North American Man/Boy Love Association
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NAMBLA stands for the North American Man/Boy Love Association, which has to be one of the cringiest organization names ever created. Its agenda is to repeal laws prohibiting adult men from having sex with boys under the age of consent, and to repeal laws regarding age of consent in general. The organization therefore promotes and in some cases practices pedophilia. An investigator reported that NAMBLA had around 1100 members in 1995, but it has been estimated that its membership has dwindled to a handful who run its website as the internet has provided pedophiles with venues perceived to bear less legal risk than a NAMBLA membership.
NAMBLA and gay rights
While it certainly campaigns for legal rights on a same-sex issue, to characterize NAMBLA as a gay rights organization is a little disingenuous, since its most controversial aspect is not that it advocates sexual relationships between people of the same sex but that it advocates sexual relationships between adults and minors.
During the organization's early history (in the late 1970s and early 80s), NAMBLA received some support from a few LGBT groups, but vehement opposition from many others who were understandably concerned to keep homosexuality, which was becoming increasingly tolerated and accepted in the USA, from being associated with pedophilia. The NAMBLA controversy within the gay community divided its more radical, some might say narcissistic, elements, who saw virtually all norms that restricted the behavior of any segment of the gay community as oppressive, and gays seeking mainstream acceptance, equality, and support, with urgency heightened by the onset of the AIDS crisis. While there are still a very small number of people on the fringes of the gay rights movement who accept them, most now ban them from showing up at their rallies.
Controversy erupted among the LGBT community as it came to light that leading organizers of the 1979 Gay March on Washington and the 1980 New York Gay Pride Parade were known NAMBLA members and supporters. In 1981, in what can be charitably described as a tone-deaf move, Gay People At Cornell (GayPAC) invited NAMBLA founder David Thorstad as a keynote speaker at its Gay May Festival. The invitation was rescinded after a storm of protest. The controversy over NAMBLA simmered within the LGBT community through the 1980s into the 1990s, with a NAMBLA presence at gay pride events tolerated but not encouraged. Some saw the distancing from NAMBLA as a sellout to gain mainstream acceptance for gays and marched behind the NAMBLA banner as an act of protest within gay rights events. The poet Allen Ginsberg joined NAMBLA, claiming it was an act of protest, however, his performance of a poem opening with "Sweet boy, give me your ass" at a 1989 NAMBLA conference indicates a more substantial association. The breaking point for NAMBLA's relationship with the larger gay rights movement came in 1994, following their membership in the International Lesbian and Gay Association becoming an issue when ILGA was seeking status as a UN consultative body, and release of the documentary Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys, which publicly exposed the ideas of NAMBLA's leaders. Starting in 1994, NAMBLA has been explicitly disinvited from gay pride events, NAMBLA publications have been purged from gay-oriented bookstores, and NAMBLA-related links have been banned from gay-oriented websites.
Nevertheless, opponents of gay rights often continue to cite NAMBLA as an example of the homosexual agenda to groom children for sexual abuse. This is really an association fallacy, since other gay rights groups do not promote "man/boy love" and the gay community almost unanimously condemns NAMBLA and its aims.
NAMBLA claims that they do not advocate that their members commit child molestation, nor do they claim to engage in conspiracies to actually molest kids. However, they have supported alleged pederasts who have been to trial, and even lent their support to Michael Jackson during his last child molestation trial. Jacko was sane enough to avoid affiliating with them, and instead picked the Nation of Islam.
While NAMBLA is a real, albeit minuscule group, it has become the brunt of jokes, as well as a target frequently named in the context of moral panics over a purported child sexual abuse epidemic. This is so much so that most NAMBLA sightings these days may be parodists, and NAMBLA's remaining function may be as a "honey pot" for monitoring potential child predators.
NAMBLA has a website, and it looks like it was designed in 1997. But can you believe it looked far worse back then? And oh boy, do they have pedophilia apologism in it. It contains a variety of writings ranging from decade old bulletins to press releases they made.
NAMBLA has an FAQ, oh goodie. Their view on age of consent:
Q: Why do you oppose age-of-consent laws?
A: Opposing age-of-consent laws is not our only focus; it is one part of our broader criticism of North American social and legal practices. We believe that these laws do great harm to people and relationships that do not deserve to feel the crushing weight of the heavy hand of the law. Just as important, age-of-consent laws do not adequately protect young people. They have often been applied arbitrarily and unjustly, and have long been used to terrorize gay males. Gay youth in particular have been targets of extreme persecution through the selective application of age-of-consent laws.
Oh no, children are being persecuted by age of consent laws. Won't someone think of the children?
NAMBLA thinks they have science to back them up:
Q: But isn’t the harmfulness of sex supported by scientific research?
A: Actually, no it isn’t. Peer-reviewed studies have shown clearly that there is nothing intrinsically harmful about sexual experiences between boys and men. For a full explanation, see: Outcomes: Can Science Shed Some Light?
And by show clearly, NAMBLA means they're taking studies out of context and cherry picking studies.
Outcomes: Can Science Shed Some Light?
NAMBLA is in our territory now. NAMBLA asserts nine arguments with studies why pedophilia is okay. There's not much thought process here, they just list a bunch of studies with very little context:
2. Boys who have sexual contacts with older partners usually feel the experience was harmless or beneficial.
Baker, A. W. & Duncan, S. P. (1985). Child sexual abuse: A study of prevalence in Great Britain. Child Abuse & Neglect, 9, 457-467.
This study of a nationally representative population sample, is among the largest and best-sampled studies ever conducted on sexual experiences of the general population. The actual findings of this study are extremely eye-opening, despite the authors' apparently strong sex-negative bias.
Li, C. K., West, D. J., and Woodhouse, T. P. (1993). Children’s sexual encounters with adults. Buffalo: Prometheus.
West was the Director of the Institute of Criminology, and Professor of Clinical Criminology at the University of Cambridge, where he was a Fellow of Darwin College.
The second study is an interview with adult pedophiles who molested children. No children were actually interviewed. See the description of the book below:
Presents the findings of two important research projects in which men who admitted to a sexual interest in children were interviewed. The attitudes of these volunteer subjects differed from apprehensive pedophile offenders, challenging some of the generalizations advanced by professionals.
Dolphins Do It
One NAMBLA article by Earl Koenig points out that dolphins can be pedophiles, therefore, it's okay.
THERE IS GOOD evidence for the view that man/boy love is rooted in our earliest social evolution. If true, then no amount of suppressive legislation, beefed-up police powers, or psychological conditioning will ever be able to eradicate it without fundamentally altering and impairing something essential and vital in human nature.
Yes, dolphins can be pedophiles, however, they also perform acts of rape too. Just because other animals perform certain actions, does not mean it is okay for humans, or even dolphins, to do them.
Is Fox Gullible?
NAMBLA is a life-affirming organization that believes that a wide variety of benevolent human orientations, including all mutually desired relationships, enriches the social fabric. We are opposed to all who would demonize these positive forms of human expression they do not understand.
Sorry NAMBLA, but a 40 year-old man having sex with a 7 year-old cannot be a mutually desired relationship. Pedophiles tend to convince themselves their relationships are somehow mutual.
- Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys – 1994 award-winning documentary on NAMBLA, essentially letting their members dig their own graves.
- NAMBLA website — Click the link and enjoy being added to a watchlist.
- Mike Pearl, Whatever Happened to NAMBLA, America's Paedophilia Advocates? vice.com, 25 March 2016.
- "Boy Crazy", Boston Globe Magazine, May 2001
- Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys
- ChickenHawk (1994) IMDb.