Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-12-2013

Major Department or Program



Jason Pribilsky


Heated national debates in 2012-13 included whether the Boy Scouts of America should revoke its ban on openly homosexual members, the tolerability of gay and lesbian bullying in schools and youth groups, and the impact of gay parents on children. Homosexuality in and around children is contentious in the United States because two cultural perspectives on childhood and homosexuality are colliding: homosexuality as a deviance that can infect and harm children versus homosexuality as a lifelong sexual orientation knowable in childhood. I discuss the history and contemporary expressions of these two central paradigms and show why each resonates with social identities and anxieties today.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Purity (Ethics) -- Analysis, Children and homosexuality, Child welfare, Sexual orientation -- Children, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2013 -- Anthropology Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

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Anthropology Commons



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