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An Extraordinary Life:
A Few Pieces By, Or About, Tom Reeves; our Departed Founder:

 

NAMBLA Recollections: A Few Regrets, Much to Be Proud of
20th Anniversary edition, NAMBLA Bulletin, October 1999, Issue 20.2

by Tom Reeves

To put oneself in the mindset of 1978, when some of us set out - as we thought - to further liberate our own sexuality as lovers of boys by founding NAMBLA, is more difficult than can be imagined. It is almost as much an historical task as trying to imagine what it was like in Ancient Greece or China. As McLuhan and others have pointed out, change has greatly sped up. This is not only true of technological and general social change, but of changes in sexual values and practices sanctioned or banned by the elite, as well as the behaviors of ordinary people manipulated and repressed by that elite. For no-one has the change during these twenty-one years been more extreme than for us.

Back then, I was a self-identified lover of adolescent boys - an "identity" which I later learned had often been called "the pederast." I believed, based on experience and reading in literature and history (not to mention porn and the personal ads), that this "boy-love" - that is what I called it then - was part of the larger world of male homosexual relations. I should have guessed, perhaps, that it was not to be included in the new "gay community."

As I became an active sexual being in my teens, I found and was found by younger boys - 12 to 14 to my 15 to 18. It was wonderful and it had no name. We didn't speak about it, we just did it. In my early twenties, I was drawn to homosexual meeting places - parks, theaters, restrooms and eventually bars. Cut off from the younger partners of my school days, I cruised for sex in those homosexual places. Mostly I was soundly rejected by older teens and young men, even though I tried. Oh did I try!

As I have written before, it was a very "non-gay" place - a working class Baltimore neighborhood which I stumbled on - where I found that peculiar and wondrous bliss of men and boys loving one another with no "identity" attached. In short order I was overwhelmed by the young bodies and spirits of dozens of quite horny youth who also needed my affection and welcomed my radical pedagogy. Their rebellion in turn kindled my radicalism.

Jim Becker has pointed out to me that the pre-Stonewall overt homosexual reality thrived in such working-class contexts. Middle and upper class "fairies" visited working-class, often ethnic neighborhoods and found sex partners, but many of them denied it even to themselves, and their wives, since many were married. A few independently wealthy men recorded their sexuality and began the task of its defense. Other middle-class men accepted and celebrated their sexual desire, but kept deeply hidden for fear of blackmail. Most "out" queens were working-class or under-class, on the periphery, daring to be in the face of society - whether they were street drag queens like those who rioted at Stonewall, or they were truckers or soldiers and sailors, or rent-boys and boy-lovers.

That was certainly true of those I met in my early years. All queer sex was socially taboo, targeting those who flaunted or were caught in the act. Homosexual acts were not ferreted out and prosecuted in the extreme way sex with boys is today, and certainly not harped on to kids and adults alike. Mostly people looked the other way - they snickered; yes, sometimes (as they do still), they bashed. But there were not often life-sentences, no high-tech surveillance and monitoring, no life-time parole or registration. It is true that a few places, like California, implemented sex offender registration and penalized a lot of queers, as Harry Hay rightly pointed out, but the effectiveness and breadth of that experiment, though chilling, were nowhere near as great as what is going on now. It mostly hit the poor and working class queens who dared to be open, or those not willing to pay extortion money. Whatever happened, it affected men-lovers and boy-lovers alike.

After Stonewall, it was middle-class homosexuals who took up the standard, seeking their own freedom. Gay rights has been a very white, very middle-class, very urban movement. As the American mainstream/right-wing (for the American mainstream IS right-wing) reeled from the events of the sixties, including gays marching in the streets, the new "gay leaders" quickly betrayed those on the margins - especially poor and working class and black and Hispanic queens and boy-lovers. The long association of pederasty with general homosexual expression, art, literature and pornography was deliberately broken by these self-appointed middle class gay/lesbian leaders. Some just wanted acceptance so badly they panicked at the first straight attack on their assertion that "gays are just like straights, except for what they do in bed." Others were more interested in getting cushy corporate jobs or speculating in ghetto real estate than in anything approaching genuine liberation. Later on, this process of re-invention continued far beyond us. After the initial ecstasy of "sex is good" and "free love," AIDS nailed the coffin shut on most of that, and the gay/lesbian leaders began censoring publications and parades alike, to make the gay community a sort of Disneyfied family entertainment.

As Jim says, this didn't have to happen. It was not inevitable. A particular set of middle-class, white gay men and feminist lesbians made the calculated decision to cut the unwashed masses loose - henceforth, "gay" meant a sanitized, increasingly non-sexual, consenting-adults-only-in-private business, with prime concern focused on gay marriage or gays in the military and the Boy Scouts (but not actual sex in those venues, God forbid). Above all, it was an acceptable form of modern consumer society. They didn't have to sell us out - but they did, in order to sell the gay image as socially approved for the market. What Bill Andriette has called "brand identity" would replace the primeval, sweaty, sexy homosexual realities that had always been around. At least they hoped it would for the sake of their careers. So far they seem to be right.

As it happened, it was 1969 - the year of Stonewall - when boys first found me. I didn't know anything about the impending shift in the homosexual paradigm. I thought I saw my place in this glorious gay liberation movement - so kin to the civil rights and anti-war struggles I'd been part of. Traveling two years later to Boston in search of that movement, I joined FAG RAG, whose collective members saw something in my sexual expression which embodied their radical but playful vision. Over the next decade, I was involved with many new gay organizations: Gay Community News, Boston Area Gay & Lesbian Youth (BAGLY), Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), the Gay Liberation Front, and much later Act Up.

Meanwhile, I kept on meeting boys and loving them. I should have noticed this happened mostly outside the newly defined gay parameters - back in Baltimore or in other cities' gritty neighborhoods. I saw my activism and my sex with boys as parallel. They obviously were not. They overlapped, to be sure. I did pick up some boys in peep shows and restrooms where gay men cruised (until the good gays collaborated with police and closed most of those places). Only once did one of these boys become a "gay activist." He is the only boy out of hundreds I met and dozens with whom I established life-long relationships, who later rejected his homosexual behavior and faggot identity, and now views meeting me as unfortunate. The others include those who are exclusively homosexual, some bisexual, one or two exclusively heterosexual, and a few who now love boys themselves. They all feel good about what we did together back then. The sex was great and the love was real, but these did not come with an "identity."

When the tidal wave against "sex with children" began - nationally with Anita Bryant, locally in Boston with the "Revere Sex Ring" - activists like David Thorstad, Jim Becker and me naturally turned to our organizing skills and to the movement context where we'd been so active and largely successful. Those were heady days when we thought we were on the cutting edge of complete sexual/social revolution. We'd helped end a war and the draft. We'd supported Blacks in their civil rights crusade. Our "gay lib" approach was still trendy, and sexual freedom was on most young people's tongues - often literally. Straight boys were pretending to be gay because it was in, and everybody was trying everything. No wonder we had the guts to champion our own cause when it came time. We simply (and wrongly) believed that gay liberation meant sexual liberation for all queers, and who was more queer than we were?

In Boston it seemed to work! We created the most successful coalition of gay/lesbian groups in Boston's history (even till now) - the Boston/Boise Committee. We helped some thirty men escape prison sentences for accusations - some false, some real but based on consensual relations - of sex with boys. We organized rallies and forums that brought out hundreds of radical men and women. One of these drew Gore Vidal as a speaker and the Chief Justice of Massachusetts as an attendee - for which he was later impeached and ousted. Another was an Erotic Speakout that involved more women than men and successfully lobbied for the abolition of Boston's infamous Vice Squad. Our clout was so great we organized those arrested for public sex at the library. At one point we were approached by social workers at the sex offender treatment center (Bridgewater) to help them find housing, jobs and community support for released boy-lovers. The Mayor of Boston's gay liaison reached out to Boston-Boise, and briefly to NAMBLA itself. I'll never forget his asking me at a public meeting, "What are the needs of boy-lovers for space in a community center?" It's hard to imagine such things today, but they really happened.

NAMBLA was founded by a caucus after a conference on intergenerational sex organized in Boston in 1978 (and held at a radical church), to which a number of mainstream therapists and social workers came, as well as gay/lesbian leaders. It was mostly boy-lovers who planned the conference, and we were there in force. In those days we even brought along the boys. Wow! NAMBLA was the logical conclusion of our experience as radicals in liberation movements, the gay liberation movement in particular. It was just one more step toward complete liberation - we thought! I remember one argument at that caucus was how to be more inclusive than just U.S., since there were Canadians and a Puerto Rican present. I take the blame for coining NAMBLA, to allow us to organize the whole continent and its tributary islands! (I still like the name - it is part of the English language now. Maybe someday words like "nambling," "nambulatory," and other derivatives will describe positive man-boy-loving activities. Don't hold your breath!) The name was significant because we wanted to be up front about loving boys and we rejected classical Greek or euphemistic monikers.

There were no pedophiles in those days. Nor pederasts either. (I just found "pederast" in this computer's spell check, but not pedophile!) We were boy-lovers, and the boys among us were man-lovers - hence man/boy love included all of us. Actually, almost all of the organizers were lovers of adolescent boys, not children. I don't think many of us had thought about "pedophilia." When the issue came along, the radicals among us (myself included) wanted to be consistent: sex is good for anyone. We believed that sex itself was entirely a positive and revolutionary force - a view I no longer completely hold - so it must be good for children and other living things. As pederasts, we did not want to repeat what we saw as the error of gay men: selling out the most vulnerable. So we refused to draw an age of consent. I still agree with that in principle. But we were acting largely on theory, without practical knowledge. I certainly had no knowledge of the sexuality of young children. I didn't even like young children! (Now that I'm a grandfather - to the children of my adopted son and other foster sons -boys I met while cruising - I admit to loving even babies, though not sexually.)

These days a teenage boy is a child (except when he's very bad). And I am called a pedophile. I won't accept that. My love of adolescent boys is a different phenomenon from erotic attraction to pre-pubescent boys, and very different from heterosexual pedophilia. I know there is overlap and a gray area of age under 12, but intuitively I feel the difference. I will not condemn pedophiles to their unjust fate at the hands of a growing sexual tyranny - it now seems only the death penalty will eventually suffice - but I also will not allow them to confound my love with pedophilia or the sexual reality of adolescent boys with those of children of either gender.

Some have said NAMBLA should not have been founded. It became a lightning rod for sexual reactionaries. I disagree. First, the reactionaries were building before NAMBLA began and merely continued their steam-rolling - we may actually have slowed them down during the first couple of years. As noted above, the "gay/lesbian leaders" did not have to sell us out. Secondly, NAMBLA was and is needed in order to state the modern case for our love as one of the many universal and potentially constructive forms of sexual relations in all cultures and all ages. It is profoundly necessary for isolated lovers of boys. Recently I met a boy-lover (pederast), a bright and together young man in Canada. He told me that NAMBLA and our writings saved his life - he was at the point of suicide. "I found you by accident on the web. At university I read the theory - and now I am putting what you wrote into practice, and I am happy." (Of course he lives in a better place than those of us in the U.S. -his love, within bounds, is still possible there.) We have served that important function a thousand-times over. The more extreme the repression, the more necessary that work becomes.

Finally, NAMBLA was a logical extension of the general liberation movement of the late 1960s - way ahead of its time, to be sure, but had we not founded it in Boston, it would have been founded elsewhere. Under whatever name, it would by now be anathema to those who would establish the global sexual/social tyranny, the "New World Order." I think NAMBLA's survival through this holocaust is very important. It will serve as a beacon of real liberation and free consciousness when the onslaught is over - in twenty years, one hundred years - who knows?

Meanwhile, of course, things have gone the opposite direction from that which was supposed by myself and most of NAMBLA's founders. All sex with boys -and even with young men - is now considered the equivalent of violent rape. All boys and young men are now children. The draconian laws grow worse by the year. In Holland and Canada they are considering official black lists for "suspected" pedophiles (read anyone with interest in persons under the age of consent - slowly becoming a world-wide de facto age of eighteen). Such pariahs will be unable to get passports or work in education, healthcare and other professions where they might encounter a child or youth. Life-time civil commitment - permanent incarceration - is now a reality in many places. The Philippines has put to death two (actual and heterosexual) pedophiles. In the U.S., when a man is convicted of any sex with any boy under eighteen, he must register for life, face ridicule at best, vigilante violence at worst, and in some cases may have to wear a global positioning bracelet as a part of parole to keep him on a leash until he dies.

These and other measures are so extreme - yet civil libertarians and radicals are scarcely noticing. I am afraid we boy-lovers (pedophiles and pederasts alike) are just their pilot project before they try the real thing: total global tyranny, where everyone is monitored and under surveillance all the time. In Baltimore recently I saw the dozens of surveillance cameras on church steeples and rooftops, and watched helicopters shine bright lights on streets and up alleyways, to keep any boy from meeting any man. This in the neighborhood where boys and men once met so easily. Our innocent age is gone.

Maybe it won't come again. But I have the hope that boy lovers and boys alike are so resilient we will find a way. It was a boy darting from a side-street who showed me the cameras in Baltimore and boasted, "We're smarter than the pigs..." It didn't turn out that NAMBLA ushered in complete liberation. Instead, NAMBLA bucked (and has not yet buckled under to) the first wave of the most effective totalitarianism ever yet attempted.

I think NAMBLA and the case of man/boy love may yet help others realize the dangers of this repression. Out sexual reality has flourished in so many climes and eras - jungle gardening tribes of New Guinea, 19th century European slums and royalty, Islamic mystical circles, Japanese Samurai, Baden-Powell Boy Scout troops, Native American initiation rites, and of course ancient Greece, Rome, Persia and China, to name a few. Our love has been a part, albeit usually unnamed and hidden, of the fabric of most societies. I don't believe it can be snuffed out without snuffing out the human spirit itself. Hopefully, as canaries in the mine shaft, we'll not all die before the other species realize what's happening, overpower the mine managers and let everybody out to breathe fresh air again.

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Tom and others wrote the following statement/petition which was signed by a number of community activists and citizens in June 1998:

A Call to Safeguard Our Children and Our Liberties

This is the statement of an informal group of Boston-area educators, health workers, criminal justice workers and other community activists. This statement is circulated to individuals and organizations to initiate discussion, and for additional signatures. It is hoped that others will endorse this call, or will formulate their own statement, tailored to their own communities.

As people concerned about children's welfare and a just society, we speak out against the troubling direction of current campaigns to protect children from vaguely defined sexual dangers by criminalizing and scapegoating a wide range of people and behaviors. These approaches often ignore the realities of childhood and adolescent sexuality and they sometimes equate affection with violence. They distract us from the problem of far more serious forms of violence against children and young people. They erode essential freedoms for everyone. Current hysteria is so pervasive that anyone who suggests a more thoughtful discussion risks being branded a child abuser. To truly protect children as well as empower them to be themselves, and to protect a free society, we insist on a more sensible and compassionate approach.

* Most child abuse has nothing to do with sex. It is important to speak out against true sexual abuse, which has so often remained hidden and denied within families and communities. However, non-sexual violence and murder of children is as pervasive as sexual violence. Poverty, malnutrition, ethnic discrimination, poor education, and inadequate health care are all forms of abuse that threaten millions of young people in our affluent nation. Yet there is no national commitment to halt these deadly and more pervasive forms of harm to children. Instead, our attention is riveted by any case involving sex.

* Recent child sex abuse campaigns make little or no distinction among diverse behaviors and circumstances. Any sex equals violence, and seventeen-year-olds are 'children.' The brutal rape of a six-year-old girl by her father; uncoerced sexual relations between a fourteen-year-old boy and a thirty-year-old woman; an affair between an eighteen-year-old boy and a sixteen-year-old girl: these are clearly very different cases, yet they are all portrayed as rape under the law and in the media. We do not believe that affectionate, mutual sexual expression is the same as violent rape. To equate them is to trivialize rape. Furthermore, in sex cases involving children, hard evidence seems unnecessary: the allegation suffices. It also seems odd that we speak of older and older youth as children in need of protection from sex abuse, but consider younger and younger children to be adults when accused of crimes.

* Demonizing any class of people as devoid of humanity and beyond redemption is wrong. Laws now brand any transgressor of under-age sex rules as a 'sexual predator,' even when no violence or force is alleged, and even when the young person is a month or a day shy of the legal age of consent. In addition, society's fears and hatred of homosexuality often leads to a scapegoating of gay people, falsely stereotyping them as child molesters. Demonization is destructive even when applied to truly violent offenders. Those who commit sexually violent crimes do not come out of a vacuum. They come out of our communities and families. The message conveyed is that the main danger to children is the stranger about to pounce on them, the pedophile whom we can expose and stigmatize. Yet most sexual contact between adults and minors is among family and friends. To view dangerous offenders as totally 'other' than us prevents getting to the roots of such crimes. Permanent stigmatization not only makes impossible re-integration into society of those who are rehabilitated, it signals a breakdown in civil society.

* "Protect the children" has been a battle cry to expand coercive state power and imprisonment. The past two decades have seen many new forms of state repression in the name of protecting children: There are sweeping new censorship laws; registries to track people for life and expose them to public ridicule; civil commitment to incarcerate those not convicted of a crime but deemed 'dangerous;' life-time parole for sex offenders in some states; and mandatory life sentences without parole for second offenses; thought police empowered to monitor those imprisoned, on parole or under 'civil detention' with mandatory lie detector tests and aversive therapy in some jurisdictions; mandatory reporting laws that turn doctors and therapists into agents of the state; prohibitions against freedom of association; and extra territoriality -- allowing prosecution of citizens for behavior outside the state or nation, even when that behavior is legal in the other jurisdiction. These assaults on civil liberties have befallen us because so few have been willing to risk being seen as 'soft on child molesters.' We hold that civil liberties are indivisible. We argue that longer sentences, harsher treatment in prison or calls for the death penalty merely escalate and perpetuate the violence. Repressive state powers cannot be neatly applied only to 'bad' people. They threaten us all.

* The power and capriciousness of the laws and attitudes wrought by these campaigns have put up a destructive barrier between adults and children. Currently, caring adults may reasonably fear that any affection will be branded as abuse. This fear means that adults -- whether parents, teachers or strangers -- often withhold that which all kids need most: affectionate, respectful attention.

The real challenge is to support and expand programs for children and youth which develop caring, loving, thoughtful, whole human beings. Among these are day care, after-school care, sex positive sex education, and better training and pay for those who work with children. The aim of all these programs should be to empower young people to learn to make their own decisions about their lives. Children and youth need to view themselves not as potential victims, but as part of a community which supports and nurtures them, encouraging them to speak up and act responsibly on their own beliefs. We want children to love life, not fear it. If this is to happen, there must be adults courageous enough to demand an honest and constructive approach to sex and youth and to call for an end to the prevailing hysteria. Only then will we be able to safeguard the liberties we all need to develop fully.

SIGNED: Dr. Richard Pillard, psychiatrist; Paul Shannon, educator; Cathy Hoffman, peace activist; Chris Tilly, economics professor; Marie Kennedy, community planning professor; Eric Entemann, mathematics professor; Tom Reeves, social science professor; Bob Chatelle, writer & anti-censorship activist; and Jim D'Entremont, playwright & anti-censorship activist; Ann Kotell, health worker; Carol Thomas, social justice and religious activist; French Wall and Bill Andriette, gay writers and editors; Nancy Ryan, feminist activist; Reebee Garofalo, popular culture professor; Dianne McLaughlin, community & criminal justice worker; John Miller, economics professor; Molly Mead, urban social planning professor; John MacDougall, sociology professor; Laurie Dougherty, social science researcher & editor; Monty Neill, educator & political activist; Rev. Margaret Hougen & Rev. Edward Hougen; Roswitha and Ernest Winsor, criminal justice advocates; Paula Westberg, teacher; Rosalyn Baxandall, American Studies professor & community activist (New York); Chris Vance, bisexual youth & education worker; Mark Salzer, teacher & political activist; Barry Phillips, educator; Clark Taylor, Latin American studies; Sarah Bartlett, educator; Rachelle Simon, incest survivor; Noel Rosenberg, computer support tech; Adolph Reed, political science professor (New York); Rev. David Olson; Phillip Kassel, civil rights attorney; Jim Hunter, social worker (Maine); Howard Zinn, historian & activist; Ruth Hubbard, educator & women's health activist; Jenifer Firestone, gay family activist; Chip Berlet, researcher & journalist; Michael Bronski, writer & gay activist; Horace Seldon, anti-racism educator; Jamie Suarez-Potts & Kazi Toure, Criminal Justice Program, American Friends Service Committee (Cambridge); and others.

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Army of Lovers: interview with Tom Reeves by Rosa von Praunheim

Interview taken from the 1979 film "Armee der Liebenden oder Aufstand der Perversen" by German gay film-maker Rosa von Praunheim

A selection of interviews were printed in his book "Army of Lovers" published by Trikont Verlag in 1979, with an English translation published by Gay Men's Press in 1980.

Introduction (by Rosa von Praunheim)

And so to Boston, where we were confronted with radical paedophiles, and I was glad for the first time to get to understand their problems and needs. Tom Reeves is a lecturer in contemporary history at a black college in Boston, and a spokesperson for the Boston/Boise Committee, set up to campaign for the rights of paedophiles. Tom is a fantastic man. His warmth and humanity make him an honest and convincing fighter. He is in no way a dirty old man who has to get boys into bed by some kind of trick, as the fairy-tales say and the press repeats in a million copies. Children and adolescents have a right to their sexuality. In most cases it is children who try to seduce older people, and not the other way round. Boys have a natural need to express themselves sexually. And it is heterosexuals, not gays, who torment, beat and kill children, including their own.

Tom Reeves was one of the first people to come out as a paedophile. He is not ashamed and doesn't conceal himself, although the State of Massachusetts has the highest penalties for sex with minors. Tom lives in a working-class district of Boston with his lover and several boys. He wants to make all teenagers who grow up in a repressive authoritarian family aware of their sexuality, to show them that they have more varied and freer options in life than just the one-sided, robot-like family.

Tom and the Boston/Boise Committee were campaigning for the rights of 24 men who were arrested near Boston in a so-called sex ring. They were accused of having raped children. The press alleged that children of nine years old were involved, which was a complete lie. The children were 14 and 15, and in some cases loved the men involved. For the first time in the history of the gay movement it became possible for the men accused not to confess to their alleged crime in a shamefaced way, but to plead innocent, defend themselves against the charges and struggle for a change in the law. It is not just the gay men's groups in Boston who support the struggle of the paedophiles; so do lesbians and some heterosexual groups. This is quite amazing, for generally paedophiles are a minority in the gay movement who are even discriminated against by other gays. The idea is that it is necessary to be particularly diplomatic and behave nicely. Tom Reeves has a different view. He says we must struggle quite radically for all the rights that gay people need to guarantee us a more human and freer life in future. Interview

RvP: How did you first get interested in boys? Was it too long ago to remember?

TR: My very first sexual experience was when I was about 13, with another 13-year-old. He took me unawares when we were playing football, and after the game he kissed me right on the mouth and I liked that very much. I was very well aware from then on. But first of all, of course, I thought, what's wrong with me, and tried to be heterosexual. I even attempted to get married. I was engaged, and involved in all that. But I knew that I didn't really have the feeling for it. And then in Germany, in Berlin, I finally said to myself, 'I am gay'. I tried the bars and all that, then I visited the 'Keller'. That is a club that still exists. Somehow I found myself sitting in the bar, and quite alone. I didn't get to know anyone, and didn't understand what was wrong with me. I wasn't heterosexual, but I also wasn't happy as a homosexual. In Germany I found a couple of boys, in the park and around, 15 or 16 years old, and that was tremendous fun. But in the bars and clubs, on the gay scene, I didn't find anything. Then when I was back in America, and working every day as a professor at the American University in Washington DC, I went to a funeral in Baltimore and quite by chance saw a couple of youngsters there. They were sitting in the street and made an approach to me. At first I was worried, I thought they might be thieves. But they wanted to have sex with me, and that surprised me and was also very enjoyable. Naturally I went back to that district and got to know many boys. And then it turned out that the whole district is a kind of 'boys' club', where all boys regularly...

RvP: But not a club, a district?

TR: Yes, a district, a neighbourhood - the whole neighbourhood. No, no bars or anything, just on the street, and after a couple of months I got to know one particular kid called Rickey. At that time he was 13 years old. When I was that age I didn't know anything about sex, and it surprised me that someone so young could have had so much experience. It really was him who seduced me. And I really loved him. Then we were together - how long was it? - we were together for four years. He lived with me. His mother knew all about it, I spoke to her and she was completely ok about it. She said, it's better he goes with you than with someone who's not so good. She was quite happy, and everything was fine. And then I also got to know his elder and his younger brothers, and they were all the same. And all of his friends in the neighbourhood. In that district alone, I slept with perhaps 40 or 50 boys.

RvP: How do you explain that? Do you mean that all the kids in the district were homosexual or was that just a stage they went through at puberty?

TR: Perhaps it was neither a stage, nor were they gay in that particular sense of the gay movement. I think that there is that phenomenon in some areas, that all young boys have sexual and other relationships with older men, and then later, when they themselves are older, they have various relationships with younger boys.

RvP: But they get .......

TR: They get married and have kids. It's that kind of phenomenon. It's neither a phase, nor...

RvP: Is it connected with bisexuality?

TR: No, it's not bisexuality either. I think there are too few words in the gay movement for all these different things. And I think it's some-thing particular. It's often in really working class districts, where the Catholic church is very strong. The church also forbids hetero-sexuality, but that makes no difference. The boys also have sex with girls. It isn't as if they can't have sex with girls. Right across the United States there are areas where you come across this pheno-menon of boy-love.

RvP: Do you think the parents often know what their children are doing?

TR: Oh, yes. Not often, almost always. I've spoken to lots of mothers, and fathers too. Many fathers have also had sex with boys. Rickey, for example. His father, a few years later - this is also very typical for these areas, that after a while, perhaps after eight or ten years, the men move out and live by themselves, but round the comer somewhere, in an apartment. And then they also have sex with the boys in the neighbourhood. Rickey's father has been to bed with all of Rickey's friends. And even his grandfather, too, was a boylover. And Rickey - Rickey is now grown up, of course, he's now 25. Because he got to know me, he found out that there is a gay move-ment and a gay world. Otherwise he wouldn't have known about it, or only read about it or seen it. Through me, he found out that there was this gay movement, and because of that I think Rickey is now completely gay and lives together with his lover and is quite open with his mother, and the whole district knows that, and he is quite open as a grown-up gay.

RvP: You said that this happens particularly in working class towns. Why do you think that is?

TR: I think it's got to do with class consciousness, that's what I believe. That isn't just a theory. I somehow believe that this boylove has got something to do with rebellion, something to do with alienation.

RvP: When you say alienation and class consciousness, do you mean that gay workers are freer, that the middle class constructs more rules?

TR: That is what I mean. I'm also from a working class family. We have sex much earlier, and remember it, and because we can think about it and understand it sooner than the middle and upper classes, and also because there is far more sexuality, many different kinds of sexuality are accepted, without talking about it or emphasising it. It's just natural and accepted like that.

RvP: How have you found it here, in Boston?

TR: I came here, and immediately discovered that there are certain comers, for example this park at weekends, where several boys hang out, all waiting for older men. This doesn't mean they want money, like happens elsewhere, they just want to have sex and some kind of relationship with an older man. It's not at all dangerous here, in another way too. In some neighbourhoods and districts in America you can see a group of young kids and straight away you're afraid you'll get beaten up. But in districts like this, they just nod at you, quite friendly. But I must say that I think this whole thing with relationships between grown-ups and young boys has a political significance, at least in our society, an ethical significance of inde-pendence and self-discovery and autonomy.

RvP: But what do you think attracts you so much about boys, and what do you think attracts boys about grown-ups, both sexually and in a human sense?

TR: Well, I must of course speak from my own experience. There are other kinds of 'boylove', for example classical pederasty, that's something quite different. But in this sense, what I like is having a relationship with a kid, with a boy, whether it's sexual or not. He's not a child any more. He has the potential to be a mature person, he has all possibilities. But he has not yet chosen to get involved in society, and that's why it's refreshing and very stimulating and revolutionary. Just at that time he has the choice, the possibility of making a choice, but he has not yet made a decision, and there is something still revolutionary and humanist in that possibility, which has disappeared for 99 per cent of grown-ups. That's really the most important thing for me.

RvP: That's more important than the sexual side?

TR: Oh, of course. Sex comes into that, sex is a part of it, and only a part. Very often the kid approaches me, very often they make the first move, and I think for these kids I am something unusual, be-cause I refuse to be fully grown up. My life is not like the life of a grown-up, in the sense that I take on these responsibilities, that I mustn't do this or that, because I've got this important job, I've got this obligation, and so on. No. I've rejected that. It seems like I'll always be a child, but on the other hand I am grown-up and so I do have experience that is important for these kids and can help them, and perhaps even educate them in passing. But precisely not as an official educator. I join in, like a boy.

RvP: You mean, not so authoritarian, not so compulsive. What would you say is the dividing line, when someone becomes grown-up?

TR: There isn't really a dividing line. A boy has this potential, this moment of freedom, when he's no longer a child, and before he has completely decided to be grown-up, and this moment sometimes begins around the age of eleven, though that's unusual. Generally with 13 or 14. But it can be as young as ten. Today, for example, we were talking with kids who already got into this moment of freedom at eight years old. But more usually it comes with puberty. And the division at the other side - at present I've been having a relationship with my lover for almost six years, he's 27, but for me he's still a boy. He's not grown up. He doesn't want to take on these important responsibilities, and so on, and so he really irritates a lot of grown-ups, because he's not grown-up enough for a 27-year-old. But for me it's wonderful that he still has this freedom, this freshness, this life in him, this vitality. So there aren't any limits. Generally 13 to 19, but you can't say for definite. It could be 11 and it could be 80.

RvP: How do you see the legal situation? Do you want to see the laws changed?

TR: Yes. For me as an anarchist, the state has nothing to do with such ethical things, at least it shouldn't have, sexual and ethical decisions should be free decisions. People must decide freely for themselves, and that applies to everyone, children as well as adults. Otherwise we can never be genuine individuals. That's why there shouldn't be any laws about such things. This has a lot to do with community. If someone said, how can we protect children, if there aren't any laws?, then I'd reply that in America every year a million children are injured by their parents, so that the law doesn't protect them from their parents. I think that community is the answer. We must try and organise the whole society in such a way as to promote more humane and more individual relationships. The community would not allow a child to be injured, either mentally or physically or sexually. Naturally I'm against any kind of injury to children, whether sexual or violent or anything else. I think we are in a position to build such a community, a community of trust, solidarity and equality, in which it will be impossible to injure children. All these laws simply create more problems and more injuries to everyone, children and men and women. Everything is criminalised, and in this way relation-ships are criminalised.

RvP: How do you see the situation if force is used, like if men rape children or someone has sex with a five- or six-year-old, where the child really doesn't have any choice?

TR: I'm against it. I'm against sex, if the child really doesn't have any choice. But I'm not certain what choice means, and when someone really begins to be able to choose. I think that this whole area needs far more investigation. I'm not sure. It's clear to me that 13-, 14-, l5-year-old girls and boys already know what they want and that they can choose, of that I'm convinced. Of course that doesn't apply to every single situation. I think one has always got to ask what is ethical, what is human.

RvP: But now you're speaking for yourself that you have a certain morality.

TR: But it's not just an individual morality, it's got to do with class consciousness, with politics, with social relations, and so on.

RvP: But the society says that there are very many individuals who don 't have any morality in that sense, but exploit other people. In other words, they have sex with children, and don't have any morality about it.

TR: That's a kind of circle, when people say, there are these individuals, so let's make laws, and then the laws create more dangers and more individuals like that. There's no end to it. I think we must try to-gether to build a society in which all of our genuine inner feelings can be expressed. My belief is that all men and women, i.e. all people, have the capacity for a co-operative life. Marx said the same. I don't share the view of the Christians and Jews that man is really a sinner. I don't agree with them at all.

RvP: This is a good point to speak of your family. You said that you had your family here in Boston.

TR: Yes, my own family. I don't mean my parents.

RvP: How does that work out? How do you live together with your kids?

TR: First of all, I do now have a real son. I adopted him. He came to me when he was 13. Actually he was still 12, but then he was 13. Now he's 19. We've been together for six years. We live together with my lover, who's 27, and we've been together for many years. We are a family, also with our dog and our cat and so on. We've been every-where together.

RvP: And do you all have sex together?

TR: We have had. But that's not very central for our relationship. For example I now only have sex with Kenny very rarely. And generally, I've always been of the opinion that I only want to have sex with a boy if he wants to. I don't impose any demands. With Kenny it's rare. But it happens.

RvP: You mean that you don't have any exclusive relationships?

TR: No, not at all.

RvP: But you have sex with different kids.

TR: Yes. And also with older men. I've even had sex with a person of 80, sure. I don't just have sex with 13-year-olds. But this 80-year-old is still young in his mind, still a boy, because he also hasn't accepted society.

RvP: How is it with your job? You're a professor at a college ...

TR: Yes, in political science and history.

RvP: Have you ever had difficulties at your college for being openly homosexual, openly committed as a boylover?

TR: No, not this year. In fact it was really only this year that I came out quite openly as a boylover. I've been openly gay for years, but as a boylover, that was another step, since that is strictly forbidden and a taboo and so on. In December last year I published an article and said quite openly that I slept with kids. This led to a controversy, and some people in the college said, that's dreadful, we should expel him, and they held a meeting with 400 people, and I had to explain why I was gay and why I slept with boys, and that was quite good. It really was an education for everyone. And after that, 80 to 90 per cent of the students, and 99 per cent of my colleagues, said, yes, he's a good teacher, and we don't care who he sleeps with.

RvP: What is your response to what Anita Bryant says about recruiting?

TR: I think the gay movement has said that we do not recruit children and we are not interested in adolescents. Well, I am interested in recruiting teenagers. I am interested in recruiting every gay teenager who is out there. I want him to know he is gay. I want him to be proud of it as soon as possible, as early as possible, because of all the pain and suffering that kids go through that makes their lives fucked up from then on. I think a teenager can know and be aware of his sexuality when he is 13. And it is so much more easy for him, and his whole life fits better for him, than if he has to painfully struggle and find out when he is in his twenties. Also, I am very happy to say that I recruit people away from the middle-class, uptight, violent family, from creating more of those. And that does not mean that a boy would necessarily be exclusively homosexual, but that he simply would not want to reproduce exactly the robot kind of family he grew up and was unhappy in. I would like to see that disappear and new forms of relationships emerge. I would like to see everybody rebel against that. So it is a lie. We do not want to recruit in that sense.

RvP: You also said, about your house and your family, that the neighbours don't say anything. The only thing was when a black person...

TR: We live in a working-class, Irish neighbourhood, primarily. That is one of the Irish boys standing over there, who is gay, but he can't be openly gay in the neighbourhood. We have not flaunted our gayness, but at the same time we have been ourselves. And certainly it is clear to our neighbours that we have boys here constantly. All of our neighbours know that. I think the neighbours are very aware, and I have been on television. I said 'boylover' openly. They have all seen it. Some of the teenage neighbourhood girls told me that they have seen me on television, but we have never had any difficulty. It was only when a black, West Indian, woman friend of mine visited us here in the house that we had our first real harassment from the neighbours, so that the racist issue seems to be more of a problem here among this working-class neighbourhood than boylove. In some ways I think boylove is more acceptable in a working class neighbourhood than, say, effeminate homosexuals or camp homo-sexuals or people who go in for style. But even with the black thing, and even with our being gay openly, the majority of our neighbours are still very friendly. And the two elderly women next door who were questioned by police and were asked if they saw anything unusual or suspicious going on, described us as nice young men who had helped them and who were good neighbours. I think it is possible to live openly.

RvP: Could you tell us about the Revere court cases? How you got involved, etc., how it happened?

TR: Well, last December right here in the house about eight of us who put out the magazine Fag Rag, which is a radical, anarchist, gay pub-lication, were reading in the newspaper about 24 men who had been arrested in this supposed child-molestation ring. And also the police had established a hotline, and they were asking for any citizen to call in tips of suspicious sexual activity among men and boys. And this seemed to us to be a witch-hunt. So we investigated the cases and found out much of what was said in the papers was untrue. They had said that these men had raped eight-year-old children. First of all, there were no eight-year-olds involved. It was all lies. There were 14. and 15- year-olds involved. And in fact most of the cases had occurred years before and no one had been raped. But in the State of Massachusetts rape for a person under 18 could include just simple kissing. If I kiss a 15-year-old boy, I rape him in the eyes of the law, even if he consents. We found out that there were many lies. The original headlines had these men being pornographers when there was no pornography at all involved. So we formed a committee to protect the rights of the men who had been accused of child molestation. And we had a demonstration. We marched angrily into the District Attorney's office and demanded an end to the hotline. In court he voluntarily withdrew the hotline rather than go through our suit, so we were successful. We stopped him. And it was the first time in history, I think in the United States at least, that a large group of men openly demonstrated for the rights of men accused of sex with boys. In a sense it was like a demonstration for gay people in the 1940s. We were out there demonstrating for the rights of men and boys to have sex and not to be harassed by the police.

Then we began to organise the gay community around this issue. I think the real important story is that we, a group of radical faggots and boylovers, have gotten virtually the whole Boston community behind us - all of the gay groups, the lesbian groups, women's groups and many of the straight organisations are behind us - to the point where we can finally have meetings of nearly 2000 people, including Gore Vidal and other writers. And of course it was in that respect that the chief justice of the Massachusetts supreme court visited one of our meetings and was, within a week, suspended from the bench, for coming to our meeting. I think the other thing that is so significant is that in the whole history of the State of Massachusetts, there has never been a case where men have been accused of raping boys under 18, when they have not either been in jail within six months or they have pled guilty to lesser crimes and then been put into mental hospital as sexually dangerous persons. Here we are, six months after the fact, and not one of the 24 men has pled guilty to anything. They are all standing for their rights. This is something new. And none of them are in jail. So this is very significant. I think the last thing that has to be mentioned is that Massachusetts has the most severe penalties in the United States for sex between men and boys. So that for each case of simply kissing or touching a 15-year-old, you can receive life in prison. For instance the man who is going to be tried first in this case is accused of having sex four times with the same boy over two and a half years. He is conceivably going to receive four consecutive life sentences, which means he could literally never get out of prison.

RvP: How old was the boy?

TR: The boy was 14 to 16 at the time of the alleged incidents.

RvP: What do you think will happen in the court case? Do you think there is a good chance of avoiding a long term?

TR: Each of the 24 cases is so different . . . But there was no force or violence in any of these cases. The police have said this. Not even any drugs, no manipulation, no coercion. In at least 15 of the cases all that was involved was affectional sex between one man and one boy, not involving money. And I think in some of the cases where it was just a man and a boy, many of the boys have told us, and even made signed statements under oath, that they were forced, harassed and coerced by the police. They were threatened with arrest for prostitution. They were threatened with exposure. And several of the boys have told us they love the men who supposedly raped them. We had the most extreme thing happen. One of the boys who is now 16 heard about our meetings and came to one of the meet-ings, one of the boys who was allegedly raped. And at the same meeting, the man who allegedly raped him also came. They did not know each other was coming. They saw each other at the meeting and the boy ran over, threw his arms around his alleged rapist and kissed him. And yet the same man could go to jail for life for the sex that he had with that boy. So for cases like that man, I think we have a very good chance, for the first time, of beating some of these cases, of these men going free. It is at least possible.

RvP: Do you think the courts and the police are actually very much aware that there is a group who are fighting for these men? And are they much more careful now?

TR: Oh yes. Absolutely! And the media, the press and the television are more and more careful. They are still homophobic, they still make mistakes. But the difference between what they were saying in December and what they are now saying is extreme. They were saying anything. They were calling those men rapists and child pornographers and everything in the book. And now they are very careful with their words. The District Attorney's office was wanting to get these trials over with quickly because they wanted to have big publicity. Now the District Attorney's office is trying to postpone the trials. That, to us, says the DA now believes they are going to be harmful to him rather than helpful. He is running for re-election. He is 81 years old. He has been DA here for 25 years. Prior to that he was assistant DA for another 30 years. So this man is obviously doing this for his own good. And now suddenly he has found out it is not to his own good Political analysts in the city say that this issue, the issue of these men and these boys, may be the issue that finally gets rid of this man who has been DA and assistant DA for over a half-century. This is not the first case like this. Every election year he comes up with some kind of sex ring. The same DA was the man who prosecuted the black doctor in the most famous abortion trial in America about four years ago. It was this same DA who banned a series of books and musicals and other things in Boston, that gave Boston the famous 'banned in Boston' title. One of the things he did not allow the people of Boston to see was the musical Hair, which has appeared all over the world. Bostonians were never able to see that because DA Burn banned it in Boston. And so over the years he has done this. This is perhaps going to be the first time that it has back.fi red. And he may be actually defeated this year.

RvP: What exactly are the sodomy laws in Massachusetts?

TR: In these cases, if it is with a girl under 16, then if it is to be called rape, it has to be proved there was penetration. But if it is a boy, you can be charged with what is called 'rape and abuse of a child'. That means if you did anything sexual, including just kissing the boy. And it is automatically rape if the boy is under 18, whether there was consent or not. Now, that is one set of laws. Another set of laws says any kind of sexual behaviour in a public place is lewd and lascivious behaviour, and you can be charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour with a child or with a person under 18. The rape law carries life sentence. The lewd and lascivious law carries sen-tences of up to 15 years.

RvP: How about homosexuality?

TR: Homosexuality, as such, is still illegal in terms of the law, but the supreme court of this State has said that homosexual acts among consenting adults will not be prosecuted, if the acts took place in private. However there are so many other laws on the books through which adult homosexuals can be persecuted. For instance, shortly after these cases, over 100 men were entrapped and arrested at the public library in Boston, under a law in Massachusetts which says that if a person asks you to have sex in a public place and you accept the request, it is illegal, even if you say you want to do it at home in private. So the police can come up to you without a uniform and say 'Do you want to go home with me and have sex?'. If you say yes in a public place, that is a punishable crime.

RvP: So that was entrapment?

TR: Yes, there were 101 of these cases in the Boston public library.

RvP: At once?

TR: Yes, within one week. Not 101 at one moment, but within a week. All entrapped! In addition, about 20 of the cases are still pending. About 30 or 40 of the cases pled guilty. About ten were found guilty. And the remainder of the cases were found to be innocent. A number of the cases were tried in court and found to be innocent. We believe there is a real witch-hunt going on in Boston against homosexuals. And it is part of the whole Anita Bryant campaign. It is going to happen all over the United States, we believe, and I think possibly all over the world nowadays. And the fact is, since Christ-mas, that is six months, over 300 men have been arrested and face trials just in Boston. And that is the most in recent history in Boston, and it is the most in any city in the United States. So we consider that an all-out war against homosexuals in the city.

You realise actually right now that the three of us could be probably brought up on rape charges? Even you! At least with 'intent to rape'. I forgot to mention that. For intent to rape in the State, all you have to establish is the likelihood that someone intended to rape someone or intended to have sex. You can get up to 15 years in prison just for thinking about it. In other words, if it seems you intended to have sex with him, then that is up to 15 years.

1980 Gay Men's Press

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NAMBLA's Third Conference, PAN Magazine, 04 February, 1980

BALTIMORE, U.S.A. The third conference by the North American Man/Boy Love Association was held here on 13 October in the World Trading Center. The Baltimore Gay Alliance was host later to a dance. About 75 men and boys from 20 states and Canada attended (by invitation only). Dr. Thomas Reeves of the Boston/Boise Committee opened the conference with a talk on "Ethics of Man/Boy Relationships", staking out a much more radical position with respect to contemporary society than have such previous commentators as Den Nichols, whom he criticised for attempting to help youths adjust to American life as it is. "The core of our identity must be unashamed love of boys as boys," Reeves said. "The authentic boy-love identity is not apologetic, does not view sex as temptation, and does not see the need for therapy or 'help' of any kind to reform or modify his sexuality. Love of boys as they are rules out any attempt to mould boys into what society expects of 'adults', and certainly not into 'normal' heterosexual men." In other action, the group established a Defense Fund to be used helping men and boys arrested for non-coercive sex and voted to select the case of Richard Peluso, now serving a life sentence for sex with a minor in Massachusetts, for its first effort. The next day, Sunday, 14 October, 50 men and boys marched under the NAMBLA banner in the gay march on Washington.

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Massachusetts' Bridgewater Treatment Center, PAN Magazine, 08 April 1981

BOSTON, USA Tom Reeves, of Boston/Boise Committee fame, North American Man/Boy Love Association and Gay Community News have taken on no less formidable a presence than the Massachusetts "correctional" authorities in an attempt to get men convicted of having had consensual sex with boys set free. Last December Reeves wrote a touching article in Gay Community News about some of the men incarcerated in the infamous Bridgewater Treatment Center. There "sexually dangerous persons" are held "from one year to life", which means until they convince some prison psychiatrist that they are no longer likely to do the "sexually dangerous" thing which got them in trouble in the first place. Reeves also spoke with two of these psychiatrists. At first one of them claimed almost none of the "patients" at Bridgewater were convicted of non-violent sex with boys. When Reeves said he knew of at least 25 such people locked up in Bridgewater and forgotten, possibly forever, the psychiatrist said, "You know, we never really think about that. If it's with a boy under 16, the law says it's rape. So we don't distinguish." Some psychiatrist! The main thrust of NAMBLA's efforts is to get Richard Peluso, the fall guy in the Revere scandal and in Bridgewater for several lifetimes, re-tried. Prison officials have seized films from visiting NAMBLA officials and tried to stop the first-ever demonstration outside an American prison to pressure officials to cease locking up men who have mutually consensual sex with kids. They have had some success in the Peluso matter. The courts agreed at least to hear his re-trial motion and to review his status as a "sexually dangerous person".

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TRASHING THE PARTY OF THE NUTTY NURSE, Gay Community News,
13 December, 20 December, 1980, 3 January, 10 January, 1981

One could write volumes about victimology. A likely candidate can be anybody with what he thinks is a disadvantage -- a Jew, a black, a gay, a boy-lover. Once he has identified himself as vulnerable there are a hundred bullies eager and ready to turn him into a victim. And they have the tracts to justify it: Mein Kampf, the Epistles of St. Paul, laws in the penal codes, even the unending stream of prurient "exposes" in gutter journals too numerous and well-known to mention.

A good case can be made for civilisation advancing only when victims stop being victims and turn on their bullies. People might feel sorry for the hundreds of thousands of Middle-Age Catherists who went to their firey deaths as the priests of Rome danced about them clutching bible and cross -- but the Catherists didn't leave much behind them. It would seem to be no coincidence that anti-semitism in the Western world didn't diminish one iota as the world learned of the Warsaw ghetto and the torture/extermination camps -- but it did after Israel was established and, for better or worse, showed a national aggressiveness the Jews had never been thought to possess.

It might seem that we spend a lot of time in these pages talking about Boston - and that Massachusetts paedophiles are subject to an unusual amount of victimization. This is only because we hear about it. (Does a stone cast in a pond really make a noise if it is unheard? Does a boy-lover screaming the truth in some police cellar, abandoned by friends, abandoned by gays and other boy-lovers, really make a noise either?) In this one medium-sized American city there is a small group of people who refuse to let the bullies get away with everything they want. These men are very much out of the closet. They are excellent at getting attention in the press, over the radio, even on TV. And the authorities have left them alone.

Their latest success was trashing the "Nutty Nurse" caper. It seems that Boston University has a rather nasty nursing dean by the name of Ann Burgess ("the living image of Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," according to Tom Reeves) who somehow inveigled $50,000 out of the US government to "rehabilitate" children photographed by paedophiles. No sooner was the cash in hand than she put on a wing-ding party (excuse us, a conference) -- and invited a fine cast of bullies to participate. There was Lloyd Martin, of course, as the keynote speaker at the celebratory banquet. The affair was to begin in the morning of 12 March at 9 am in the Curtis Auditorium of the Boston University School of Nursing. The nutty nurse herself would kick off with a one-hour presentation called Linkages Among Child Victimization: Prostitution and Pornography (evidently grammar was not one of the required subjects in her education). This was to be followed by a Dr. Roland Summit talking on Incest Patterns. After lunch the cops were to hold forth on State and Federal Laws and Investigation of Child Pornography. Then there was to be an "Interagency Panel Discussion Identifying Child Pornography: Roles of the Various Federal Agencies". In case all of this had been a little too serious, participants could unwind at a "cash bar" at 6:00 ("Har, har, har, you shudda seen that little scout-leaders face when the judge slapped him with a lifer -- make the next one a double, Harry!") Finally dinner at seven, and the Lloyd Martin Show would start with the ice-cream.

Well, the party went off almost as planned, except for a little background music from the opposition. Tom Reeves attended the "serious" part of the affair, the morning and afternoon conference. "The day got off to a swinging start," Reeves reports, "with Nurse Burgess standing at the podium beneath a huge screen on which slides of boys were shown. The first were slides of boys fully clothed, playing ball, swimming, sitting around, wrestling, etc. These she called 'innocent but essentially pornographic to the paraphiliac (sic)'. She explained that certain men lurk near playgrounds, etc., sometimes using zoom lenses, but sometimes actually photographing the boys up close. These types do not ever even touch their 'victims', but later masturbate over the photographs, imagining vile scenarios.

"The next photos showed boys in the process of undressing. 'This is typical,' she confided. 'There is something special about slipping in and out of underwear and bathing suits, and they seem to prefer red ones. It is possibly the image of innocence before the fall.' Next came nudes. 'These were seized from a man (George Jacobs ; see PAN 5, page 7) who made over 90,000 such slides and is now serving a prison sentence. A part of his plea bargain included a deal that he would work with us, and he is now working with us, especially to identify the victims and their families so we can interview them, and also to lead us to other potential paedophiles and to the rings.' The nudes were individuals and groups of boys, really beautiful, well-photographed artistic photos, of apparently happy, uncoaxed, relaxed boys. Each one, though, had its special significance in her mind. Regarding one photo of three boys, about 12-13, wearing little black haloween <sic> masks (and nothing else), 'Now, this means something, probably sado-masochism. It follows a pattern. Secrecy, that sort of thing. And games -- the paedophile loves games and puts his boys through all sorts of tricks for the camera.'

"She showed several photos of nude boys (not aroused) on beaches, in woods, fields, etc. 'This is very frequent. It definitely means something that they always want them outdoors.' She showed one photo of two boys, about 10, pissing. 'This is a real specialty. Urination is a request -- they take big orders for this: golden showers, you know.' (Lots of laughs, guffaws, ribald remarks, as at a stag party.) Next were a series of ten photos of different boys taken by another photographer -- I saw nothing peculiar about them. 'What do you see?' Burgess asked. Nobody responded. 'They all are skinny! That was especially true of this man. He was very fat. But a lot of these men are overweight and you will see as you examine the pornography collections circulating in these rings that the boys are usually skinny. I mean, look at that boy, look at how skinny he is!' (The boy was lovely, lying on his stomach, nude.) 'Just imagine this old, fat man looking at this photo and you can perhaps get inside the paedophile for a moment. He is imagining that the boy is himself, as he once was or wishes he had been! We find that this is what they are usually fantasizing. Especially where there are two or more boys, they are imagining they are one of the boys in the photo. Essentially it is narcissism.

"'I hope I have prepared you now by these slides, because I have to show you the hard-core stuff now. It is important to prepare people slowly, to let them get used to the easier slides, before moving on to the really bad stuff.' She flipped through about a dozen slides of boys with erections, mutual masturbation, fellatio, and commented, 'They have this oral fixation. Oral is definitely in. They get a lot of orders for special things. Now look at this one . . .' Virtually every boy in the slides has looked like he was having fun. She seems suddenly to notice this and says, 'They often drug the boys first . . . They usually smile. They obviously are cued to smile, they tell them they do have to smile. Or sometimes you can see the stupor, they are just stoned.' Not one of the boys in the photos she showed looked stoned. They looked incredibly innocent and having fun.

"The slides stopped. 'This whole thing is a big business,' she said (Later, incidentally, this was contradicted by the chief New England FBI officer who tells the conference that they have not been able to prosecute a single case of organized, commercial pornography under the child porn law in 4 years because they don't seem to exist, 'or we can't find them.'). 'The most important thing for us after we are in on the raid of a ring is the follow-up. We seek out the victims and their families. Many of them won't talk. This one boy -- one of the ones you just saw -- would not talk at all at first. He is 13. But we talked to his parents and they were frantic at what damage might have been caused by this. They were so disturbed. So we went back and we just kept insisting . . .' The upshot was that the boy finally confessed he was gay, into S and M and hates the man who seduced him when he was ten and 'made him that way.'

"'The self-loathing is so great among the boys who have been victimised,' Burgess continued. 'They blame themselves as well as the offender, and they carry the awful secret which they must keep from their parents and those they love . . . That is the usual course for these things. The boy meets the man --usually a neighbour, an uncle, someone known to him -- he poses nude, he feels funny taking off his clothes, but his friends do it. Next comes sex. Then the photos. Then he starts doing the sex for money. He goes downtown. And it's all over.'

"Father Mark Janus is introduced as Director of Bridge Over Troubled Waters which works with street kids, especially sexually abused kids. Actually he is a 'consultant', not the Director. Janus explains that the kids are in the grasp of pimps and pushers the minute they step onto the streets. They 'are out there ready to jump right in when they see a fresh face, a new body."' Tom Reeves chronicles the good Father's analysis of the kinds of kids who end up "on the street" and concludes with what he calls the "typical spiral down." "'Sexual abuse is the start,"' Reeves quotes Janus. "'It is where the money is. It is fun. It is exciting. The streets are alluring - where else is there so much excitement in today's boring world? But then comes the exposure to cold nights, diseases, VD, drug overdoses, fights, being thrown out in the middle of the night, suicide, murder. Many of the boys make the circuit over and over: Boston, New York, Florida, California and back. The longer they stay, the worse they look. I don't know what happens to most of these kids. They become missing persons. It may be when they are 12 or 30, but I really believe what happens is (pause) they die!"'

Most quotable of the afternoon speakers seems to have been Detective Tom Rodgers of the Indianapolis Police Department. According to him the big problem with child porn is that much of it is not commercial. Most of it is "deep underground in the child sex cults. We need laws to deal specifically with these underground cults. They are organized into big groups like PIE in England and PAL and PAN in Germany (sic) and they have cult magazines like BSJournal and Man Boy Love Journal and the sole purpose of these groups and mags is to protect child molesters and exchange photos. The groups maintain they are not involved in illegal activity. Our task is to prove they are. Where that is not possible we can link individual members of the groups to sex crimes and discredit the groups."

Like all policemen, his mouth watered at the thought of what the micro-chip might do. "So far there is no nation-wide, computerized system on child molesters, child sex cults and sex offenders, but we are working on one and hope to have it in place by 1982.' (Surely he meant 1984!) 'Then we will have every name, every group, every address and even before specific laws are broken, and we will share this with all law enforcement agencies. Colorado is an example of a state with exciting new innovations in law . . . (Here you ) can get severe penalties. We must raise the penalties for these offenses to discourage the acts . . .

"Someone talked earlier about the 'innocent' photos. We have to have some way to deal with those guys, because they are usually at the bottom of it. They just take these photos of children fully clothed, but the guys later use the photos sexually and they sell this kind of item for a lot of money."

A little later Rodgers described the typical paedophile: "He usually lives alone and is lonely. His only adult friends are other paedophiles, with whom he is competative <sic> and jealous. The paedophile with boys is not usually intersted <sic> in penetration. Now we have wondered about that, and we think it is because penetration leaves evidence. You know, if you penetrated the anus of a small boy he might bleed to death. And these men don't mean to hurt -- they always say that. One paedophile told me he wanted to penetrate, but it wasn't practically possible. He especially liked little babies, up to about 4 years, and penetration was just out.

"We don't usually get involved with the victims. The kids are often uncooperative. They usually deny they had sex at all. You have to establish rapport with them, explain to them that they have been victims. They usually don't know they are victims, and some don't know it was wrong. Once they admit it they usually say they were drugged, drinking or asleep . . ."

At one point during the afternoon session Boston Vice-squad cop Skippy Halliday came up to Tom Reeves, flashed his badge and said, "Let's go out in back and work this thing out." Reeves refused. The Nutty Nurse had obviously ordered Halliday to get rid of Reeves, although she denied it later.

The dinner got off to a tense start when guests had to enter through a picket put up by NAMBLA members carrying signs which read STOP KILLER COP LLOYD MARTIN and FIRE DEAN BURGESS AND DETECTIVE MARTIN. A flyer entitled Who is the LAPD Det. Lloyd Martin whom B.U. honors tonight? was passed out detailing the terrible career and horrifying statements of California's most famous paedophobe. The flyer demanded that Martin be suspended without pay immediately by L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates pending an official investigation of his activities and asked some pointed questions: "Why is Martin here at Boston University tonight? Why is Martin using the Kiddie Protection scam to kill and imprison so many faggots? Why do Martin and others like him continue to deny youths the right to full sexual consent? What crimes in his own past is Martin covering up? How can a cop who has terrorized kids by hanging them by their ankles over a cliff (See PAN 6, page 9) now pose as a protector of children?" The flyer also demanded that B.U. investigate the connection of its nutty nurse with Martin and the illegal entrapment of homosexuals behind the smoke screen of supposed statutory sex offenses and kid porn. Finally it asked the university to make a public apology to the gay community for allowing Nurse Burgess to invite "criminal-cop Martin to this city."

Tom Reeves and reporter Mitzel attended the banquet and actually dined with Detective Martin -- and his wife, who seems to have come along with him on this federally-funded junket all the way from Los Angeles. "During coffee Skippy Halliday and Burgess joined us," Mitzel reports. "Burgess was trying to neutralise us by being sweet. Tom asked her if she was heterosexual and -- I actually counted the seconds -- she took six seconds to decide how to answer."

After the banquet speech (see box) Mitzel told a conspicuous assistant of Burgess "that what I had observed was the grossest orgy of unscientific pandering of homophobia and gross manipulation of children's lives for phonies to make bucks that I had ever seen and I would leave the room and go out into the community and work tirelessly for the immediate firing of Nurse Burgess." That, of course, brought the nutty nurse herself, who asked, "What did you say about getting me fired?" "I repeated my line," Mitzel continues. "She grabbed my wrist and said, 'No, please don't!' Well, if she thinks I can do it, perhaps I can!"

The following day there was a follow-up "evaluation" session, and this was attended by George Jacobs's attorney Tom Butters. Martin and the nutty nurse "were furious at our presence," according to Mitzel. "We had ruined it for them. They couldn't talk about anything else. Burgess kept wondering 'when are they going to drop the other shoe'."

NAMBLA is putting together a press release and packet demanding a federal investigation of the $50,000 of taxpayer's money the nutty nurse received. Pressure is also being mounted in California -- with the speaker of the House, the Attorney General, a pro-gay L.A. City Council member -- to get Martin at least discredited and possibly investigated and fired.

And it all might just happen. Bullies like victims: they are afraid of fighters. And in Tom Reeves, Mitzel, Tom Butters, Michael Thompson and the others behind the magnificent trashing of the nutty nurse's little federally-funded party they have found a group of wily fighters indeed.

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The Nicholas Groth Conference, PAN Magazine, 11 March 1982

BOSTON, MA, USA The A. Nicholas Groth conference on child molestation went off last autumn at Boston University without all the fireworks predicted for it. Tom Reeves of NAMBLA was invited to participate if he would call off the promised protesters. When it developed that Reeves would simply be the target for the questions and denunciations of other members on the "panel", he declined and informed Groth and Company that it was to be total war. The result, according to one observer who works in the building where the conference took place, was "total paranoia" -- security checks, frisks, plain-clothes cops. And all for nothing, for no protesters showed up.

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Tom Reeves Arrested, PAN Magazine, 11 March 1982

The bad news is that Tom Reeves and Michael Thompson, of Gay Community News, were arrested on 19 January and charged with sexual contacts several years ago with a teenage transvestite hustler. Although this would seem to be the break the FBI had been looking for in their raids on the houses of Swithinbank and Fox (See Pan 10, page 16), the whole thing appears to have been a kind of accident involving another runaway boy, homophobic parents, a chance meeting, etc. The radio/TV media carried the affair for a few hours and the Globe, which has been struggling for years to be America's worst newspaper, seemed to be off on a fantasy trip totally unrelated to the facts of the arrest. Giving, of course, Reeves' name and address, it went on to accuse him of rape and reduce the ages of the boys involved. But the good news which followed was that the case was soon thrown out of court by the judge when the principal witness, the boy who had been badgered into making the charges, was prevented from testifying at any procedings <sic> because he himself was facing criminal prosecution on a variety of felonies quite unrelated to sex. Everyone is now waiting to see whether the present District Attorney will, in the best tradition of Boston Irish politicians, appeal and try to use the arrests for political advantage.

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Club International Raided by FBI, Police, PAN Magazine, 12 July 1982

BOSTON, MA, USA A huge effort by the FBI and the police of several states resulted in a raid on a gay establishment here called Club International, the arrest of 5 people on prostitution charges -- and a veritable bonanza of scurrilous reporting by the Boston press (international child prostitution ring . . . sent boys as young as 13 to Mexico, Canada and several US cities for $500-plus sex weekends . . .) One 18-year-old and one 16-year-old were also arrested. NAMBLA spokesman Tom Reeves swung into action and appeared on a local radio talk show: "I called this afternoon and asked the District Attorney's office how much money was spent in prosecution of the case of the murder of the black man in Savin Hill recently, and he told me, after several calls, that it was about $5,000." (Reeves was referring to just one of several recent homophobic assaults in Boston.) "Estimating from what the newspapers say, this particular investigation . . . . involved five different agencies, including the US Postal Service, for four or five months. According to today's Herald, they actually rented the apartment where the prostitution went on; the Postal Service rented the apartment and set up these elderly men in that apartment. I estimate -- and I would challenge them to disprove this -- that this raid cost the taxpayers $250,000." Well, that's about the right proportion for the corrupt Irish political machine which runs Boston: one dollar to solve the murder of a black man, fifty dollars to entrap an elderly paedophile into having consensual sex with a boy just under the age of consent. Sources: Boston Herald-American, 3, 4, 6 & 9 May, 1982; Boston Globe, 3 & 4 May, 1982; Gay Community News, 15 May, 1982.

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