NAMBLA Press Release



PRESS RELEASE
October 14th, 2009

For Immediate Release

Contact: Arnold Schoen  at  arnoldschoen@yahoo.com
For more info:  www.nambla.org

Guilt By Association, Twice Removed

The rightwing media elements are at it again trying to discredit the current administration. One of the most recent attacks has been aimed at Kevin Jennings, the Safe Schools Czar nominee. Since it is no longer sufficient to smear someone merely by raising the specter of his homosexuality, they seek to portray him as a “pedophile” (or at least a “pedophile” sympathizer) because he praised and acknowledged inspiration from Harry Hay – who several times came to NAMBLA's defense. 

Harry was not a member of NAMBLA, but he spoke at quite a few NAMBLA events, and was vocal not merely against "banning" it from anything, but about demonstrating his understanding that man/boy love is as much as part of the homosexual heritage of Western civilization as any other form of male homosexuality. He spoke openly and lovingly of the relationships he himself initiated with older men when he was a youth struggling to understand himself and his feelings.

NAMBLA is often falsely portrayed in the media as an organization of “child molesters” in part because we have consistently and adamantly opposed age-of-consent laws. Of course, the media never seems to follow up with any questions about why we oppose them. We see age-of-consent laws operating in our society in much the same way as burquas function in fundamentalist Islamic societies – ostensibly to protect a group but ultimately to oppress it. We reject the notion that sexual love is so horrible that (in our case) men and boys must be kept firmly apart by the most dire methods.

At heart what we are talking about is the right to individual gay self-determination at whatever age. And if that means a 13-year-old boy wanting physical relations with a 29 or 92 year old man it is the boy's choice, not a therapist's or cop's.

It was this philosophy that won Harry's support. Much of his adult life was spent attempting to carve out a space where people could be free to explore their own natures in safety and support – first with the Mattachine Society and then with the Radical Faeries. As he put it at the end of the Mattachine Society's initiation pledge:

“We are sworn that no boy or girl, approaching the maelstrom of deviation, need make that crossing alone, afraid and in the dark, ever again. In these moments we dedicate ourselves once again to each other in the immense significance of such allegiance, with dignity and respect, proud and free.”

That effort to create such a safe place is, we suspect, what drew Mr. Jennings' praise for Harry Hay.

Mr. Jennings' stated admiration of Harry didn't single out any of the many admirable facets of his life – the founding of the Mattachine Society and the Radical Fairies, the labor organizing, his defense of native rights, his marriage and his fatherhood besides.

Had Mr. Jennings praised George Washington, would the rightwing media take this as proof that he was secretly a Freemason? Favored turning hippos into dentures? Supported the chopping down of cherry trees?

We don't know if Mr. Jennings supports us or not. We do know that he supports efforts to make schools places where gay kids and straight kids and kids who don't fit into either of those categories can go and not be bullied or harassed or made to feel like any less of a person – and that is a goal we too support.

North American Man/Boy Love Association
PO Box 174
Midtown Station
New York, NY 10018
212-631-1194
www.nambla.org

The North American Man/Boy Love Association works to educate society on the positive nature of freely chosen sexual and emotional relationships. We speak out against the oppression endured by men and boys who love one another and support the right of all people to consensual intergenerational relationships. Through-out most of Western history (and not only Western), man/boy love has been the primary form of homoeroticism, and it is this love for which NAMBLA stands.

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