MAPs sometimes choose to “come out,” or disclose their sexual identity to a specific audience. They may choose to do so with friends, family members, romantic partners, mental health professionals, or a broader population. One example of a publicly-out non-offending pedophile is Todd Nickerson, who, though outed in an act of vigilantism, fully embraces his public profile (Krishnan, 2017).
For those who make the decision, the primary reason for their disclosure is a common one: Individuals with a minor attraction want friendships based on “truth and acceptance” as much as any other person (Freimond, 2009; Goode, 2010, pp. 6-8). Indeed, MAPs are more likely to come out to friends than they are to family members, therapists, or romantic partners (Cash, 2016). They feel that friendships in which they are forced to censor themselves are not real friendships at all, and that by coming out, they will know who stands with or against them even in the face of stigma. Other reasons noted by Freimond (2009) were: a) to help lessen the conflation between “child molester” and “pedophile,” and b) to connect with other MAPs.
The process and experience of coming out are complex, depending not only on the MAP’s reasons for or feelings around doing so, but on the reactions of the people to whom they come out. Despite the potential stress of negative reactions, MAPs in Freimond’s (2009) study also reported relief once they had actually come out. Additionally, the MAPs in Cash’s (2016) study actually received more positive reactions than negative. Not all MAPs, however, received the support they felt they needed. In another survey, those who were disproportionately affected by negative responses tended to withdraw into internet MAP communities, feeling as though their identities were tolerated, but not fully accepted (Goode, 2010).
Overall, as with LGBT individuals who come out, the decision for MAPs to come out appears to bring mental health benefits, provided they have support from their loved ones. On the other hand, it is unknown how the outcome of being outed unwillingly differs from the voluntary choice to do so.
Cash, B.M. (2016). Self-Identifications, Sexual Development, and Wellbeing in Minor-Attracted People: An Exploratory Study (Master’s thesis). Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Freimond, C.M. (2009). Navigating the Stigma of Pedophilia: The Experiences of Nine Minor-Attracted Men in Canada (Master’s thesis). Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, CA.
Goode, S. (2010). Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children: A study of paedophiles in contemporary society. Oxford, UK: Routledge.
Krishnan, M. (2017, January 5th). A Pedophile Opens Up About Being Targeted by Vigilantes. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xydjjd/a-pedophile-opens-up-about-being-targeted-by-vigilantes.