Fact Check

Does This Image Represent a 'MAPs Pride Flag'?

Rumors holding that MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons) created a pride flag in an attempt to join the LGBTQ community originated with a troll experiment on Tumblr.

Published Jul 14, 2018

MAPs (Minor Attracted Persons) created a pride flag

A number of fear-mongering campaigns over the years have attempted to link pedophilia to the LGBTQ community, despite an utter lack of scientific proof of any such connection. In December 2017, for instance, internet trolls spread a false rumor that the letter "P," representing "pedosexual," was being added to the initialism LGBT (for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender").

An eerily similar rumor was spread via social media in June 2018 in the form of an image purportedly showing a "MAPs (Minor-Attracted Persons) Pride Flag" supposedly created for Gay Pride Month:

This picture does not represent a "MAPs Pride Flag." Rather, the image was created as part of a troll experiment on Tumblr.

When pictures of this "MAP flag" began circulating on Facebook, the posts typically included messages warning other social media users to be wary of anyone displaying this flag:

This is a Minor Attracted Person (MAP) (polished term for pedophile) flag. If you happen to see this flag on any Social Media Profile or someone using the term MAP in their bio, please REPORT the Pedophile running that account.

Do your bit.

Websites such as the Daily Caller and "Attitude" picked up on this alleged "MAPs Pride Flag" and reported that pedophiles were "rebranding" themselves as "Minor Attracted Persons" in an attempt to be accepted by the LGBT community:

Paedophiles are trying to gain acceptance to the LGBT community by rebranding themselves.

In a bid to gain acceptance, they have rebranded themselves as MAPs or “Minor Attracted Persons” and have gone so far to even create a rainbow “Pride” flag for Gay Pride, but Twitter user, Communist Fish, posted a picture back in June to warn children to stay away.

The group attempt to claim that paedophiles are misunderstood people and if they do not act upon their attraction to children, they shouldn’t be marginalised.

Sites like The Prevention Project have started to post testimonials from paedophiles who are seeking help with their attraction, claiming everyone “needs support”.

Pedophiles did not coin the term "minor attracted persons" (or MAPS) to rebrand themselves in 2018 in order to gain entry to the LGBT community. Organizations such as B4UAct have been using the term "minor attracted persons" for years to refer to "adults who experience feelings of preferential sexual attraction to children or adolescents under the age of consent."

The Prevention Project, an organization that helps minor-attracted persons find professional treatment, explicitly denied that the term "MAPs" was an attempt to "rebrand" pedophiles. Rather, they explained that this term was preferred as a broader reference that could accurately encompass hebephiles, pedophiles, and ephebephiles:

The term minor is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Therefore, someone attracted to a 14 year old is actually called an ephebephile not a pedophile. Someone attracted to a 13 year old is called a hebephile. Pedophiles are attracted to 6-12 year old children; not teens. Hence why we accurately use the term "Minor Attracted Person" when we discuss providing treatment to men and women with attractions to various ages of minors. We are not trying to "soften the term" or "rebrand" pedophilia to fit in with certain groups. We treat individuals who are attracted to various ages of minors, thus it is accurate to use the term "minor attracted person."

We also found no evidence that this flag originated in earnest as a MAPs Pride Flag. We reached out to the "Prevention Project, who told us they had never heard of this pride flag: "We’re experts in treating MAPs who have zero desire to harm anyone but want support to deal with the stigma of being a pedophile, hebophile or ephebephile. MAPs encompass these 3 terms. None of the MAPs we know (we know a lot) have talked about this [flag]."

This alleged "MAPs Pride Flag" appears to have originated on the Tumblr page "Don't Mistake Our Geography" on 13 June 2018, where it was posted with a brief explanation about what the colors in the flag supposedly symbolized to NOMAPS (Non-Offending Minor Attracted Persons) and an acknowledgement that the "pride flag" had just been created out of whole cloth:

The NOMAP community doesn’t really have a pride flag, so in honor of pride month I designed a NOMAP pride flag.

The top two stripes are blue to represent NOMAPs attracted to young boys.

The bottom two stripes are pink to represent NOMAPs attracted to young girls.

The inner stripes are yellow to represent childhood and general attraction to minors, regardless of their gender.

The middle stripe is white to represent our innocence and unwillingness to offend.

Please feel free to use this flag and make icons out of it etc! Hope you enjoy

At the time this Pride flag image was originally posted, the Tumblr page operated under a banner in support of MAPs and included a tagline claiming that the author was "possibly a MAP" and "definitely a supporter." However, the title of this page was later changed to "Y'all need a therapist, not a community," and the tagline was altered to read "Not an anti, not an ally, just a training psychologist with some fucking sense."

Here's a look at how the page was changed. The top image shows the Tumblr page as it was in mid-June, while it was claiming to be a MAP ally; the bottom image shows the page at the time of this writing, after it was revealed that the flag was bogus:

Although we don't know the motivations of this Tumblr user, it should be noted that the person claimed to be a CSA (child sexual assault) victim.

Pedophiles are not rebranding themselves as MAPs to gain entry to the LGBT community, nor did they release an official "MAPs Pride Flag." As we noted in our article about the homophobic and false rumor that a "P" for pedosexual was being added to the initialism LGBT, no link has been established between pedophilia and homosexuality:

An especially pernicious myth is that most adults who sexually abuse children are gay. A number of researchers have looked at this question to determine if homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals, and the data indicate that’s not the case.

For example, in a 1989 study led by Kurt Freund of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Canada, scientists showed pictures of children to adult gay and straight males, and measured sexual arousal. Homosexual men reacted no more strongly to pictures of male children than heterosexual men reacted to pictures of female children.

A 1994 study, led by Carole Jenny of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, surveyed 269 cases of children who were sexually molested by adults. In 82 percent of cases, the alleged offender was a heterosexual partner of a close relative of the child, the researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics. In only two out of 269 cases, the offender was identified as being gay or lesbian.


Herek, Gregory.   "Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation."     University of California Davis.   Retrieved 11 July 2018.

Kort, Joe.   "Homosexuality and Pedophila: The False Link."     Huffington Post.   5 October 2012.

Moskowitz, Clara.   "5 Myths About Gay People Debunked."     Live Science.   25 March 2011.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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