Martin Shkreli brought the term “clovergender” into the public eye in the beginning of this year by tweeting “Please spread clovergender awareness” on January 4th. Clovergender was initially created on 4-Chan as a hoax. The original posted stated “We’re creating a new gender to troll SJWs with. Clovergender: a child stuck in a man’s body that is attracted to other children…” The term quickly spread over the internet. While some people realized that this identity was not legitimate; rather, a mockery of nonbinary gender identities, others accepted and showed support for clovergendered people.
The problems with the clovergender hoax are numerous and far-reaching. For starters, it normalizes and legitimizes pedophilia. By stating, even as a joke, that it is ok for an adult to date a child, supporters of the clovergender are also supporting pedophilia. There is no scientific or psychological research that supports the idea of a child being stuck in an adult’s body, so there are no instances in which someone who identified as clovergendered could date a child without being a pedophile.
Additionally, those who accept clovergender are making a mockery of the LGBT community. Those who created the term intended to make fun of those who identify as nonbinary. By their logic, a child trapped in a man’s body is somehow similar enough to being transgender that the two “identities” should be grouped together. However, the root of the mockery, homophobia and transphobia goes even deeper than this.
For a long time, people have drawn connections between pedophilia and sexual orientation. During the fight for marriage equality, a regular argument of the opposition was that same-sex marriage may lead to the legalization of child marriages or polygamy. Some have even gone so far to call pedophilia a sexual preference, similar to a sexual orientation. While pedophilia may be inherent or somehow uncontrollable, it is still not a sexual orientation. Pedophilia is inherently immoral and dangerous because it sexualizes children and puts them in danger of molestation by adults. Pedophilia is a criminal act, while being LGBT is simply an identity.
I, as well as every other LGBT person, am sick and tired of cisgender heterosexuals trying to define who I am. Sexual orientation is the long-lasting attraction to specific genders. Gender identity is a permanent or semipermanent feeling of identity as somewhere on the spectrum between male and female. Sexual orientation is not being attracted to a particular class of society; e.g. prepubescent girls. For me personally, labels really helped me define and come to terms with my sexual orientation. However, to equate clovergender and pedophilia to LGBT labels such as agender or pansexual is homophobic and transphobic. In short, the LGBT community has been through enough– clovergender is not real.