Raising the age of consent is a veiled attempt to assert conservative moral values on youth, queer and youth-led groups told Senators today.
The Senate's legal affairs committee is studying a Harper government bill that would raise the age of consent from 14 to 16. It will almost certainly pass — no political party has opposed it — but queer and youth-led groups came out Feb 22 to insist on their sexual freedom.
As he began frequenting gay venues and indulging in promiscuous sex, Fitzgerald developed a crude HIV-detection system that he thought would keep him safe. His screening process led him to start a relationship and have unprotected sex with a boy he met at a birthday party in early June 2006.
Fitzgerald had never seen the young man before, which he interpreted as a good sign.
“I figured he was somewhat of a new person who hadn’t been around the block,” said Fitzgerald, who had a three-and-a-half week relationship with the young man. Three months later, on Sept. 17, 2006, Fitzgerald tested HIV-positive at age 17. “I never felt like I was Superman, I just felt like I could outsmart the system,” he said. “I always felt like it definitely could happen to me, but I thought I could figure out a certain method of how it was dispersed by people.
“It’s definitely something I was not expecting, especially this early in my life,” Fitzgerald added.
Oh, and it gets better. Much better (emphasis mine).
The proposed changes will have a disproportionate impact on gays, said Richard Hudler of the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario.
"My first lover was 17 years older than me. And this is common [among gay people]," he said. "It is dangerous — considering the attitude toward sexual orientation in schools — for a young person to attempt to make sexual contact with a peer."
The numbers suggesting steady condom use among gay youth don’t harmonize with 23-year-old Kelvin Barlow’s experiences in Atlanta. “A lot of my partners are not thinking about condoms,” said Barlow, who was diagnosed with HIV at age 17. “I think I’m usually the first one to bring [condom use] up [in sexual situations]. Sometimes my partners know my status and sometimes they don’t — they just want to jump in the bed.”
Barlow believes a combination of ignorance and emptiness led to his seroconversion. “At that time I was the dumbest thing walking — I thought I was invincible and could do whatever and not get ill,” said Barlow, who was 15 and dating a 35-year-old man. “I thought I was in this relationship with this man who loved me, why do we need to wear condoms?”
The irony value of it goes even higher when you consider that these youths are claiming they're responsible enough to fool around in the back seat a full four years before most of them are even considered responsible enough to drive.