I recently finished Moira Greyland's highly controversial book, The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon. This review will mainly discuss the widely accepted moral philosophy of the LGBT community—what is right or good for me may not be right or good for you. And with that comes the idea of tolerance—indulgence in a belief that differs from your own. (See the update at the bottom of this blog for Moira Greyland's response to my review.)
Greyland gives a chronological account of her life while in the care of her parents who were both pedophiles and part of the LGBT community. If you're considering reading this, don't be put off by the number of pages. Nearly half of that is the appendix.
There were a number of things that disturbed me about Greyland's mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley (bestselling science fiction author, a feminist icon, and awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement). First of all, the similarity of my name with this horribly abusive person. Secondly, the numerous similarities in hobbies and career choice. If you follow me, you know I write science fiction and fantasy. And if you know me personally, you might be aware of my love of singing and opera specifically (back in the day). Thankfully, that's where the commonalities ended. Our worldviews could not be more different!
At the same time, it was a breath of fresh air to read about Moira's own interests growing up. I know we would have been nerdy friends! We both love theater, sewing costumes, and singing. Not only that, but she grew up in California and even lived in Redlands for a time! Okay but moving on . . . .
Marion Zimmer Bradley was hailed as one of the great voices of feminism in her time. No doubt those that looked up to her are now cringing at what lay underneath that Voice.
And there lies the rub.
Greyland makes some extremely controversial statements in the last few chapters. Once all the drama is wrapped up, she delves headlong into personal analysis. And it's this part that has the LGBT community and their supporters breathing fire. And yet, most of them are just as adamant that what Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen (convicted pedophile) did to their children was unethical and evil. Why is that? Moira Greyland primarily blames her parent's homosexual lifestyle. There's a disconnect here, and I would like to speculate as to the reason why.
Greyland states in her book:
“I have heard all the customary protestations. ‘Your parents were evil because they were evil, not because they were gay,’ but I disagree. The underlying problem is a philosophical one that is based on beliefs that are not only common to gay culture but to popular culture. And this is the central belief: All Sex is Always Right No Matter What."
I am a supporter of traditional marriage, but I won't attempt to prove her point about the cultural ideology of sex being right all the time. I would like to question her final conclusion that homosexuality is the real problem here. I do believe it is a problem, but she seems to be saying the the core issue is gayness, and the natural consequence is pedophilia. I propose instead that they are different but related consequences of moral relativism (which she mentions in passing).
Here's a definition of moral relativism as it is commonly used today. In the words of my husband and philosophy professor, Tim Jacobs, "Moral relativism says morals are created. Objectivism says they're discovered. Relativism says morals describe personal preference. Objectivism says they describe reality. Relativism says morals are created by individuals (subjectivist relativism) or society (conventional or cultural relativism). The latter collapses into the former because nobody can define 'society.' Is it a country? What about political divides? Religion? Family? Who do we ever agree with? Relativism is inadequate because it does not allow for morals to prescribe behavior, express obligation that overrides emotion, allow for individual growth or social progress, etc."
I believe there are many people in the LGBT community who are sickened by the idea of pedophilia. Not only that, but they rightly see how much it hurts their cause: If pedophiles are given the right to "free love" (or for many, free sex), then those that had accepted homosexuals in the past might begin to see a slippery slope forming between the two lifestyles and reject both.
But the fact of the matter is, that slippery slope from free love between all genders into free love between all ages does exist within moral relativism. If morality is man-made, then any man has the right to create their own moral code. And within the "free love" worldview, sex with the person you "love" is morally good whether they're the opposite gender, the same gender, old, young, or even a relative. When an LGBT person says that sex with children is "wrong," they are going against their own moral relativism and stating what we would all hope to be a universal truth. Sex with children is wrong!
Here's the thing, this worldview is faulty because it is inconsistent. It must be inconsistent in order to function at all. If you read Greyland's book, she shows just how hypocritical and contradictory her parents often were. And yet, they truly attempted to follow their moral code to it's logical extremes. That's the reason they supported pedophilia. And I do mean supported, not just engaged in it with a guilty conscience (they felt no guilt). Walter Breen even wrote papers (there were others already in existence) on the topic of Greek love (pedophilia) and why it should be widely accepted by society.
Back to the matter at hand: moral relativism is the core problem, not homosexuality. The difference between those in the LGBT community that oppose pedophilia and Greyland's parents is that the former do not follow moral relativism to it's logical extremes. They set up quasi-universal moral standards such as, love is free to all genders. Stop. Don't go any farther down that slope. Sadly, there still exists a faction within their numbers who do not stop themselves from slipping down the slope. They are people like Walter Breen and Marion Zimmer Bradley. We would all like to believe that their case was extremely rare and no more common than heterosexual pedophiles. Yet, Greyland provides many sources opposing such optimism. Here is just one of them from The Public Discourse. LMs are lesbian mothers, GFs are gay fathers, and IBF is an intact biological family.
"Contrary to recent and widely circulated reports that there is no sexual victimization in lesbian households, the NFSS found that, when asked if they were ever touched sexually by a parent or other adult, the children of LMs were eleven timesmore likely to say 'yes' than the children from an IBF, and the children of GFs were three times more likely to say “yes.” The children of IBFs were the least likely of all family types to have ever been touched sexually: only 2% reported affirmatively (compared to 23% of LMs who replied 'yes'). When asked if they were ever forced to have sex against their will, the children of LMs were the worst off again—four times more likely to say 'yes' than the children of IBFs. The children of GFs were three times more likely to have been forced to have sex than the children of IBFs. In percentages, 31% of LMs said they had been forced to have sex, compared with 25% of GFs and 8% of IBFs. These results are generally consistent with research on heterosexual families. For instance, a recent federal report showed that children in heterosexual families are least likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused in an intact, biological, married family."
I wish I could provide you with all my favorite quotes from this book. It was truly wonderful and an excellent study of worldview and mental disorders. Yet, it was also graphic at times. I hesitate to recommend it to anyone who suffers from PTSD from their own abuse—whether sexual, physical, or mental (as Greyland and her siblings suffered them all)—since it may trigger flashbacks. Although there is also a lot of value in her assessments of her abuse that there may be more healing found here than harm for abuse victims.
*** Update ***
Upon reading this review, Moira Greyland commented, "A connection which might not yet have been made is this: where no doubt there might be some gay people who have a problem with sex with little children, older men seducing teens is the way into the lifestyle for all the gay men and ex-gay men I have ever known. My father twisted his experiences with a priest at the orphanage into 'love' and both Milo and George Takei joked about it. Of course, Milo spoke out about his first experience later as a rape, with tears and rage. To me, he is just like one of the boys in our house, used and degraded, and doing his best to maintain masculine pride and insist it did not hurt him."