International pedophile conference

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By: Bill Andriette

The 1986 ILGA conference had a little brother. On July 5 and 6, the Danish Pedophile Association hosted (quite hospitably) an international gathering of representatives from pedophile organizations, taking advantage of the convergence upon Copenhagen of people from gay organizations the world over. About 25 of us gathered in the well-appointed headquarters of the local Copenhagen SM group to chat, compare notes, exchange information, and agree to set up a minimal organizational infrastructure to do more of the same. Besides the Danes and the NAMBLAns, there were representatives from the Australian Pedophile Support Group, the Norwegian and Swedish Pedophile Workgroups, and the (Swiss) Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Pädophilie. With varying degrees of indignation and resignation, we each presented the plight of pedophiles in our respective countries, and told the history of our organizations and where they were situated vis-a-vis the lesbian and gay movement, feminists, and the police.

The Danish Pedophile Association was founded three years ago, on inspiration from the Swedish and Norwegian groups. The primary function it serves is social, though it has published a book and produced radio programs for Radio Rosa, Copenhagen's gay radio station. Ten to 15 people attend the monthly meetings. The DPA was licked out of the national lesbian and gay coalition, though it appears that the lesbian faction that orchestrated the purge is not strong enough to keep it from rejoining. The Australian Pedophile Support Group started in 1980, as an outgrowth of an Australian National Gay Conference. It has about 20 people involved in three cities, and focuses on gay pedophilia. The survival of this group in the face of government and media assaults of the sort that finally destroyed PIE is largely due to its founder and sole spokesperson, Emu Nugent, who is the only publicly-identified ped down under. The Swedish Pedophile Workgroup meets once a month, and had about 20 members, mostly from Stockholm. It is not clear if it can be said that the Norwegian Pedophile Workgroup still exists. It was founded in 1975, partly on inspiration from the Dutch pedophile organizations, and at its peak, had 15 members in Oslo, and about the same number scattered elsewhere in Norway. For a time it published a small newsletter, and maintained contacts with the gay community. Three years ago the group folded, but a post box still remains, along with informal social connections. The Swiss Association for Pedophilia is 13 years old, involved in counseling work, and has 110 members.

While the situation for pedophiles in Scandanavia [Scandinavia] is better than in the U.S., it is not all rosy. Certainly sentences are much less harsh, and the media less hostile. But as one member of the DPA wrote in a conference paper: "The new puritanism which started in the U.S.A. has invaded all Europe. Norway is a quite religious country, and the puritans are strong. Writing about pedophilia in a pornographic way is now illegal in Norway. In Sweden, the national organizations for sexual information is now dominated by puritans. Finland and Iceland are several years behind the development in the rest of Scandinavia, and are now experiencing a fast-progressing gay liberation."

We hobnobbed about the perennial strategic and ideological issues. What should we call ourselves? Are we pederasts? Pedophiles? Boy lovers? Child lovers? Emu Nugent from Australia usefully pointed out that by organizing around pedophilia we were naming our cause entirely from the adult's point view. Kids aren't pedophiles (or at least when they are, they aren't.) But he didn't unequivocably embrace the eponymous man/boy love on the grounds that it smacked of American cultural imperialism. (oh those knee-jerk leftists). More constructively, he suggested placing pedophile on the Procrustean bed of political correctness, and chopping it down to ped, which then be defined as naming both partners in an intergenerational relationship. (An excellent idea. For NAMBLA, it also linguistically negate the somewhat silly fight we've had about pedophilia v. pederasty.) The Danes were quite comfortable being pedophiles, and appreciated the terms gender ambiguity, as they encompassed within their ranks a girl lover, and a member who professed polymorphous perversity. They argued, contra NAMBLA, that boy love and girl love were birds of a feather, conceptually at least, and should be defended together.

So after two days of such discussions and with the sort of healthy disagreement one would expect from so variegated a conglomeration, we agreed at least that we wanted to remain in contact. What has been tentatively named the Pedophile Information Pool was formed. It will function to distribute items of interest to member organizations, and to organize future international gatherings, but it will not take formal positions or engage in overt political activities. NAMBLA agreed to facilitate the information pool, and absorb postage and copying expenses. Other pedophile organizations, or groups organized around a radical commitment to children's liberation and sexual freedom, are encouraged to join. Write to NAMBLA in New York, care of the international secretary.

source: Article 'International Pedophile Conference' by Bill Andriette; NAMBLA Bulletin, Vol. 7, N. 7; September 1986