Difference between revisions of "NAMBLA astray?"

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Hi Guys!

It's refreshing to see that you not only allow, but print varying views of opinion not necessarily those of NAMBLA. From that, may I assume that members need not agree with each other and every position adopted by NAMBLA?

As astrong proponent of man/boy love relationships and a new member of NAMBLA, I may be able to look at the problems the organization faces a bit more objectively.

I fully agree with the Constitution of NAMBLA, but! think that any NAMBLA position that causes us to stray away from that central goal— the acceptance of men and boys involved in consensual sexual and other relationships with each other - ultimately deters us from achieving our purpose.

Some positions taken by NAMBLA make us seem so radical that people who would like to support our cause cannot agree and subsequently don't join. Our opponents use these same positions as well to argue their point, thereby evading the main issue.

NAMBLA's positions on Military Conscription, Intervention in El Salvador, Hustling and Commercial Sexual Relationships, Repression of Sexuality by the State, Circumcision and Clitoridectomies, Sexual Rights of Children and Youths (when the statement includes more that "sexual rights"), and Child and Youth Liberation are all positions which stray from the topic of man/boy love, and provide opponents with fuel for the fire.

Boys on the cover of the Bulletin with what looks like a joint, or others with guns, provide opportunities for criticism before the magazine is even opened. Once opened, stories about men who have sex with boys while they are asleep, stretch the word "consensual" to its max.

What is our goal? As I see it, we want the right to love boys and be loved by them, whether sexually or not. Period! We do not molest, harm, coerce, or abuse children in any way, but rather encourage their well being. All we ask is that society accept consensual man/boy love relationships - nothing more, nothing less.


Editor's note: NAMBLA has taken stands in issues that go beyond advocating acceptance of man/boy love. Some of the positions you take issue with - on hustling and the sexual rights of young people, for example - hardly seem tangential to defending consensual sex between men and boys. However, other NAMBLA positions you mention - on E| Salvador or the draft, perhaps - could be seen that way.

But NAMBLA's activists would almost to a person argue otherwise. NAMBLA emerged from a period of ferment in American society, of battles over racial equality, imperialism, homosexuality, and sexism. These movements provided the political analysis and experience out of which came NAMBLA, a fact reflected in the backgrounds of the people who founded this organization.

More than just representing the personal backgrounds of a number of NAMBLA activists, however, NAMBLA's broader positions are useful in that they situate NAMBLA within a larger community of people in this society working for social justice. As a part of this community, NAMBLA has tended toward to the view that the techniques underlying diverse kinds of repression have much in common - that, for instance, the appeals to fear and racist bigotry represented by, say, George Bush's Willie Horton ads are comparable to the ways that man/boy lovers are demonized, or that a US government vicious enough to maintain a repressive regime in El Salvador is all the more prepared for the dirty work of jailing tens of thousands of boy lovers at home.

On the other hand, despite its sympathies, NAMBLA has resisted identifying itself with any specific radical program. This issue comes up periodically - most recently at the 1991 membership conference, at which members of the Revolutionary Workers League in attendance put forth proposals to amend NAMBLA's position papers along the lines of their Trotskyite platform. There was fairly broad agreement among the membership that NAMBLA should not endorse a detailed program of organizing workers, minorities groups, with the end of armed revolutionary struggle and overthrow of capitalism, for many of the same reasons you bring to bear against NAMBLA's current positions.

In the end, how much and how far NAMBLA should go beyond its core positions man/boy love is a judgement call that will be decided on the basis political beliefs and backgrounds of the NAMBLA's members. Looking back over NAMBLA's history, it would be hard to find instances in which NAMBLA's broader commitments have compromised its effectiveness, deprived it of support that it could otherwise have gained, and many cases where we have benefited by our inclusion in the larger progressive community in which those positions help place us.

source: Letter to the editor 'NAMBLA astray?'; NAMBLA Bulletin, Vol. 13, No. 1; January/February 1992