The man who loves boys

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Kevin Bishop does not look like a paedophile. Not that I know what a paedophile should look like, but certainly not this fresh-faced youth who jumps up to shake my hand as I enter the sushi bar he had picked for our meeting. At first glance I guess him to be aged 17, and a student, judging from his colour-clashing grunge clothes. "Lots of people think I'm a student because I have long hair and don't dress conventionally," says the 27-year-old in a cheery voice. [...]

Bishop is a paedophile who had his first sexual experience at around age six, and would like other children to have the same early physical awakening with an adult - especially if it is their parents. "Not all inter-generational sexual activity is abusive or damaging to the children," he insists. [...]

The North American Man Boy Love Association, the largest paedophile group in the United States, believes sex should be practised freely between adults and children, and South Africa seems to be its next port of call. [...] "People react negatively because we challenge the accepted viewpoint that children are non-sexual, and so should be kept ignorant about sex. But you can empower children by teaching them about loving sexual relationships at an early age, and giving them the opportunity to make an informed decision about having it." [...]

Bishop, who describes himself as "polymorphously perverse", accepts one of the weaknesses of the association is that it is male-dominated. "It's a fact of history that it is always easier for men to speak out about sex and what they want. There's more legitimacy for men to speak about their sexual prowess because they don't suffer from the same madonna-whore complex." However, he says freedom for the association will mean sexual freedom for all - including lesbian relationships between women and girls. [...] "I'm sure people would say I'm repressing my own sexual abuse, because the only way I would know about sex at such a young age is if I had been taught by an adult. But I was definitely not." [...]

He scratched around and discovered some of the literature was secured in the vaults of the University of South Africa (Unisa), alongside Karl Marx's Das Kapital and anti-apartheid literature. It took a while, but he managed to get access after receiving a written undertaking from his professor that it was for research purposes. "It showed me there were alternative scientific opinions which considered this a sexual preference that has been around for decades, not something pathological." A little more research led him to the North American Man Boy Love Association, founded in Boston in December 1978, in response to what Bishop describes as "a witchhunt of men and boys in that city". The group believes the next biggest issue modern Western politics will have to deal with is sexual ageism. "I'm not saying the age of consent should be dropped now, but that we should be working towards it. That's why we need a branch of the association here, and in every country in the world."

source: 'The man who loves boys' by Angela Johnson;; q online; 27 June 1997