I would like to start off with a disclaimer, since this is a really sensitive subject.
1. I do not support child abuse in any way.
2. I am not attracted to "real children" in any way.
3. I do not feel loli/shota "glorifies" child abuse just like I don't feel furry porn encourages bestiality.
Now that that's out of the way...
I know this is a weird question to ask, considering anyone here who looks at Ciel yaoi is looking at shota. I'm pretty sure most of us have seen Ciel yaoi/shota at some point and there aren't any cops breaking our doors down. My concern comes from me wanting to draw shota, or get away with heavy sexual themes in doujinshi. If I so much as drew Sebastian kissing Ciel, if shota is illegal, I could get in trouble. Drawing it is more incriminating than looking at it, sadly. Especially if I actually want to share it or write doujinshi (I mean I don't really draw pictures just so I can hide them).
Yet a lot of SebastianxCiel doujinshi exists. It's all over the place and even hosted on American sites. I don't think anyone's ever gotten in trouble for anime-related shota/loli.
I did some reading and there are articles stating that "child porn" is illegal, "whether or not the characters involved are depictions of real people". You'd think because anime does not involve real children, it wouldn't even be remotely comparable to child abuse, but for some reason, at least 2 or 3 people in the US have gone to prison for drawing cartoon porn containing underage characters.
But I've had many people say that the chances of me actually getting in trouble for it is very unlikely, especially since it's the manga genre, where the age of a character is less clear by appearances (and not popular American cartoons). That being said, a person would have to read and understand Kuroshitsuji to know Ciel is underage, and I won't lie; it would be rather amusing to see people defend the sexual liberties of a fictional 13 year old boy in a courtroom.
Also if this IS actually illegal then a lot of us belong in jail right now for looking at shota, lol. I know a lot of you have done it, intentionally or not. xD I have pretty strong feelings that I'm in the clear but I was wondering if anyone else has researched this particular topic and verified the legality on this matter. Yes, I've had people say, "It's not hard to not draw it!" I get that. And I haven't drawn any. Yet. I will draw some if it turns out to be something I won't get in trouble for.
Additionally, some more specific descriptions of the laws involve "severity" as well as stating if the character is under the age of 12, so perhaps it only applies to prepubescent characters? Maybe I am in the clear since the Ciel I'm drawing is 13 or older, not younger. The laws also address "sadistic/masochistic abuse" which actually puts my doujinshi at risk because it's a medical horror... But then again, when I really think about it, even the actual Kuroshitsuji manga has some pretty hardcore stuff in it (when Ciel was being tortured by the cult). I'm pretty sure I'm in the clear and I've read manga involving youths that was even more harsh than that in English, published here in America.
I'm fairly certain I am in the clear (hence drawing my manga anyway) but I wanted to see if anyone has heard of anyone in the US getting nailed for drawing or possessing shota/loli.
Finally, I've had people say, "Well, if you're worried about it, is it worth the risk? Just don't draw it." The answer is I can't take an answer that vague. I want a solid answer instead of shying away from something that might be perfectly okay to draw. Especially since I don't really intend on drawing hardcore yaoi (but may want to eventually if it's legal?). I just want to learn as much about this as I can without consulting a lawyer or something lol.
I suppose my greatest fear is not getting in trouble now, but perhaps retroactively getting in trouble later if my art gets really popular years from now.