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UK: Anti-TERF Lecturer Claims Children Capable of Perversity

Cambridge Uni platforms academic rallying against "TERFs" and child safeguarding.

Dana Vitalosova
Dana Vitalosova

On Monday 31 Cambridge University’s Centre for Gender Studies hosted an online event titled “‘Sex is Real,’ and other Gender Critical Non Sequiturs: A TERF Grammar Book.”

In the description to this January 31 lecture, Jacob Breslow, the speaker and organizer, stated he conducts “ongoing transfeminist research on the grammar of gender critical activisms” and equates “TERFs” with “far-right anti-gender” movements.

Jacob Breslow, however, does not only rally against women critical of faux feminism. Despite his young age, he has already established himself as a prolific campaigner against child safeguarding.

Last December, Dr. Jacob Breslow, who is Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the London School of Economics (LSE), said during a launch of his book:

is it really that children or young people having sex is the problem? Or is it [the problem] the conditions under which that sex happens?”

Subsequently, Breslow elucidated the conditions he had in mind by suggesting that if “systems of oppression” were dismantled, it would be okay for children to have sex:

“Is it that people are having it [sex] under conditions of anti-blackness, poverty, homophobia and transphobia and if those conditions were alleviated, the way we are talking about what we’re deeming the problem would then also change?”

Jacob Breslow admitted these views were inspired by Judith Levine’s 2002 book, in which she wrote that “sex is not in itself harmful to minors” and “the real potential for harm lies in the circumstances [poverty and racism] under which some children and teens have sex.” Also, in Harmful To Minors: The Perils Of Protecting Children From Sex, Levine argued for the lowering of the age of consent to twelve.

During the 2021 online book launch, Breslow also asked whether sex offenders should be “part of the queer project” and claimed they were created by “the carceral state”:

What do we do when queerness is aligned with projects (…) that are less respectable? What are the limits of who we see as being part of our project? (...) How do we sit with the category of the sex offender and make sure that we’re doing it in ways that push back against the production of that figure through the carceral state?”

Jacob Breslow has argued for the interests of pedophiles since at least 2011, when he gave a presentation at a symposium organized by self-described “people who are attracted to children” in B4U-Act, an NGO founded in 2003 by convicted child molester Michael Melsheimer.

Five years after his B4U-Act presentation, Breslow made his stance on children and sex even clearer, when in his PhD. thesis he argued some kids were “queer,” defining this phenomenon with the help of two other academics, Bruhm and Hurley:

“the figure of the queer child is [...] the child who displays interest in sex generally, in same-sex erotic attachments, or in cross-generational attachments.”

Further on in his thesis, Breslow suggested children have sexual desires and perversities:

“the queering that ‘queer’ does to the child, is one of resisting the child’s alleged asexuality and heterosexuality; allowing for the child’s pleasures, desires, and perversities; refusing the sexual narrative of growing up and becoming a proper sexual subject; and thwarting the normative frames of sexuality and identity that have constrained the child and the queer.”

The topic of children acting out sexually also features in Jacob Breslow’s 2021 book Ambivalent Childhoods: Speculative Futures and the Psychic Life of the Child. The Gender Studies lecturer starts a chapter titled “Desiring the Child” with a description of a 12 year old boy’s dance in front of a crowd of two hundred people.

While the boy wearing a t-shirt that says “G-A-Y” begins his performance on stage by break-dancing, according to Breslow, “his movements transition (...) to those that mimic sex acts, repeating the easily citational gestations of pelvic thrusts.”

In contrast with other audience members who murmured about such a twist to the kid’s dance or “looked panicked,” Jacob Breslow found himself “caught up in exhilarating waves of memory, identification and desire: a wish.”

In his 2021 book, Breslow, as an organizer of this event, bemoaned he “found himself in trouble,” receiving complaints that the boy’s performance was “inappropriate” and “uncomfortable.” However, he condemned such criticism as inability to accommodate the fact that “queer kids can have desires of their own.”

It is unclear whether Jacob Breslow is familiar with what child safeguarding experts' say about sexual acting out. According to Psychology Today, adults should be concerned if a kid:

“Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language, and knowledge (mimicking adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animals; draws/writes about frightening or sexualized content; plays sexual games with other children.”

Likewise, the British National Health Service is clear about the meaning of kids’ sexual behavior: “children who have been abused may behave in sexually inappropriate ways or use sexually explicit language.”

In fact, the celebration of age-inappropriate sexuality as free expression is similar to the tactics employed by pedophiles. In 1989, Mary deYoung summarized strategies NAMBLA - a US pedophilia and pederasty advocacy organization used to justify the highly condemned acts they were promoting.

As part of the Appeal to Higher Loyalties strategy, NAMBLA members argued for the “liberation of children from (...) repressive bonds of society” while sexual liberation of children was “presented as a necessary step for achieving that larger goal.”

London School of Economics’ Jacob Breslow is connected to another controversial anti-"TERF" figure: as part of Breslow’s university course, in 2021 Mat Thompson penned an essay in which he wrote:

“If TERFs think trans* is an endemic threat to feminism, let us be the threat to feminism.”
Picture this: I hold a knife to your throat and spit my transness into your ear. Does that turn you on? Are you scared? I sure fucking hope so.”

Thompson's paper, titled "Trans-Endemics: Embodying Viral and Monstrous Threat in Times of Pandemic," was presented first in April 2021 and then in June at “A World in Revolution” conference co-hosted by LSE Department of Gender Studies and LSE Middle East Centre.


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Dana Vitalosova

Writer, editor, proofreader based in Slovakia.