British teenagers can consent to sex from age 13, did you know that? There are a whole lot of things most Americans might not know about British teenagers, 13+: eg. they can consent to sex from at 13 years of age. They can consent to or decline medical treatment regardless of parental opinion. And they can be prescribed contraceptives without the knowledge or consent of their parents. And they can legally drink alcohol at any age, but can’t buy it until they are 18.
Wait a minute: the age of consent in the UK is 16, you might say. True; some people are prosecuted for having sex with people who are 15, not just obvious rape but “grooming” and being a general creepy bastard come in to consideration. However, there is not automatic prosecution of people who have sex with those who are over 13 if both parties CONSENT.
The same in (some) other European countries. ANd in many other countries of the world.
Confidential sexual information and services including access to contraception are provided to teenagers of ALL ages through schools and our FREE national health service. There is an assumption and acceptance in the UK that many young people under the age of 16 will have consensual sex. Our schools and health service do not attempt to STOP young people from having sex but support them with information to be safe both emotionally & physically.
And I know what’s going on in British schools now because my oldest son will be 15 soon. BTW, This week parents of kids aged 14/15 received letters about the Meningitis inoculation of part of the national programme: we were reminded it was ultimately the teenager’s decision whether to have the vaccination regardless of parental wishes.
About half of people start their sex lives at age 15 or 16 and initiate sexual relationships: this isn’t shocking news in the UK.. Mostly teenagers have relationships with people close in age to themselves but a 5-8 year age gap is not uncommon and, from what I’ve seen, parents accept the older boy/girlfriend regardless of age.
I’m not talking about my personal experience. My relationships have alawys been with people close in age to me. But as I’m almost 50 now, I’ve seen a lot of young people enter relationships with older people. Some of those relationships have lasted years (decades) and were accepted, tolerated or welcomed by the parents.
Why should it be OK for straight teenagers to be sexually active but not gay teenagers of the same age?
It is VERY relevant that the Milo “pedo” interview was edited – the edited interview presented his words in a very different way. For example, missing out:
- that he thought the (16) age of consent was right
- and the gross homophobic reaction of the interviewers.
I had no problem listening to Milo in the UNedited interview. In the full interview, from a British perspective, Milo didn’t say anything outlandish or shocking (which is rare for him).
NOTE: I had NOT heard/read any edited versions until AFTER I heard the full/unedited5.30 minutes. The edited versions change things A LOT.
I felt any gay teenager was being mocked by the interviewers who didn’t want to listen to what Milo had to say about his own experience.
Sadly, still, talking about the real life experience of being a gay teenager (or often just an LGBT person of any age) is so far different from the experience of cisgender straight people they so often reinterpret and can’t begin to comprehend.
And don’t want to listen.
I heard Milo talking about relationships from the perspective of a teenage boy
- (you know he went to a Boy’s school right? Not a mixed school.
- His knowledge of teenage girls is very limited or non-existent).
He wasn’t talking about adults who are interested in teenagers. He was talking about teenagers who are in their earliest years of being sexually attracted to others. We know this happens between the age of 13-15, i.e. a couple of years before people become sexually active.
As soon as the very idea of teenage boys having sexual desires is mentioned it seems many straight people only think:
Yuk, how disgusting, how is it even possible that a teenage boy could think such things, he must need saving from adult homosexual predators.
Because that’s what the two guys said (and I’ve put it nicely, their words were worse).
Milo obviously makes it worse by his language and British shock humour (that joke is well used in the UK, I’ve heard it many times – that kind of humour is very popular here).
Actually, no matter how that conversation was handled it wasn’t going to go well. If other people are disgusted by the thought of “underage” boys (by which I mean young men under 18) thinking about other guys naked that’s the time to end the conversation.
- At that point I thought – walk away Milo.
Why can’t people accept that gay teenagers fancy men? Just as straight teenager girls have posters of young men on their bedroom walls and straight teenage boys fancy women.
You might not like the approach towards teenage sex in the UK/Europe. You might think that sex under 18 should be always be a crime that society and parents should aim to prevent. And indeed, some British parents do treat their under 18-year-old offspring as children who require permission to do anything other than go to school. Or even advocate abstaining from sex before marriage. But not many.
The fact is:
- In the UK, and much of the world, the idea of 15 and 16-year-olds having sex with people close in age or up to 10 years older is common place.
- For 13 and 14 year olds consensual sex-activity is rare, but does happen and the law accepts that people of this age can initiate and consent to sex.
- It isn’t a question of whether Milo approves, or whether I approve, or you approve: he simply stated that it happens. And he’s correct. It does. Perhaps not in USA but definitely here in Europe. Even if it’s wrong and harmful, it does happen and it’s accepted in our society.
I think Milo’s fall from grace as a serious speaker was inevitable. He offends everyone (left, right and moderate) with outrageous arguments that are unsubstantiated by fact.
He might do well as comedian.
I can’t celebrate this incident because it was purely the triumph of homophobia and ignorance.
IMHO don’t call yourself a liberal ally of LGBT people if you can’t stomach LGBT people talking frankly about what it’s like to be an LGBT person.
Especially a LGBT teenager – i.e. part of an extremely vulnerable group.
Note: attempted suicide rate among all teenagers is about 6%, among lgbt teenagers almost 50%. Anyone thinking about speaking to straight people about their experience as a gay teenager would listen to that (unedited) recording and think again.
The interview is embedded here if you want to listen to it.
It’s 5 and a half minutes. Please note: I actually have very little sympathy or common ground with Milo. I dislike his views and the way he presents them. I’m not Milo supporter and I’m not an advocate for underage sex either.
On another topic: There will be more British construction worker gay fiction from me in about 6 weeks or so.