Psychologists and social workers have given us ample evidence that such abuse of children today results in a lifetime of social difficulties and psychological problems (see, for example, my discussion of Joel and Ian Golds’ and Suspicious Minds elsewhere in this volume). Being neither a psychologist nor sociologist, I might ask, nonetheless, whether other, earlier cultures, evidenced the same degree of social and psychological problems, outside of violence and verbal abuse, in children who had had sex with adults? Where the young boys involved in love affairs with Greek aristocrats prone to depression and suicidal thoughts later in their life? In other words, does the culture’s very abhorrence of an act help to create an environment that helps to traumatize its victims? Since that is our cultural perspective, however, perhaps it does not truly matter that we are justifiably appalled by acts of pederasty. Yet, at the same time our culture, in its open acceptance of homosexuality, is also facing the fact that many young people identify themselves as being gay, bisexual, or transgender at a far earlier age than in previous decades, which may possibly effect the sexual behaviors of youths who previously could not have imagined engaging in such sexual activity while being underage. In other words, although as a culture we might still desire to insulate childhood as a period of innocent discovery and wonderment, our children themselves may redefining their own roles with regard to adolescent sexual activity.
What Mackay’s book also makes clear is that, despite the fact, as Beachy observes, the Berlin police were far more open-minded about the homosexual and lesbian behavior of their inhabitants, there was still plenty to fear from the “cops,” particularly for the young hustlers who, when arrested, where often put away in brutal institutions, as is Gunther, until they came of age. Gunther returns to the country having been left, through his incarceration, without any will or desire; a walking dead man, he has been destroyed not through the sexual attentions of his johns, but through the inattentions of the prison system. When Hermann Graff naively implicates himself as Gunther’s lover, he, on the other hand, is arrested and imprisoned only for two months.