The gay movement needs NAMBLA

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I've been a member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association since I was 15 years old. I joined it partly because I thought myself as a boy-lover - most queer teenage boys are - and the partly because my first boyfriend, a 23-year-old man I had met the year before at Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York, helped me see the stupidity of the age-of-consent law that said I was being "raped" when we made love and that put my friend at risk of years in prison. [...]

NAMBLA is a political and support group that survives in a climate of misunderstanding, hatred, and repression similar to that faced by the Mattachine Society in the dawning days of US gay liberation. Our main activity is publishing the NAMBLA Bulletin, available at a dozen gay bookstores in the US and Europe. The Bulletin, provides just about the only space in this society for men and boys who share love and desire to talk about their feelings and lives. NAMBLA is opposed to all coercion and abuse, sexual or of any other kind. We strongly oppose seducing or taking advantage of young people. We support laws and social structures that will help society make the distinction between consensual sex play and violent rape, and to deal with the gray areas equitably. NAMBLA believes that we need to find more nuanced ways than arbitrary age-of-consent laws to protect young people from coerced ur unwanted sex. States now set an arbitrary age - often 16 (Massachusetts), sometimes 17 or 18 )New York and California, respectively) - under which any sexual activity is defined - and punished - more severely than actual rape. [...]

If "pedophilia" means finding people under the age of consent attractive, then most gay people are "pedophiles," as are most straights. Most of our gay cultural heroes - such as Socrates, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Britten, Harvey Milk, and Pier Pasolini, to name a few - were lovers of boys as well as men, and if they were around today, would face condemnation and long-term imprisonment as "pedophiles." [...]

"I'm a member of NAMBLA because I love boys, too." the poet Allen Ginsberg has said. "Anybody does who has a little humanity." Now that our gay and lesbian politicos having their first real grabs at political power and respectability, basic humanity is in terribly short supply.

source: Article/Letter 'The Gay Movement Needs NAMBLA' by Bill Andriette (editor of NAMBLA Bulletin); 1993