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Peter Tatchell: The UK should look at lowering the age of consent to 14

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    1. He is talking about people of the SAME age. It is important that you read everything, better still listen to the radio programme on BBC Radio 4 Iplayer

  1. Peter.

    Wrong fight. Now is NOT the time to even contemplate things like this.

    Regardless of our opinions, pro or anti, this is the time to get things like gay marriage.

    Throwing this sort of thing into the media right now is oxygen to the religious bigot’s fire.

    1. Meant to like comment. Accidentally reported comment. Did both. One negates the other, hopefully.
      Anyhoo… totally agree with you Joe.

    2. I agree with you on this.

      Gay marriage is the most important issue at the moment.

      1. Not if you are a 15 year old charged with having sex with your boyfriend…

        1. @MartinNYID 21 Jan 2013, 8:23pm

          Well perhaps 15 year old shouldn’t be having sex?

          1. Jock S. Trap 22 Jan 2013, 12:16pm

            Maybe but I did consentionally have sex, I was underage, I actively looked for it… there is not much you can do about it… however I do believe some protection is needed otherwise abuse goes unreported.

            It’s a difficult subject, I do believe this debate should wait rather than give bigots more ammunition esp at a time when we want marriage equality. Talking about ‘underage’ sex is just feeding them, it’s not the time!

        2. The question is, how often in practice do under 16 year olds get prosecuted for having sex with kids the same age?…..Ideally the law should be brought into line with actual practice, but it is unfortunate that such a proposal be made by a prominent – if not notorious – gay rights campaigner right in the middle of a far more significant battle for gay equality, with opponents scraping the bottom of the barrel to defeat us, including wheeling out the old ‘gay=paedophile’ slanders. Most kids are straight – surely there’s a straight campaigner who can fight for their rights probably with more credibility than Tatchell, who sometimes seems determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory….

    3. @MartinNYID 21 Jan 2013, 8:22pm


    4. Paul Essex/London 21 Jan 2013, 11:16pm

      Peter Tatchell is a human rights activist, which includes among many other things gay rights. He works on many fights and has done for years, it’s just the fact that his work on gay rights is the only one you’re aware of because that’s the one that’s most reported on, because he happens to be gay.

      Your attitude towards his work on this particular subject is the same as those who will turn around to non-gay people who support and campaign for gay marriage and tell them that there many other more important things going on that they should spending their time on instead. Those people may not be homophobic but they just can’t see how it’s important.

      1. I think you’ll find a lot of people wouldn’t wish gay rights to be associated with a proposal to allow 14 year olds to have sex, gay or straight.

        It associates gays with paedophilia – something we’ve worked very hard to overcome. It’s as though Tatchell is trying to undo years of work.

        1. I can see the point Peter is trying to make as i have often wondered the point of a law in which two loving 15 year olds can have sex, but as soon as one turns 16 (and someone reports it) its statutory rape. Not what the law is intended to prevent. That being said i agree with all the comments that now is not the time for this discussion and in fact rather than lowering the age of consent at all, there should simply be some allowance for ‘similar’ aged young people which should still protect a 15 year old from an older predator. Its a tricky mine field for definite and i would not like to be in the legislators shoes when this comes up.

    5. The timing would seem more to been by the No 10 Policy Unit and BBC Woman’s Hour. And, although Brook (whose representative was the other speaker agreeing with a reform) aren’t homophobic, their priorities are more with straight youngsters. To say Peter shouldn’t have participated because he’s gay is rather problematic, surely? Would you also say that Channel Four shouldn’t be broadcasting ‘New Normal’ now either?

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 21 Jan 2013, 7:09pm

    Now is not the time for this Peter. Let’s get equall married through first and foremost, far more important than the age of consent.

  3. No! it should stay at 18! I agree with Joe, don’t give the religious or the bigots any more ammunition. Lets keep our focus on marriage equality,
    & even then no! It should stay at 18.

    1. It is currently sixteen, not eighteen.

      1. Clarification 21 Jan 2013, 7:18pm

        Just to clarify where the 18 thing seems to come from:

        The age to have gay sex is 16.
        BUT… it is a criminal offence to view sexy photos of someone under 18, gay or straight.

        That’s right – you can legally have a 20-man gangbang, complete with fisting, but it would be illegal to show a 17 year old a photo of your dick, or for him to show you one of his.

        1. This is only the case if there is a position of trust from the 18+. As morally wrong as it seems, there is nothing stopping a 40 year old having an online session with a 16 year old, as long as it is consensual. In terms of pornography in a public manner, it is indeed 18, but that is because people in a “position of trust” can (potentially) see such content.

        2. @MartinNYID 21 Jan 2013, 8:25pm

          And I agree with this wholeheartedly. A lot fo the kids in the ‘barely legal’ porn videos being trafficked right now from Eastern Europe, with some very “reputable” names on them are not even ‘legal’ – plenty of forged paperwork and ID’s going on there.

        3. GingerlyColors 22 Jan 2013, 7:09am

          Interestingly the law apparantly allows 16 and 17 year olds to pose for adult magazines.

      2. GingerlyColors 22 Jan 2013, 7:10am

        Except in Northern Ireland where it is 17, as it is south of the Irish border.

    2. It is sixteen not eighteen.

    3. your a homophobe

  4. Someone explain this too me i dont understand. Im from the states so it might be different. In the states when you turn 18 your legall meaning you can vote, by cigarettes, buy lottery tickets and have sex with anyone who is 18 and older as old as you want. lol. eww. But anybody under 18 cant have sex with someone who is older then 18. if ur 16 and 17 and u are having sex with someone who is 18 and 19 its ok, but anything else is rape. So are they trying to say its ok for 14 to have sex with anyone as old as you want ?

    1. The legal age of consent for sex in the UK is 16, straight or gay.

    2. What they’re trying to do Sam is “Legalise” Paedophilia

  5. Darryl W Bullock 21 Jan 2013, 7:29pm

    I have huge respect for Peter, but this is idiotic. By that argument we may as well lower the smoking age to 11 and the drinking age to 12. And, as many joy riders are still of school age let’s give all 13 year olds a license.

    1. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 8:09pm

      Possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve read so far this year, and I read the Sun everyday. What he’s saying is that obviously kids are having sex that young and they should be protected from being criminalised for something that is consensual and brings no harm to anyone

      1. Keith Francis Farrell 22 Jan 2013, 5:15pm

        yes that is his point. why destroy a child just because they were having sex that is against the law. note that means when you discovered wanking and were doing it with friends present (as we all did, so dont lie about that) it could destroy your life and have you on a sex offenders list. how stupid. children will experament, let them, dont make it something that can destroy them.

    2. Sex is comparable to smoking, drinking and joyriding… what a strange tabloid world you live in.

      Thieving other people’s vehicles in order to drive them around with wild abandon, (otherwise known as joyriding) is illegal at any age btw.

      Giving a teenage boy a criminal record and putting him on the sex offenders register because he had consensual sex with his teenage boyfriend/girlfriend is perverse.

  6. The law still remains unequal between underage males compared with underage females. It comes down stronger on a boy of age than a female of age who does the same thing.

    A boy who has sex with a girl under 16 (17 in NI) is breaking the law. Even if she agrees.

    If she is 13-15, the boy could go to prison for two years.

    If she is under 13 he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

    A girl age 16 or over who has sex with a boy under 16 can be prosecuted for indecent assault.

  7. Cardinal Capone 21 Jan 2013, 7:46pm

    Crazy idea. 16 is fine. They need to learn and importantly to be able to understand the health and pregnancy risks involved. Are youngsters really prosecuted for doing it with each other? I’ve not heard of any such cases. Surely discretion is used.

    1. Well there is I think a compulsory media blackout with all sex-abuse (as the cases would be determined) incidents of those under 16, so we wouldn’t know if they were. Presumably as someone has raised the issue and the law exists, enough people are charged under it for it to be noticed and for the law to still exist.

      1. I wouldn’t make that assumption – and if it were true then I would expect Tatchell to find out and give us some numbers to demonstrate the point of his campaign. There are plenty of kids under 16 who get pregnant, and I’ve yet to hear of any getting prosecuted – including the fathers, assuming he’s a peer & the sex was consensual – though social services will often be involved to ensure the welfare of all concerned. There’s just no public interest in taking legal action.

        1. If anything, the lack of prosecution would be an indicator that the law needs to be removed rather than kept, would it not ?

          Furthermore, it is a non-sequitur to look at the prosecution rates to determine if a law is justified or not

          In this case, the grim idea that only one child is prosecuted should be enough to void the law (think of the children!)

  8. Decriminalising sexual relations between two 15 year olds isn’t ‘crazy’, is it? Unfortunately the debate will be interpreted around ‘Gay rights campaigner wants 14 year olds to have sex!’, sadly the impression that is given by the headline here. However I do question whether it is an issue and how many 15 year old boys who have sex with 15 year old girls are ever actually prosecuted. Even so the threat should not be there

    1. isn’t there already a ‘rule’ (may just be guidance) about not prosecuting someone if they have sex with an underage person as long as said person is 14 or over and the other person is close to their age – ie within 2 or 3 years? I remember reading something like that in an article about statutory rape a few years ago.

      If you think how many underage teens get pregnant (thereby providing proof of intercourse and with whom), how many fathers of those babies have ever been prosecuted if they’re of a similar age?

      1. I’ve seen it happen to a straight couple (if couple is the right word for such young people) whereby the parents of the girl waited till her boyfriend was 16 and made a complaint to the police. He was prosecuted for statutory rape even though it had been fully consenting prior to his coming of legal age. Very difficult to rationalise but as the police and lawyers kept pointing out, the law is the law and he broke it.

        It seemed unfair, and still does, but at the same time i can’t see how any watertight law could be implemented which could still protect youngsters from abuse while allowing young(ish) couples to have sex.

  9. Irrespective of facts or figures Peter, the fact that to many you are seen as a gay rights advocate and not human rights. Therefore, you have given the homophobic right plenty more to bash all of us with and claim we that you are encouraging peadophilia.

    You have probably done some serious damage to the Equal Marriage debate.

    I do wish you think before you open that mouth of your!

  10. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 8:12pm

    You CANNOT put an age on sex, it’s not just like people at midday on their 16th birthday just POP into sexual maturity. It’s complete bullshit. People will have sex when they want to have sex, you cannot put an average age on sex for everyone. There shouldn’t BE an age of consent *but then loads of kids will be taken advantage of * – NO, rape is rape, regardless of age. Can I also remind everyone that the age of consent in The Netherlands is 12 and Spain 13.

    1. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 8:19pm

      Apologies, after checking The Netherlands one is false but Spain is true 13. The age of consent is 14 in Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Albania, Serbia. In Asia they range from 13-18. In Africa they range from 12-20. In Oceania they range from 15-18. The vast majority of countries in South America have 14 as the age of consent with ranges from 13-18. North America ranges from 16-18, depending on which US state you’re in. I really don’t think this is a big deal, look at the rest of the world.

    2. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 8:21pm

      What IS needed however is comprehensive sexual education at school which at present falls FAR short from what it needs to be. Also there needs to be equal education on gay sex as well as straight sex – I learned sweet fuck all at school about gay sex and the risks, learned it all myself on wikipedia.

  11. Kerry Hollowell 21 Jan 2013, 8:20pm

    I am gay and have 3 daughters, one adopted and two biological. They are 15, 17 and 22 yrs old. All are different physically and mentally and reached maturity at different ages. There is no way that any of them were ready ( 2 still aren’t) for full sexual intercourse at 14 years old. I am a huge supporter of Peter but he had got this really wrong

    1. I totally agree, the age of consent is there to protect children, lowering it is wrong.

  12. @MartinNYID 21 Jan 2013, 8:21pm

    Will this guy stop at NOTHING to get in the news? Wrong problem, wrong time and stoking the political fire with this right now is rehrehensible.

  13. Sorry but what should the fact Peter is gay influence the debate at all? What about people who say condoms should be freely available in schools. Why aren’t they ever accused of some of the horrible insinuations thrown Peter’s way just because he’s gay or bi or whatever the hell he is. We mustn’t just accept this nonsense that if gay man raises an issue somehow we have to be uber careful about what others think.

  14. Guglielmo Marinaro 21 Jan 2013, 8:55pm

    Keep it at 16, but with the stipulation that where both parties are between 14 and 16, and it is fully consensual, there will be no prosecution.

  15. Sorry & clumsy of me Or a very blond moment :-( 16 not 18. But still agree with Joe, don’t give the religious or the bigots any more ammunition. Lets keep our focus on marriage equality,
    & even then no! It should stay at 16. .

  16. This man is sick. That would mean a 40 year old could sleep with a 14 year old and not be punished by the law. Wrong on every level.

    1. But an 86 year old can have sex with a 16 year old, legally, is that okay? Maybe we should ban people who are over 21 from having sex with anyone under 21, and people who are over 60 cannot have sex with anyone under 40. And anyone over 30 cannot have sex with someone who is over 70????

      1. No need to get into it that much, you get my point without having to be a idiot about it.

        1. But do you get his point ? Or, are you being an idiot about it ?

    2. The gay lifestyle is perverted what do you expect

  17. I always knew the homosexual lifestyle was connected to child abuse and this just proves it. Homosexuality is a sick and perverted lifestyle. Shame on you Peter Tatchell…We are living in moral madness at present. Gays want to ram down our throats their perverse lifestyle and anyone who disagrees with their perversion is labelled a bigot. Screw the gay mafia – you people aren’t winning hearts and minds with your crap. Your imposing not proposing…Get out of my face you perverts (not aimed at all gays – just the right wing gay bigots who frequent the com boxes of pink news)…

    1. Please do not feed the troll!

    2. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 11:29pm

      Wow you must leave a VERY fulfilling life if you have time to purposefully search for gay-related articles and abuse us. You know how it’s mostly young girls who get abused….yeah….I knew there was a link with heterosexuality and child abuse. – See how ridiculous that sounds. Fuck off mate, if there really is a God and a hell, get ready to burn you abominable idiot.

    3. put a sock in it, liam…

    4. Derek Williams 17 Nov 2013, 3:48pm

      “Ramming homosexuality down your throat” would mean we are trying to turn you into a homosexual. This is impossible, since you were born heterosexual, and your feelings for the opposite sex are innate to you.

      Your lot on the other hand, have indeed been ramming heterosexuality down the throats of homosexuals since time immemorial, with your ‘gay conversion therapy’ quack cures now being outlawed as child abuse, and your religious hocus pocus with its moving goalposts.

  18. No we shouldn’t. 16 is young enough.

  19. “One option would be to keep the age of consent at 16, but decriminalise sex involving youths aged 14-16, providing both partners consent and there is no more than two or three years difference in their ages. ”

    That’s what we did in Maine. The age of consent here is 16, but sex at 14 or 15 isn’t illegal as long as there’s no more than a four year age difference between the partners, while sex at 16 or 17 *is* illegal if one partner is in a formal position of authority over the other, e.g., is a teacher in his or her school. It’s a sensible balance that helps protect young people from predatory adults without needlessly criminalizing consensual sex between age-mates.

  20. How many under 16s are ever in trouble with the law for having sex? Lowering the age of consent will make it even easier for child abusers to escape justice and harder for under 16s to stay safe.

    1. How will it? If they’re not catching and prosecuting them now, the answer is to lower the age of consent still further?

    2. Brett Gibson 21 Jan 2013, 11:30pm

      Rape is rape mate whether you rape a 12 year old or an 82 year old. It won’t make it easier at all for them.

  21. No. He does not represent me, or anyone I know.

  22. ...Paddyswurds 21 Jan 2013, 10:20pm

    Absolutely no. This is a step too far and is attempting to show Gay people as creepy perves who want sex with children. I think even 16 is too young and 17 would have been more seemly, but now that we are there let that be it for at least another 50 years and then review it if it seems that young have matured faster and it is warranted. Enough Peter. Stick to the legitimate fight we are currently involved in …Marriage Equality for ALL UK citizens….

  23. Once again i disagree with Peter Tatchell
    Just because some kids are doing it it doesn’t make it right
    Most 16 year olds aren’t mature enough to have a sex life, so this is the wrong way to go

    Lowering the limit to 14 will encourage more kids that age to have sex who would have waited, peer pressure and all
    Then what? Lowering it to 12 in a couple years to stop the 13 year olds being criminalised for doing it too?

    This is madness and Tatchell has just created the stick we will all be beaten with in the media

  24. Julian Morrison 21 Jan 2013, 10:46pm

    They should (1) raise it to 18 (2) add a “Romeo and Juliet” exemption that makes consent legal at ANY age if the parties are close in age. That takes the stress off teenagers for their experimentation, and it stops (or at least criminalizes) the grabby-handed adults.

    1. That’s a very good idea

  25. Womandrogyne 21 Jan 2013, 10:52pm

    I’m not commenting on the sense or otherwise of Peter’s proposal, but I just want to point out that the sentence “This means that more than half of all teenagers – straight and LGBT – are criminalised” is bad writing, given that many trans people are straight. You just mean “straight and LGB” (or more accurately, “straight and otherwise”).

    1. What a load of waffle

      1. Womandrogyne 22 Jan 2013, 10:48pm

        Meh, it may not be meaningful for you, but some of us get pretty fed up with LGBT bring used as lazy journalistic or political shorthand for “not heterosexual”. Trans is not a sexuality, and there are trans folk of all sexualities. It’s a pretty regular occurence to see writers bandying LGBT about in a context where they’re actually only interested in LGB rights.

        1. ...Paddyswurds 24 Jan 2013, 1:59pm

          Don’t you mean BGL to be precise….

        2. Sometimes one wonders if the T in LGBT is seen by some as only including the same-sex attracted people. Although quite how they would define that isn’t clear either. Best usage might have been “including LGBT”.

          But there is also the important point that the unethical, and unjustified denial of sex reassignment surgery before 18 in the UK by NHS administrators and doctors in fact imposes a very harmful, discriminatory later age of sexual consent on those transsexual youngsters for whom sex is impossible without the genitalia that matches their brain and desires.

          Denial of the right genitalia is the most draconian way to police an age of consent imaginable, and no one has ever justified it except on moral or religious grounds. Many having had the same surgery at 16, and some at 14, with no regrets. It should be available in time for the age of sexual consent, and this is an area where the gay community, who fought for an equal age of consent, should help us.

  26. OMG, I cannot believe Peter – a folk hero of mine – would be advocating this, and now of all times with Operation Yew Tree in full thrust.

    I am speechless, and that is saying something!

    1. It is probably saying that you have no counter-argument worth writing …

  27. Stupid and wrong.
    How about keeping it at 16 and “backed up with assertiveness training and earlier, better quality sex and relationship education in schools, to help young people make wise, responsible sexual decisions, including the choice to not have sex.”
    I normally agree with Peter but this is crazy. Even though he is not the only one suggesting this move, it will backfire on the GLBT community with cries of sinister Gay agenda.

  28. Paul Essex/London 21 Jan 2013, 11:47pm

    Whilst I can see the rationale I don’t think it warrants reducing the age of consent. The age of consent isn’t just there to try and prevent those too young to have sex with each other, but more importantly to help prevent them falling prey to sexual predators who wish to take advantage of their vulnerability. Or enable their guardians to do something about it if it happens.

    I agree that we need to recognise that more and more under 16s are sexually active, and I think assertiveness training to empower kids not to be pressurised into having sex is definitely a good idea. But lowering the age of consent isn’t the way to go.

    Also, whilst no-one should allow other people’s ignorance to silence them on issues of importance, I’d be lying if I didn’t think that Peter’s concerns will be lost on wider society because it’s being raised by a man known for being gay and campaigning for gay rights.

  29. Meanwhile, gangs of muslim vigilantes in Tower Hamlets are once again trying to drive gay people out of that area.

    1. I just watched that video. Muslim area? I’ll tell you what’s a Muslim area. Pakistan.

  30. Peter Tatchell 22 Jan 2013, 12:31am

    Judging from some people making comments they have not fully read my article, with all its nuances and qualifications.

    This article is based on a discussion that I had on BBC Woman’s Hour. Listen here:

    I am horrified to think that my critics apparently believe that 14 and 15 year old teenagers who have consenting sex should be liable to imprisonment for 5 years in a youth detention centre and should be put on the sex offender’s register. This is what UK law says. It is absolutely wrong.

    Thankfully, the straight listeners of BBC Woman’s Hour are more compassionate and open-minded than many people on Pink News. Like me, they oppose the criminalisation of young people of similar ages, as do most youth welfare organisations.

    1. GingerlyColors 22 Jan 2013, 7:05am

      Sorry Peter but I think your suggestion of a lower age of consent is a bit of a public relations disaster to gays, especially when there are still plenty of bigots out there who think that gay = paedophile. In England, Scotland and Wales the age of consent is 16 as it has been for a long time. In Northern Ireland the age is 17, as it is in the Republic of Ireland. I understand that many other European countries have lower ages of consent but again they have had such ages for a while. Maybe one day the subject could be debated but the safeguard that prohibits someone who is in charge of a person under 18 from having sex with that person must remain. For example a teacher cannot have sex with a pupil aged 16 or 17.

    2. Peter Robertson 22 Jan 2013, 8:25am

      I suspect that some commenters have skimmed through the article and have seen the things they want to see and have ignored the rest; their précis would be ‘He wants anyone to be able to have sex with kids’. Your sensible points about education have fallen on many deaf ears.

      The really sad thing is that the majority responding here seem to be blinded by marriage equality and have a “don’t frighten the horses” attitude to other important issues.

      1. GingerlyColors 22 Jan 2013, 10:21am

        Important issues such as Tesco burgers perhaps?!

        1. Dave North 22 Jan 2013, 4:58pm


    3. None of your critics here believe anyone under 16 should be prosecuted for consenting sex with their peers, nor do many of us disagree with your logic or objections to the law as it stands. What we strongly object to is the fact that it is you personally – as a prominent gay rights campaigner – who has chosen to raise this matter in the middle of the equal marriage campaign, feeding the bigoted equation in the public unconscious ‘gay=paedophile’, and in the middle of the biggest child-abuse investigation in British history, when the issue of sex and children is especially sensitive. Your logic and reasoning may be immaculate, but your timing and obliviousness to context seem at best naive, at worst reckless and self-sabotaging.

    4. Just DROP IT. Bad idea and bad timing FFS.

    5. am horrified to think that my critics apparently believe that 14 and 15 year old teenagers who have consenting sex should be liable to imprisonment for 5 years in a youth detention centre and should be put on the sex offender’s register. This is what UK law says. It is absolutely wrong.

      How many times has that happed for it to cause you so much concercn?

    6. Jock S. Trap 22 Jan 2013, 12:25pm

      And if you think people hear aren’t reading your article, when I’m sure most have, how do you think the likes of the Daily Mail/Telegraph reader and the extremist religious will view it.

      Your lust for media attention Peter, actually does us more harm than good, sometimes. Esp in the light of the fact we are trying to get marriage equality.

      Think man!

    7. I think the title should have been thought out better rather than being linkbait.

      Personally I would say that each case should be individually assessed as to whether something wrong has occured, because you get very advanced 14 year olds and very vulnerable 14 year olds. I was definitely towards the later category and had someone of my own age but much more emotionally mature had sex with me, I’m fairly convinced that I would consider that now being taken advantage of.

      However punishment as well should be looked at.

    8. Well I listened, and I agreed with you both. Criminalising all those 14 and 15 year-olds who do have sex with each other never seemed other than a reactionary move, and the flexibility of the age of sexual consent was an important part of the argument in the most important medical consent ruling in the Gillick case. So was making the age of sexual consent rigid a reactionary step covertly towards overturning that and banning contraception and medical consent and confidentiality before 16 too?

      But you do seem to have advocated a more radical position in the past; have you modified your views now? Woman’s Hour did seem slightly surprised that both their guests so agreed with each other too.

    9. postopgirl 25 Jan 2013, 8:24pm

      Peter, this is something I will have to disagree with you on, sadly there are adults out there who would manipulate this if it became law, there are many out there who still feel that 16 is too low an age of consent, I disagree 16 is about right, any lower than that is too much, most young people are too immature at that age, after all look at The Jeremy Kyle Show (heavens above) the many 18-20 year olds who make a mess of it, we have too many teenage pregnancies already, lowering the age of consent would make those figures rise further. What the law does is wrong, each case should be decided on its merit.

    10. 14 and 15 yr olds SHOULD be labelled criminals peter because that is what happens when people break the LAW, irrespective of their age or crime, murder is a crime no matter at what age it is committed (see the james bulger affair) and ‘better?’ and earlier sex ed’ is NOT the answer either, tall that does is promote sex. Knowledge about LAW is the answer, the laws are there to “Protect” – everybody – irrespective of age.

      I was disgusted the age was lowered to 16 – a paedophiles dream, you think this won’t be a Paedo’s “Wet” dream if this becomes law.

      You should be ashamed of yourself for promoting the future harm of kids and you should be sacked.

      I did used to support you but now, will never again. You disgust me.

  31. Kids need to be protected both from predatory adults and themselves. Teenagers are often keen to impress people/fit in and so will cave in more easily to pressure. I know of 2 cases of this personally: 1 12/13 year old girl who was pressured by a boy to have sex when she didn’t want to and then the rumour got round the school and she was called a slag, and 1 15 year old who responded to pressure from her boyfriend and ended up getting an abortion. They were clearly not individuals who had the maturity or self-respect to be in a sexual relationship, and it is wrong that their teenage years were blighted because of this.

    Lowering the age of consent sends the message that a 14 year old is responsible and mature enough to make decisions like this which could change the course of their lives (pregnancy, STIs), and it clears those who manipulate their immaturity for sexual gratification of all blame.

    And in reality, a consenting 16yo and 15yo won’t be prosecuted.

    You fool, Peter.

    1. Keith Francis Farrell 22 Jan 2013, 5:29pm

      so it would be better in both those cases if the children concerned self harmed and ended up dead. Get real chioldren are going to make mistakes and for their own reasons will try to shift the blame. I am not saying that here are no cases of forced sex. but please never put a child into a situation where they would consider doing something to end their life. To be put on a sex preditors list will destroy that child for ever. do it to an adult who molests a child (in fact why are all the priest of the catholic curch on these lists automatically) but not a child.

    2. Why are acting so homophobically?

  32. Tatchell’s fellow paedophiles are out in strong force today on this site (a tag makes it difficult to go out to work I guess), marking down anything that disagrees with their hideous and warped agenda. Mark down. These are just red arrows. If there are people like you in our ranks, I hope that even those rights we have so far are withdrawn. You make me ashamed to be part of the human race, never mind homosexual.

  33. GingerlyColors 22 Jan 2013, 6:56am

    I’m sorry, Peter but I beg to differ. I believe that the current age of consent is young enough. There may be a case for lowering the age of consent for sex to 14 as many European countries allow sex at that age but I do not believe in fixing something that is not broken. The age of consent for gays was set at 21 years when homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967 when the voting age was still 21. The same age was applied to Scotland and Northern Ireland in 1980 and 1983 respectively when gay sex was allowed there. The age was lowered to 18, the current age of majority by the John Major government and further lowered to 16 by the previous Labour government via use of the Parliament Act to bypass the House of Lords. I am happy with the way things are and I certainly do not have any desire to have sex with school boys. There are bigger fish to fry such as marriage equality.

  34. I dont think it’s all about lowering the age of consent (why stop at 14?) it’s about applying the law intelligently, which is probably already the case given that all the teen mums aren’t convicted sex offenders.

  35. Thin end of deviance 22 Jan 2013, 10:26am

    then follows polygamy, then after that incest among consenting 14 year olds , then incestuous marriage amongst those that consent.

    1. …….. Then being allowed out of mental institutions without supervision. Like you.

      1. Thats a witty response Dave

  36. Many people who have commented have not read the article properly. Peter is just saying that people aged 14-16 who are involved in consensual sexual relationships should not be criminalised for that.
    At the same time these teenagers need to be protected against exploitation by adults.

    Below are quotes from the article.

    “One option would be to keep the age of consent at 16, but decriminalise sex involving youths aged 14-16, providing both partners consent and there is no more than two or three years difference in their ages.

    This would, for example, end the criminalisation of two 15 year olds, while continuing to prohibit sex between 15-year-olds and 50-year-olds.

    Even then, I would favour a reduction to 14 only if it was backed up with assertiveness training and earlier, better quality sex and relationship education in schools, to help young people make wise, responsible sexual decisions, including the choice to not have sex.”

  37. Peter Tatchell 22 Jan 2013, 11:10am

    Oh dear. Please read the article, not just the headline. I am writing about not prosecuting young people of similar ages who have consenting sex. SIMILAR AGES. Not adults having having sex with kids.

    I was reacting to a proposal from the Policy Unit at No 10 Downing Street. THEY proposed a reduction in the age of consent to 14. I merely responded, with Jules Hillier of the Brook youth advice agency, by advancing reasons why the criminalisation of under-16s may not be a good idea.

    1. Fair enough, however surely you can see how those opposed to equal marriage will latch onto this and however misconstrued, use it against us.

      Logic and reason is not their strong points.

    2. am horrified to think that my critics apparently believe that 14 and 15 year old teenagers who have consenting sex should be liable to imprisonment for 5 years in a youth detention centre and should be put on the sex offender’s register. This is what UK law says. It is absolutely wrong. how many times has this happened to be such a concern?

    3. Dave North 22 Jan 2013, 1:21pm

      Here you go Peter. Comment from above.

      This is what this idiotic topic brings on us.
      “”” Liam 15 hours ago Report Thumb up Thumb down -21

      I always knew the homosexual lifestyle was connected to child abuse and this just proves it. Homosexuality is a sick and perverted lifestyle. Shame on you Peter Tatchell…We are living in moral madness at present. Gays want to ram down our throats their perverse lifestyle and anyone who disagrees with their perversion is labelled a bigot. Screw the gay mafia – you people aren’t winning hearts and minds with your crap. Your imposing not proposing…Get out of my face you perverts (not aimed at all gays – just the right wing gay bigots who frequent the com boxes of pink news)…“””

      Thanks for that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. He means those under the age of consent who have sexual relations with EACH OTHER. I sometimes wonder if the hysteria is genuine or forced. Nobody wants children under 16 to have sex (I don’t want anyone else other than me having sex it’s noisy) but there’s a difference between disapproval and thinking they should be made criminals as a result. I would bet there are few people in this discussion who weren’t sexually active in some way before the age of 16 with others of the same age. I suspect they don’t consider themselves criminals as a result.

  39. Jock S. Trap 22 Jan 2013, 12:08pm

    Way to get the religious bigots back up just before equal marriage legislation Peter.

    I know your a media attention junkie but seriously, there’s a time and place and now is not it!

    1. Agree completely

  40. Horrible, hateful little man. LGBT rights in the UK would be in a much more advanced state if it wasn’t for him continually muddying the waters with his weirdness.

    1. With respect you clearly haven’t read the article indicating that waters, if they are muddied, are done so by frightened horses such as yourself who react not based on what has been said but on what you want to hear. Be nice to have a debate that’s actually about the issue rather than ‘I’ll ignore the issue, make something up and then say how terrible it is’. Please? Frankly if my grasp of this issue was as poor and hysterical as some others here, I’d be embarrassed. I’m beginning to understand now why and how the Daily Mail is so popular. People really do love inventing something to be outraged at.

  41. Paul Harper 22 Jan 2013, 2:05pm

    Oh great. More ammunition for the “gays are paedophiles” bigots. Thanks, Peter, you idiot. Tatchell has become an embarrassment and a liability lately. He should seriously consider quietly retiring and leaving equality campaigning to the grown ups.

  42. …this has been an annoying subject, due to the fact many young men are extremely physically mature by 14 and ought to be allowed to have sex when they want to….this 18yr old lark is silly and does nothing for moral.

    1. It’s 16 in the UK, not 18
      And most 16 year olds are not even close to being mature enough for a sex life

  43. Personally I wasn’t ready for sex until my 20s…

    The vast majority of 15 year olds may want to have sex, but it doesn’t mean they are emotionally old enough enough to give free and fair consent, and are at an age when they are at their most vulnerable to manipulation, even by someone of their own age.

    That said, we should be focusing on comprehensive sex education, that should cover psychological issues, so that people are better prepared to deal with the situations they will face.

  44. Keith Francis Farrell 22 Jan 2013, 5:10pm

    I do however agree with the sentiments of this article.
    Can you imagine how a child would feel if they were arrested and convicted under these laws, that would be enough to consider self harm. I believe that they need to decrimalize sex between children in the 12-16 year age group so long as the children are of simular ages, and make education and contraceptives available. dont wait until its too late and your child is destroyed by the law. But sex between adults we need to keep that age of concent at 16
    I am 52 and my hubby is 29, in my last relationship my hubby was 30 years older than me, and we were together for 24 years. I still miss him, and woul be happy to join him today.

  45. Peter Tatchell 22 Jan 2013, 7:59pm

    This issue about the age of consent was not started by me. It was initiated by the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street. THEY proposed lowering the age of consent to 14 – NOT me.

    I was invited to comment on the proposal by the BBC, together with Jules Hillier of the Brook youth advice service. We both agreed that criminalising under 16s for consenting sex is wrong.

    If my critics had bothered to listen to the BBC Woman’s Hour programme before leaping to condemn they would have realised this.

    You can listen to the programme here:

    Thank you

    1. You don’t need to be a part of EVERY campaign you agree with Peter.
      This one will hit us all, whether that was your intention or not.

      As was said above, this is not a pressing issue, equal marriage rights are at the moment
      Kids are never prosecuted for underage sex and the only prosecutions have been paedophilia or rape cases

      This is why there are so many flaming your comments at the moment

      It only takes one campaign from the C4M about this and a link to you to damage the equal marriage campaign very badly

  46. ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of NINE to 13. NONE feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great JOY.
    While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that NOT ALL SEX INVOLVING CHILDREN IS, ABUSIVE and harmful.’ Sir Jimmy Saville 1997

    Oops sorry Peter Tatchell wrote that !Tatchell at his old tricks wanting the age of consent lowered again – a sick individual.As a major alleged homosexual ring is about to be exposed in the media, Tatchell tries to warp the laws before prosecutions begin:

    1. Wonder if Mr Tatchell gave the names of the adults who had sex with kids to the Police ? Or is there a secret vault in the Tatchell Foundation and a major cover-up ? A self-styled ‘human rights’ activist indeed !

  47. I can’t believe this! Shut your mouth, what does he think he’s playing at.

  48. You always feel a traitor for criticising Tatchell…..but in recent years he has been coming out with some fairly oddball comments and it really has not been helpful nor reflected well on him.

  49. So kids having sex with each other at 14 yrs old or anyone having sex with a 14 yr old is ok with you Joe?

    Paedophilia is wrong at any age and this is NOT a gay issue, this is a PAEDOPHILIA issue, I suggest you stop being all “Woe is (gay) me” and worry about the law protecting “Kids” from sexual predators irrespective of their sexuality!

    The prick want SACKING!

  50. Serena Lewis 6 Mar 2013, 11:22am

    He’s not saying for every 14 year old to have sex he’s saying that a majority of teens nowadays are represented as criminals because they’ve had underage sex. And I agree with Peter what’s the point of having the age of consent when most teens ignore it. And I would like to know how many people who wrote on here saying the idea is ridiculous actually did wait till they were 16. The age of consent was passed in1875 times have changed a lot I mean you have 12 yr olds watching porn for gods sake of course more teens are going to have sex. If someone is ready to have sex let them there shouldn’t be a limit on something so personal. I mean places across Europe have lower age of consents yet we are one of the countries with the highest teen pregnancy in Western Europe!!

  51. I remember Tatchell weeping with joy outside the Houses of Parliament when legal age for homosexuality was reduced to 16. From my cynical, heterosexual viewpoint he was happy he could now bugger 16 year old boys without getting locked up. Not satisfied with 16 year olds now he wants to bugger 14 year olds! Shocking!

    1. Derek Williams 17 Nov 2013, 3:55pm

      Obviously you did not read this article.

  52. Derek Williams 17 Nov 2013, 3:53pm

    I agree with those who argue that Mr Tatchell should not be the one to promote this idea, because it has already been taken out of context and seized upon by the religious right as ‘evidence’ linking homosexuality with pedophilia. Any such push, if warrated, should not be coming from LGBT activists, but from those directly concerned with child welfare.

    I don’t agree with a blanket, unconditional lowering of the age of consent below 16, but there is a strong case to be made for not criminalising youngsters.

    In some countries there is a varied scale to account for age not being commensurate with maturity. Perhaps a codicil to avoid criminalising sex between teenagers who are BOTH below 16 is necessary, and another to avoid criminalising couples where one is slightly above and the other slightly below – e.g. a 16 year old in a relationship with a 15 year old should not suffer criminal conviction, whereas a 40 year old with a 15 year old unquestionably should.

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