‘Clovergender’ adults use ‘age fluidity’ to justify paedophilia? No, 4chan trolling campaign from 2017

Some adults identify as “age-fluid”, younger than they really are, to justify sexual relationships with children. At least, that’s the claim in a message circulating on Facebook in South Africa in July 2020.

It includes a graphic with an illustration of a crouching adult man holding his hands out to a small boy. The outline of a little girl inside the man’s silhouette suggests that is his real identity.

“Agefluid – a person whose age identity is not fixed and changes over time depending on the situation,” the graphic’s text reads.

One user posted it with the comment: “So, if a 50 year old man ‘identifies’ as an 8 year old girl, and is attracted to an 8 year old boy, then these sickos feel it is natural and should be legal for him to act on those feelings.” The post has been viewed more than 17,500 times.

Similar claims about adults identifying as “age-fluid” or “trans-age” to justify paedophilia have been posted on Twitter. 

Are there adults who publicly describe themselves as “age-fluid”? Who created the graphic?

‘New gender to troll social justice warriors’

The graphic was originally posted on the Twitter account @Clovergender, which has since been suspended by Twitter. 

A Google search for “clovergender” reveals that it is a made-up term for a fake gender identity that emerged in December 2016. It started on 4chan, an anonymous online forum known in part as a gathering place for the alt-right, or white nationalists. 

A 4chan user came up with the term “clovergender” to mean “a child trapped in a man’s body who is attracted to other children”. It was created to troll left-wing or progressive social media users, disparagingly referred to as “SJWs” – social justice warriors.  

“We’re creating a new gender to troll SJWs with,” the anonymous 4chan user who proposed the campaign posted. “Clovergender: a child trapped in a man’s body who is attracted to other children. We will be trolling on tumblr and facebook.”

They added: “Needed: propaganda images, accounts.”

The term became more widespread in January 2017 after Martin Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical executive currently serving seven years in prison for defrauding investors, tweeted in support of “clovergender” people. His verified Twitter account no longer exists. 

A Clovergender Rights Facebook page was created in January 2017 and last updated in February that year. 

No evidence of ‘age-fluid’ community

While paedophiles do operate online, we could find no evidence of any “clovergender” or “age-fluid” communities or anyone genuinely identifying as with the terms.

Instead, the clovergender campaign is one of several online disinformation campaigns that have attempted to discredit the LGBTQI community. 

One campaign claimed LGBTQI people wanted to add a P to the acronym to include “paedosexuals”. Another said there was a call for the acceptance of “minor-attracted people”, or MAPS, in the LGBTQ community. 

These campaigns rely on a long-debunked myth linking LGBTQ people to paedophiles in order to discredit those within and supportive of the community. – Naledi Mashishi


 

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