This thesis presents findings and analysis arising from semi-structured qualitative interviews with nine minor-attracted men (i.e. men who are primarily attracted to children and/or adolescents) in Canada. The central research question is “how do minor-attracted people understand and manage their stigmatized identities?” I situated the participants' experiences within a broader social context by reviewing relevant academic literature, laws, and dominant cultural attitudes. Utilizing a symbolic-interactionist approach, and drawing on Goffman's concept of “stigma,” this thesis illustrates the unique challenges facing minor-attracted people. The study reveals that minor-attracted people become aware of their sexuality at an early age, experience stress caused by real or perceived societal rejection, and encounter both positive and negative reactions upon disclosing their identities. The conclusion underscores the need for a new approach to dealing with minor-attraction in contemporary Western society. I offer eight recommendations for instituting a strategy which incorporates empathy, education, and anti-discrimination measures.
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Thesis advisor: Menzies, Robert
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