Hear, hear!! I refuse to refer to myself as a “sex offender.” That is language in the present tense. I have a federal possession conviction from nine years ago. Granted, what I did was wrong, stupid and happened to be unlawful.
I made your very point in my last group counseling session, remarking that, as a child, my mother never called me a bad boy. Rather, she told me my actions were bad. I was able to separate my actions from my self image. I refuse to let prosecutors, the courts or society force me to internalize the moniker, “sex offender.” Of course, I am subject to certain legal constraints due to my prior actions, which I accept, albeit while doing what I can to modify laws.
Incidentally, the woman running the group session responded by reminding me that I should not deny my actions. She missed the point entirely. Insinuations of denial or minimization seem to be the go-to response from counselors.