I’m a pedophile, but not a child molester, man says in essay he wrote about pedophilia

An essay by a self-described pedophile asking Americans to 'learn to accept' people like him and attempting to raise awareness about their 'sexual orientation' was published by salon.com yesterday.

The controversial op-ed was written by Tennessee-based graphic designer Todd Nickerson. In it Nickerson explains how being being a pedophile is a 'curse of the first order'.

'I’ve been stuck with the most unfortunate of sexual orientations, a preference for a group of people who are legally, morally and psychologically unable to reciprocate my feelings and desires,' Nickerson wrote.

'To confess a sexual attraction to children is to lay claim to the most reviled status on the planet, one that effectively ends any chance you have of living a normal life.'
The point of the essay is to try and debunk the concept that all pedophile's are predators. Nickerson maintains he has never given into his urges and assaulted a child or used child pornography.
'Yet, I’m not the monster you think me to be,' he wrote. 'I’ve never touched a child sexually in my life and never will, nor do I use child pornography.'
In trying to make a case that pedophilia is a sexual orientation, Nickerson explains how he became introverted as a child after being born without his right arm.
A 'bladder problem' throughout elementary school also forced him to retreat inside himself.
A pinnacle moment was being sexually assaulted by an older male gentleman when he was seven-years-old.
Nickerson said the man, who he referred to as Hans, was German and a friend of his family.
Hans did not speak English, and Nickerson's grandmother told him to show Hans around their vegetable garden one day.
Nickerson said the two were sitting down in the garden when 'out of the blue, Hans slipped a hand into my shorts'.
He said Hans fondled him for several minutes.
'Eventually this came to an end, and Hans, having gotten what he wanted, shooed me away,' Nickerson wrote.

He ran inside to tell his grandmother, who decided the best option was to keep it a secret.
Nickerson recalled: 'No authorities were called, and life went on as usual. Hans stayed that evening with my uncle and aunt and left the next day. I never saw him again.'
Nickerson said it was around 12 that he realized he was attracted to young people.
'As I turned 13 it occurred to me that what I initially took as a phase had begun to solidify into something more troubling,' he wrote.
Nickerson questions theories of whether pedophilia is linked to abuse or whether it might be genetic, and says he believes its likely a combination of both, with other factors also involved.
'I think it’s safe to say that many pedophiles have deep-seated feelings of inferiority in one way or another, or at least we did when our sexuality was forming, and this becomes a downward spiral during puberty and beyond,' Nickerson wrote.
'Anything can be the trigger of this: disabilities, weight issues, or just general feelings of unattractiveness to peers.
'These feelings can be influential on one’s developing sexuality, such that even the severe cultural taboo is not enough to override it. Indeed, the taboo itself can negatively influence these vulnerable children.'
Nickerson fell into a deep depression after graduating college and being forced to face the 'real world' and the concept of getting a girlfriend and getting married, while hiding this dark secret.
He contemplated suicide on a daily basis and became hooked on opiates, mostly hydrocodone.
It was during this time Nickerson found 'an unhealthy pedophile forum' online, where members believed in having sex with children and advocated the elimination of age of consent laws.
Nickerson joined and even outed himself as a pedophile, saying he 'wanted desperately to be friends with people who shared my sexual orientation, even if they held crazy beliefs, but I could never quite reconcile with their viewpoint'.
'No matter what, some small part of me still holds out hope that things will go back to normal, or as close to normal as a celibate pedophile with little prospect of a future can get.
'Besides, like I said earlier, I just couldn’t allow myself to foist this abomination onto another human being.'
'I have other pedophiles in my life that I’m actually proud to call friends, people I would trust my children with if I had any, knowing they’d be safe there,' Nickerson wrote.
'So, please, be understanding and supportive.
'It’s really all we ask of you.
'Treat us like people with a massive handicap we must overcome, not as a monster. If we are going to make it in the world without offending, we need your help.'