This keyword essay on the term pedophile compares responses in the press to allegations of actor Kevin Spacey’s and Republican politician Roy Moore’s sexual impropriety toward teenagers. When Spacey responded to actor Anthony Rapp’s allegation that Spacey had made a drunken pass at him when the younger actor was only fourteen years old by combining a Twitter apology with a coming-out statement, commentators were quick to pillory Spacey for “conflating” homosexuality and pedophilia. This essay explores what acknowledging the unacknowledgeable—an unexceptional intergenerational homosexuality—would mean for thinking sexual justice in the #MeToo moment. Intergenerational sexuality, gay and straight, is indicative of the sheer pervasiveness and normalcy of the entanglement of sex and power across Euro-North America, an entanglement that feminists invested in sexual justice must address.
Keyword 5: Pedophile
kadji amin is assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Emory University. Previously, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in “Sex” at the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum (2015–16) and a faculty fellow at the Humanities Institute at Stony Brook (2015). He is the author of Disturbing Attachments: Genet, Modern Pederasty, and Queer History (Duke University Press, 2017) and is working on a second book project that traces critical genealogies of key ways in which “transgender” is being institutionalized in the Global North.