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NAMBLA's Internet Forum

by Editorial StaffPublished: 2021Updated: 31 July 2022





In ancient Rome, the Forum was where people often gathered to discuss philosophy and politics.

With this forum we hope to present ideas that viewers to our Web site wish to contribute. Even ideas contrary to our  views will be considered as long as opinions are presented courteously and in understandable English. We reserve the right to correct spelling and minor errors without altering meanings.

None of the arguments presented in this forum should be assumed to be in line with NAMBLA's policies. They may or may not be. The purpose is the creation of a series of debates that may ultimately distill unassailable truths. We encourage readers, even when they agree with an opinion, to find flaws in logic or fact that the writer did not see. This is the best way of arriving at sound conclusions.

Contributors are free to identify themselves by any actual name or alias they choose. Send your thoughts to: info@nambla.org


* * *

An Uncomfortable Truth

We publish this essay from a correspondent because it is emblematic of a truth we have always known – many children, even from an early age, have pronounced sexual feelings. They somehow find ways of expressing these. If they have ever suffered harm from freely doing so, the harm has been uniquely from overwhelmingly exaggerated negative reactions by caretakers and a censorious culture.

Individuals who self-identify as LGTBQ are too invested in the narrative imposed by the dominant society to gainsay what are essentially lies. In private, many will reveal experiences supporting that they acted with agency and never experienced physical or emotional harm. One former youngster, now an elderly gay gentleman we know, used to use his school issued bus pass to visit “tea rooms” for assignations. His open-minded parents were Beat Generation progressives and were fully aware of their son’s escapades. Their son never experienced trauma, and he not only graduated from a prestigious high school but went on to university and a successful career.


My name is Manny. I am from Scandinavia. The legal age in Sweden is 15 and it is 16 in Norway. I am now in my 30s and uniquely a boylover. When I was a boy, I preferred older men, but as I got older, boys became my preference.

At the age of 11, I first realized how sexy I was in the way only a boy could be in my now adult boylover opinion. I didn’t hit puberty until I was 14, so I had 2-3 years in that perfect body and dream about everything a man could do with me sexually.

That was some years before I had a computer, but there was a gay hotline listed in our newspaper, and I called a lot. Every man I called was really interested, and I never got turned down even once in those short calls.

Those calls were short because before the men could plan anything with me, the hotline supervisors would kick me off. My treble boy voice would give me away. It was impossible to hide that fact :)

Then my parents got a big phone bill and decided from then on to request that the bills had to specify outgoing calls. So, I never dared to try again :(

Just as fast I could get online when I was 15, I started to meet older men for sex. My only regret is that I didn’t have a computer, with an Internet connection, years sooner.

I bet there were a lot of boys like me then as well as now.

The supervisors on the gay hotline were, as far as I know, not obligated to report younger boys calling in. It is perhaps different today when everything is so illegal in a way that is hard to believe.

My parents never found out, and I kept it hidden from family and friends.

This is how it was for me in Scandinavia in the 90s.

It is important to remember that Manny’s youthful experience and the one described in our introduction, happened at different times and places. His essay and our introductory remarks should NOT be taken as encouragement to break any law. Even in a democracy, some bad laws do get passed. Those should be changed ONLY through education and a rational process – NOT by breaking laws. Our mission from the beginning has been to educate and to encourage rational thinking.


* * *
Cognitive Distortion

No sane person can ignore recent events of mass killings of children and many more innocent people. We could no longer hold off commenting on it and on the diseased thinking that allows the perpetuation of such atrocities.





Cognitive distortion is what our kinder detractors accuse us of. That somehow our perception has been twisted into some unrealistic view is their best way of understanding us. They imagine, "How can a man unrelated to a boy be drawn to him? What could such an adult find appealing in a youngster?" They are however blind to the possibility that a boy's incipient intellect, his personality or joie de vie holds great joy for both adult and youngster and that all of this can sometimes bring about mutual physical attraction. A comprehensive answer to our detractors' distorted thinking needs to be explored in a separate essay, but a different cognitive distortion is the actual theme we are pursuing here.

The incident that brings us to examine our current societal twisted notions is the latest of too many unspeakable acts – the butchering of young children. "Butchering" is too weak a word, but there is no alternative in the English language for a massacre where bullets decapitate children and where their riddled bodies are reduced to unrecognizable meat.

To begin, let's look at the distorted view of the Second Amendment that has taken on near religious proportions among gun fanatics. It reads thus:

A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The framers of the Constitution were no imbeciles. They understood grammar and the importance of the meaning of words. The amendment did not say "the right of individuals to own and bear arms." Moreover, the first two clauses of the amendment modify the latter part. That right is granted only with state regulation and in the service of the state.

The framers guaranteed the right to bear arms to the individual colonies, now states of the United States, but not to individual persons – the word "people" is a collective noun. Were our view not so, why would the Second Amendment, as currently interpreted by a politicized Court, not permit private ownership of weapons of mass destruction? Those are arms too, are they not? If ownership of cars can be regulated, certainly firearms deserve the same consideration. Even the operation of a barbershop or beauty salon can be regulated. Give us a break!

When a literate and moderately educated person can correctly parse a basic English sentence such as the Second Amendment, how can one not suspect Supreme Court members of being biased along the views of the parties that promoted their elevation?

Gun aficionados like to suggest that training and arming teachers is a solution to school mass shootings. Really? Are they not aware of the many gun deaths caused by the inevitable carelessness that comes with keeping track of our possessions? Misplacing a gun is orders of magnitude more serious than losing one's keys or wallet. Teachers and schools are no exception to our epidemic of accidental gun death including those motivated by extreme anger. Then, what are we teaching children when teachers must carry weapons? Is it really the lesson that students need to learn that violence can only be dealt with violence? Must children in schools with armed teachers constantly fear that they are only moments away from being maimed or killed?

Then there is the puerile notion that the best way to counter a bad person with a gun is to have a good person with a gun. That may work in movies where these infantile notions originate but not in real life. Imagine a "good person" happening on a situation where a gun is being used. How does he ascertain, in the heat of the moment, what is actually happening? Is the shooter a "good person" or a "bad person?" The shooter might actually be a cop not in uniform defending himself or another. Imagine yet a "good person" now shooting at a "bad person." How are subsequent "good persons" able to figure out who is who? With just about every person armed as the gun lobby would have it, there would then be a free for all with bullets flying indiscriminately in every direction – a plot line for a gruesome comedy sketch.

It is disheartening to realize that many with otherwise adequately functioning brains can formulate misconceptions of the world the way gun apologists do. And guns are far from the many other policy issues that a sane society needs to deal with. Unfortunately, distorted cognitive ability is the case for too many who either do not have the ability for critical thinking or for those who are have it but who cynically work to advance their own agenda.

For us, the struggle is long and hard, but we have reason and virtue on our side.

Recent updates reveal that there were indeed "good people with guns" to thwart the "bad person with a gun." These "good people," if indeed pusillanimous, were well armed and donned with body armor. Yet it took over an hour for these "good people" to act.


* * *

SCRUB
by Wendley Scott

Known as one of America’s greatest poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay seldom turned her verse to comforting or encouraging topics. Rather, she thrust at the reader her many versions of the human struggle: death, violated love, despair, defeat, deception, lost souls trying to redeem themselves but likely failing. Known as a master of the sonnet form (one can find most of them in her Collected Sonnets), this piece is from her Collected Lyrics, but curiously it is in a modified sonnet form. (In traditional sonnets, three four-line stanzas precede the “punch lines” which appear in the last two lines. Here, however, they are in the last four lines, which relate to the previous ten lines.)

SCRUB


            If I grow bitterly,
            Like a gnarled and stunted tree.
            Bearing harshly of my youth
            Puckered fruit that scars the mouth;
            If I make of my drawn boughs
            An inhospitable house,
            Out of which I never pry
            Towards the water and the sky,
            Under which I stand and hide
            and hear the day go by outside;
            It is that a wind too strong
            Bent my back when I was young,
            It is that I fear the rain
            Lest it blister me again.

------


The use of the word “boughs” implies both a perch above, away from others, and sharp and tangled branches to keep disturbers and intruders far away, thus revealing the deep anger within. My feeling is that the two uses of “It is” preceding two of the final lines would have been better had they been reversed, making of them questions. The reader in that way would be called upon to rhetorically agree, understanding better, then, the anguish of the narrator.

So, in American society, who might feel these emotions of pain and rage that result from how they have been treated? I suggest the multiple thousands of children who have been forced to endure direct punishments — beatings, deprivations, isolations, threats, rejections, pressures that increase dreads and anxieties — in silence and who often lack friends who might empathize with their misery, perhaps, too, too troubled themselves. These boys are those who would benefit from a genuine caring association, such as that offered and provided by a true lover of boys, one who doesn’t exploit the relationship — if he has managed to form one — for his own desires and needs only.

However, this excludes the needs of the lover of boys who may have similarly suffered during his enculturation (process of being trained or raised in your own culture) into the harsh realities of a society that hates his very existence. But because he better understands such pain, he may be ideally situated to help youth in pain and allow the interaction itself to be therapeutic for himself, and not expect the boy to be burdened with the display of his own troubles.

Of course, as we well know, almost all children are denied freedom of choice in ordinary matters; this relates to the parents being too busy to focus on what their children are communicating to them by word or action, or their expectation that each child knows what is expected of him/her: each child has only to obey. Their Job, parents seem to believe, is only to keep each one in line. Then there’s no trouble with neighbors or the law.

However, a possible sexual involvement is parents’ greatest fear, especially for girls with pregnancy within the range of possibility. This is one explanation for adults perceiving their offspring as non-sexual from a very young age. Since their kids are so ignorant of a multiplicity of things, they truly want them to remain ignorant of the existence of sexual ideas as having any kind of reality. Yet almost every child by age six has learned the “buttons” which cause adults to deflect what the child “innocently” says. They’ll tell the child that he/she will learn what those “naughty” words mean “later” or “someday,” or excuse their child’s “slip” to other adults to prevent their embarrassment regarding the others’ possible judgment of their inability to raise a decent child when he/she appears before others. However, the child has been learning “someday” is “never.” The child senses that certain words or expressions cause adult embarrassment. Thus, the child learns to be cautious of his/her speech when in the presence of adults (but not other children) for he/she has understood that certain human physical processes are topics adults just can’t handle.

Even with an unrelated adult a boy has befriended and trusts, the boy, having internalized the taboos of his parents, will be very reluctant to bring up the topic of sex, much less his own sexual feelings. Sex education courses in schools, as far as I know, focus on heterosexual mechanics but not the physical feelings accompanying an orgasm. A friend once suggested that their main message was “use a rubber,” for their — and parents’ — concern about disease and pregnancy.

But the child rapidly grows into a teenager. Soon adults fear the self-asserting groups and/or gangs which their offspring then may join when they grow too big for the parent to verbally or physically control. Adult-child communication, however limited it ever was, is likely to vanish. It’s only the parents who have taken the time, over time, to listen to each of their children as self-asserting individuals, who can avoid difficult struggles with them later.

Though a friendship between an adult man and a boy may seem incongruous, it is exactly the beneficial function that such a sensitive adult can bring to society. I call such a man a “boy lover.” A boy lover will listen to what his friend has to say and allow the validity of what he wants to express or do. Listening to what another has to say or encouraging a boy to fulfill his life dreams need not require any kind of sexual involvement, just sensitivity to feelings. Some men must learn to work on it and overcome their “scrubness.” If anyone is uncertain what “scrub” is as a noun, it’s something small or diminished. It's often labeled as that when land has gone to waste. What grows there has little or no value, for it has many small and rough shrubs which no one can harvest to gain any profit. Thus, here it refers to real people. The poetess Millay used that wisely in her poem.

Thus, if you feel yourself to be a Scrub and the world is against you, don’t pass up opportunities to help boys you may encounter to overcome their problems and become less of Scrubs. They may not know it, but they really want those in whom they can trust and perhaps use as models for their own lives. And this takes time and dedication.

The books mentioned or quoted above were paperback reprints published by Washington Square Press, Inc., n.d., New York; originally published by Harper & Row, New York, n.d.


Magic Numbers
by John P.

I am John, a healthy gay man in my early 50's. For purposes of "identifying" myself as it pertains to this writing, I would self-analyze myself under the labels of a hebephile and an ephebophile. When I was an adolescent boy of around 13-16, I had insatiable attractions to boys around my age and fantasized constantly.

Something happened as I aged into adulthood. Or should I say nothing happened. I grew older but my physical attractions did not. I can now find myself attracted to older guys but the young men hold a special place. It's not just about sexuality. Sometimes I just want them to be my companion. The utter fascination of experiencing a vacuum in the presence of a perfect creature who floods my senses with undivided stimulus, if only for a fleeting moment. It's as if I would trade a lifetime of sexual interaction for just one second of knowing I pleased him.

So now I cower in the shadows of fear and shame. It seems the times in history and the geographic places we dwell dictate what is acceptable within a population. Now in the early 2020's more than ever at least in the U.S., the political climate is unraveling the final frontier of human rights, and reversing over 100 years of progressive evolution. Society levies the importance of worth by who's sleeping with whom.

In my opinion most people seem to be locked inside a paradox torn between an obsession to live a formulaic existence, hence the "correct" career, home, family/peer relations, passions to the other extreme of a personal longing to just be left alone; a tranquil void of the pressure to remain relevant.

So, I wonder where I fall into this identity soup? What role do we "boy lovers" play? Phycology breaks this down in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), now in the everchanging editions of #5. Even though this could have monumental legal & reputational ramifications, isn't it all based on magic numbers? Ages of consent, Ageism, drifting borders? Splitting hairs of some law, somewhere a one-year difference in age could send a person to prison.

On a more personal level. What happens when Johnny the boy inevitably grows into John the man? Does that vicious cycle continue? On a side note, my older brother R.I.P. had feelings for younger boys and got into legal trouble many years ago, having to register as an offender.

In all my "careful" (fear) research for some kind of support, or more information I find very little. NAMBLA's (no offense) reputation & stature has diminished to whatever it is over the many years and other resources are scarce or driven underground. One of the biggest criticisms of the organization seems to be the lack of documentation of younger voices in numbers who seek age of consent reform, etc. (besides a handful of old letters)?

Editorial Note: We take no offense, but it should be noted that NAMBLA’s reputation has only diminished among those who easily swallow consumed popular media. No other organization has yet dared to hold up a prominent profile.

As for documenting younger voices, our emails in our letters section point otherwise. Our old publication Boys Speak Out was put together at a time when, especially in the Netherlands, attitudes were much more progressive. Doing so today is impossible.


Some Thoughts on Love and Consent
by David E.

When I hear the word "love," I don't think of age, race, sexual preference, or appearance. I think of commitment, mutual agreement, and understanding. The ability to bond and coexist as a communion of one. The nesscessary actions one takes to put his needs on the back burner, so he can provide for the needs of his significant other.

But society had abused this word and set limitations on it. They say that you've got to be a certain age to understand love, as well as consenting to any acts of love. Yet consent will vary with the individual. I could be twelve years old and know nothing of sex, then down the road, a boy my age has been sexual active since he was seven. So why is society treating all of this the same?

Is it because of their lack of understanding? Or have they never experienced this when they were young, so they assumed minors don't know as much as they give them credit for? I think there might be a couple of reasons. One, it could be the fact that they don't want to see their children and grandchildren as sexual beings, so they're in denial of this truth. But when we were born, we had this nature already instilled in us. We could be extremely sheltered from anything that's sexual related, and nature will always find a way to draw us to it.

And two, society may be concerned on the crime rate going up? Let me elaborate. If there's no age of consent, then it'll be very easy to lie about everything involving relationships, love, or sex. Even if at first it was consensual, later on, the boy might feel differently? So he says that he was raped or molested. That'll look very badly on people like us.

I can see things from both sides, but society's side is labeling it only one thing. We're cold hearted monsters that needs help, and children can't consent. Which I understand their point of view, but they're putting it all in one basket. We all aren't molesters, and all children aren't innocent. That's the truth, and once society knows the truth, the better.

I actually respect you guys at NAMBLA. From what I see so far, you aren't sexually crazed. You've got your own belief system, but you're not doing anything stupid to jeopardize that. Like society had labeled us, driving around in dark-tinted vans looking for children. But we're just normal people who's opposite in agreement with society and the law way of thinking. And once they come to terms with our reality, they'll see things in a whole new light.

I want to become a NAMBLA participant, because my belief is similar to yours. And I'm a good speaker, whether verbally or on paper. When I'm passionate with something, I keep at it. Hopefully someday, your work with come into the light with a different perspective. But for now, you've got to work in the shadows, so that it can happen eventually.