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After numerous images have circulated on social media in the last few months proposing adding a "P" to the LGBTQ acronym as a means to include "pedosexuals," referring to pedophiles, queer activists are speaking out to confirm that pedophilia has no place in the LGBTQ+ movement -- and never has had.
Early images, which according to Reuters may have been created as an April Fool's joke by anti-LGBTQ+ individuals, are believed to have been repurposed this month as an attempt to conjure hatred toward the queer community.
One of the images reshared by Facebook users displayed the text "Love is gender and age-blind."
Another post read, "Some people are child lovers. Get over it," layered over Pride flags using the hashtag #LGBTP.
These insinuations are incredibly dangerous, downright false, and have no basis within the LGBTQ+ movement overall. According to GLAAD officials, who spoke to The Advocate via email, two images claimed that the initialism "LGBTP" had been accepted by LGBTQ+ groups. This is entirely untrue.
GLAAD spoke to Reuters about these images several months ago, said Rich Ferraro, the organization's chief communications officer. After GLAAD contacted Facebook and explained that LGBTQ+ activist groups do not support the inclusion of "pedosexuals," the post was removed for violating standards.
Still, these images are continuing to circulate and be used by anti-LGBTQ+ individuals who have been misled into thinking "LGBTP" is credible and accepted by queer activists.
"No LGBTQ organization has condoned pedophilia or advocated for a 'P' to be added to the acronym in support of pedophiles," Ferraro said in a statement. "There is a long-standing, homophobic and transphobic tactic of inaccurately comparing LGBTQ people to pedophiles and being LGBTQ to pedophilia. It's debased and vile. It pains me to have to clarify that no, the LGBTQ community does not embrace pedophilia, and LGBTP is not an acronym used or supported by the LGBTQ community."
"Facebook should research and investigate the anti-LGBTQ pages and users pushing these fabricated images to smear our community," he added.
"The LGBTQ movement absolutely rejects any suggestion that our community is linked to nonconsensual interpersonal behaviors, including the horrific actions of pedophiles," Nick Morrow, interim communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, told USA Today.
It's also been confirmed that one of the "LGBTP" posts used the logo of the U.K.-based LGBT Foundation without its permission.
"We have been made aware of misinformation being spread on some online forums regarding LGBT Foundation and 'pedosexuality', including an image promoting 'pedosexuality' with our logo and website photoshopped onto the bottom," the foundation said in a statement on its website.
It continued, "We want to make it categorically clear that this is not in any way affiliated with us, and is false and misleading. LGBT Foundation is a charity that represents and provides services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and in no way condones the inclusion of paedophilia as a minority sexual orientation. This image was created in order to smear LGBT Foundation and the communities we serve, and to dissuade LGBT people from seeking support from us."
Joe Nellist, communications coordinator at the LGBT Foundation, elaborated by explaining that whoever made these images had "used our logo and our website address without our knowledge or permission in a malicious attempt to smear our organization and the communities we serve."
The posts also attempted to show an association with FCKH8, the social justice-oriented company that started selling merchandise as a form of protest against Proposition 8, an anti-marriage equality ballot measure in California. The company has yet to comment publicly.
Historically, the act of likening LGBTQ+ people to pedophiles -- specifically male ones -- is not new, despite decades' worth of research disproving the notion. These ideas have been used to vilify the LGBTQ+ community and to ignite fear and discrimination.
One study published in 1994 by the National Library of Medicine found that 82 percent of child sexual abusers were a straight partner of a close relative to the child. Researchers noted that children were highly unlikely to be molested by an LGBTQ+ person.
Facebook has come under fire in recent weeks due to its failure to regulate misinformation and hate speech.
As a form of protest, a slew of big-budget advertisers -- including Starbucks, Ford, Coca-Cola, Honda, and Verizon -- had pulled their ads from the platform throughout the month of July as part of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, which was organized by several civil rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Free Press, and Color of Change.