Give children and adults control over their own sexual lives

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I have enormous sympathy for the savage penalty Richard Bagarozy endures and respect for the courage he's shown in standing by the young men who were abused by the police in their investigation of his case. I have no sympathy or respect for his position that NAMBLA should adopt a policy of advocating puberty as the age of consent.

Bagarozy asserts that such a stance is "responsible, workable, scientifically sound" but I find it is none of these. Let's work backwards. His unsupported assertion that puberty and the ability for abstract reasoning arrive simultaneously is not scientific as far as I know. Further, where does the assumption that abstract thought is a prerequisite for natural, beneficial sexual relations come from? Animals incapable of abstract thought certainly practice sex. To manufacture a link between abstract thought and natural behavior isn't scientific; it's absurd.

Consider what this pseudo-scientific link encourages. Puberty is the period when a person becomes capable of sexual reproduction. To adopt it as a logical age of consent reinforces the notion that procreation is the real purpose of sex and pleasure just a fringe benefit. NAMBLA shouldn't help raise value judgement to the level of science.

Imagine requiring children to reach puberty before allowing them to decide when and what they wanted to eat. Given freedom and power, children will choose the sexual expression appropriate for their own lives.

Next, is this proposal workable? Puberty doesn't arrive like Christmas, at the same time for everybody. Legislating (and enforcing) an age of consent that varies chronologically from one individual to another would be even more confusing than the varied ages of consent from one state to another that exist today.

Most important, to me, is the question of whether this proposal is "responsible," in the sense that NAMBLA should be responsible. Certainly, an age of consent around 14 (the typical calendar definition of puberty in boys) might be more palatable of liberals who want to appear open-minded but who secretly are as uncomfortable with childhood sexuality as Bible-belt housewives. But whatever "scientific" arguments Bagarozy wants to make, his proposal boils down to adults deciding when children van have sex. To me, responsible behavior for NAMBLA is tireless efforts to give children and adults control over their own sexual lives.

source: Chris Farrell responding to an incoming letter from Richard Bagarozy; NAMBLA Bulletin, vol. 8, no. 7; September 1987