck to kill a spider!” he stated firmly.

Raurigh was more sensible and refused to proceed until it was dead. I reassured John that I wouldn’t kill it but merely shoo it away as he went inside to visit the bathroom, and when he was out of sight, I promptly bashed the critter with the broom, much to Rauridh’s amusement. Sorry, John. I have no problem with non-venomous spiders at all, and if it had been nearly any other species I would happily have let it be, but I take no chances with brown recluses or black widows, the two major venomous varieties of spider in my region. With the spider defeated, we did some more of the interview here, until I again started to sweat. Though it took longer to get to that point, so I think most of that will come out all right in the end.

Finally, we jumped in the silver Dodge Charger the guys had rented and sped toward Nashville to shoot the final segment. It was around 6 PM when we arrived in Nashville. We left the car in a parking garage and walked down to one of the nearby bar districts, which was booming that Friday night. The guys had some really fun ideas for shooting amidst the crowd, and we managed to get most of it without too much interference from drunk and/or curious revelers on the street.

With John and Rauridh’s mission complete, we said our goodbyes and they hired an Uber driver to take me home, as they were catching a plane back to NYC from Nashville. It was around 7:30 PM at this point. My driver was an older fellow, quite chatty and personable. I liked talking with him but was more than eager to get home. This had already gone way past my comfort threshold. The things you do for art . . .

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until sometime around midnight when we finally rolled into my driveway, as we ran into a major accident on I-40 just outside of Nashville that shut the interstate down for hours and slowed traffic to a crawl. Ironically, we were about six miles from the next exit, but it took us nearly two hours to get to it. Once we did, we took a detour that added another half hour to the trip. But boy, was I glad to be home! I thanked my poor driver profusely and tipped him $20, knowing it would be around 3 AM before he finally made it home. And that was the end of it.

The next day I just relaxed and took it all in. This was, to date, the most intimate media exposure and involvement I’ve had. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I want to repeat it again soon. Even so, I made $250 on it—not bad for two days’ work, eh?