Skip to comments.Brief history of the modern childlove movement
Posted on 03/03/2007 9:23:28 AM PST by Calpernia
NAMBLA describes itself as a "support group for intergenerational relationships," and uses the slogan "sexual freedom for all." According to the group's web site, its aim is to "support the rights of youth as well as adults to choose the partners with whom they wish to share and enjoy their bodies." Google Search of NAMBLA's IP http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=220.127.116.11&btnG=Search
One of the group's arguments is that age of consent laws can unnecessarily criminalize sexual relationships between adults and minors (particularly boys). http://www.warriorsfortruth.com/nambla.html In 1980 a NAMBLA general meeting passed a resolution, proposed by Tom Reeves, which said: "(1) The North American Man/Boy Love Association calls for the abolition of age-of-consent and all other laws which prevent men and boys from freely enjoying their bodies. (2) We call for the release of all men and boys imprisoned by such laws." http://www.warriorsfortruth.com/nambla.html This policy was still in NAMBLA's "official position papers" in 1996.
NAMBLA advocates a comprehensive youth rights platform of which sexual freedom is only a portion. In addition to supporting the repeal of age of consent laws, NAMBLA has also opposed corporal punishment, rape, and kidnapping, and has declared that sexual exploitation is grounds for expulsion from the group. http://www.qrd.org/qrd/orgs/NAMBLA/nambla.replies.to.ilga.secretariat
Although some sources allege that NAMBLA has used the slogan "sex by eight is too late" or "sex by eight or else it's too late", this motto is properly attributed to the René Guyon Society.
NAMBLA emerged from the tumultuous political atmosphere of the 1970s, particularly from the leftist wing of the Gay Liberation movement which followed the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. Although discussion of gay adult-minor sex did take place, gay rights groups immediately following the Stonewall Riot were more concerned with issues of police harassment, nondiscrimination in employment, health care and other areas.
Not until a "sex ring" of underage boys brought intense media scrutiny in Boston in the closing weeks of 1977, and police closed down the Toronto-area gay newspaper The Body Politic for publishing an article titled http://clga.ca/Material/Records/docs/hannon/ox/mbm.htm Men Loving Boys Loving Men did the subject of adult-minor sex garner enough attention to prompt the formation of a group like NAMBLA.
In December 1977, police raided a house in the Boston suburb of Revere. Twenty-four men were arrested and indicted on over 100 felony counts, including child pornography and statutory rape of boys aged eight to fifteen. Suffolk County District Attorney Garrett Byrne alleged that the men used drugs and video games to lure the boys into a house, where they photographed them as they engaged in sexual activity. Byrne accused the men of being members of a "sex ring", and said that the arrest was only "the tip of the iceberg." The arrests sparked intense media coverage, and local newspapers published the photographs and personal information of the accused men.
Staff members of the gay newspaper Fag Rag believed the raid was politically motivated. They and others in Boston's gay community saw Byrne's round-up as an anti-gay witchhunt. On December 9, they organized the Boston-Boise Committee, a name intended as a reference to a similar situation that unfolded in Boise, Idaho in the 1950s. The group sponsored rallies, provided funds for the defendants, and tried to educate the public about the case by passing out fliers. It would also later spawn NAMBLA.
District Attorney Garrett Byrne was defeated in his re-election bid. The new DA said that no man should fear prison for having sex with a teenager unless coercion was involved. All charges were dropped. The few who had already pled or been found guilty received only probation. http://www.ipce.info/host/radicase/ch_13_notes.htm#9
On December 2, 1978, Tom Reeves of the Boston-Boise Committee convened a meeting called "Man/Boy Love and the Age of Consent." Approximately 150 people attended. At the meeting's conclusion, about thirty men and youths decided to form an organization which they called the North American Man/Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA for short.
Some gay rights groups immediately following "Stonewall Inn", perceived age-of-consent laws as governmental tools to suppress homosexual behavior rather than as the safeguards against the sexual abuse of small children that they claimed to be. In many states that didn't explicitly criminalize homosexual behavior (the sodomy laws), age-of-consent laws were significantly lower for heterosexual couples than for homosexual couples. For example, in the state of Massachusetts, "Lawrence v. Texas", the age of consent for heterosexual couples was as low as 13 (with parental approval) but was 18 for homosexual men.
Consequently, a number of gay rights groups opposed age-of-consent laws at the time of NAMBLA's founding. A "Gay Rights Platform" http://www.rslevinson.com/gaylesissues/features/collect/onetime/bl_platform1972.htm formed and adopted by about 200 gay activists at a convention in Chicago held by the National Coalition of Gay Organizations (NCGO), called for the "repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent" at the state level. (The NCGO, which was formed at the Chicago convention, primarily consisted of New York's Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), which was composed of many small gay activist groups organized mostly on college campuses throughout the U.S.). The GAA opposed age of consent laws and had hosted a forum on the topic in 1976. The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition also supported eliminating the existing age-of-consent laws.
The relative acceptance or indifference to opposition of the age-of-consent began to change at the same time as accusations that gays were child pornographers and child molesters became common. Judianne Densen-Gerber, founder of the New York drug rehabilitation center Odyssey House, argued that gays were responsible for child pornography. In 1977 former beauty queen Anita Bryant staked a similar position, starting the "Save Our Children" campaign. "The recruitment of our children," she argued, "is absolutely necessary for the survival and growth of homosexuality."
Bryant's campaign focusing on the alleged "recruitment" of boys by gay men succeeded in overturning a law that had protected civil rights for gays in Dade County, Florida. As a result, the age-of-consent issue became a hotly debated topic within the gay community, and disputes over the age of consent issue within and between gay rights groups -- many of which directly or indirectly involved NAMBLA -- began to occur on an increasingly frequent basis.
Disagreement was evident following the conference that organized the first gay march on Washington in 1979. In addition to forming several working committees, the conference was responsible for drafting the basic organizing principles of the march (the five demands http://www.rainbowhistory.org/mowprogram.pdf [see p. 23]). Originally, the Gay Youth Caucus had won approval for its proposal demanding Full Rights for Gay Youth, including revision of the age of consent laws. However at the first meeting of the National Coordinating Committee, a contingent of lesbians threatened not to participate in the march unless a substitute was adopted. The substitute, authored by an adult lesbian and approved in a mail poll by a majority of delegates, stated: Protect Lesbian and Gay Youth from any laws which are used to discriminate against, oppress, and/or harass them in their homes, schools, job and social environments.
In 1980 a group called the Lesbian Caucus Lesbian Gay Pride March Committee distributed a hand-out urging women to split from the annual New York City Gay Pride March because the organizing committee had supposedly been dominated by NAMBLA and its supporters. The next year, after some lesbians threatened to picket, the Cornell University gay group Gay PAC (Gay People at Cornell) rescinded its invitation to NAMBLA founder David Thorstad to be the keynote speaker at the annual May Gay Festival. And in the following years, gay rights groups attempted to block NAMBLAs participation in gay pride parades, prompting Harry Hay to wear a sign proclaiming NAMBLA walks with me as he participated in a 1986 gay pride march in Los Angeles.
Thus by the mid-1980s, NAMBLA was virtually alone in its positions and found itself politically isolated. Gay rights organizations, burdened by accusations of child recruitment and child abuse, had abandoned the radicalism of their early years and had "retreat[ed] from the idea of a more inclusive politics," opting instead to appeal more to the mainstream. Support for "groups perceived as being on the fringe of the gay community," such as NAMBLA, vanished in the process. Today almost all gay rights groups disavow any ties to NAMBLA, voice disapproval of its objectives, and attempt to prevent NAMBLA from having a role in gay and lesbian rights events.
The case of ILGA illustrates this opposition. In 1993, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, of which NAMBLA had been a member for a decade, achieved United Nations consultative status. NAMBLA's association with ILGA drew heavy criticism, and many gay organizations called for the ILGA to dissolve ties with NAMBLA. Republican Senator Jesse Helms proposed a bill to withhold $119 million in U.N. contributions until U. S. President Bill Clinton could certify that "no UN agency grants any official status, accreditation, or recognition to any organization which promotes, condones, or seeks the legalization of pedophilia, that is, the sexual abuse of children". The bill was unanimously approved by Congress and signed into law by Clinton in April 1994.
ILGA had passed a resolution in 1985 which stated that "young people have the right to sexual and social self-determination and that age of consent laws often operate to oppress and not to protect." In spite of this apparent agreement with NAMBLA on the age of consent issue just nine years before, ILGA, by a vote of 214-30 expelled NAMBLA and two other groups MARTIJN and Project Truth in early 1994 because they were judged to be "groups whose predominant aim is to support or promote pedophilia." Although ILGA removed NAMBLA, the U.N. reversed its decision to grant ILGA special consultative status. Repeated attempts by ILGA to reacquire special status with the U.N. have not been successful, but the group does exercise consultative status with the European Commission.
Gregory King of the Human Rights Campaign later said that "NAMBLA is not a gay organization ... They are not part of our community and we thoroughly reject their efforts to insinuate that pedophilia is an issue related to gay and lesbian civil rights." NAMBLA responded by claiming that "man/boy love is by definition homosexual," that "man/boy lovers are part of the gay movement and central to gay history and culture," and that "homosexuals denying that it is 'not gay' to be attracted to adolescent boys are just as ludicrous as heterosexuals saying it's 'not heterosexual' to be attracted to adolescent girls."
In 1994 the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) adopted a "Position Statement Regarding NAMBLA" saying GLAAD "deplores the North American Man Boy Love Association's (NAMBLA) goals, which include advocacy for sex between adult men and boys and the removal of legal protections for children. These goals constitute a form of child abuse and are repugnant to GLAAD." Also in 1994 the Board of Directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) adopted a resolution on NAMBLA that said: "NGLTF condemns all abuse of minors, both sexual and any other kind, perpetrated by adults. Accordingly, NGLTF condemns the organizational goals of NAMBLA and any other such organization."
Documents relating to the court case Curley v. NAMBLA and others provide further information on NAMBLA's structure and activities. In March 2003 Judge George O'Toole of the Massachusetts federal court found that in the 1990s (the period being considered by the court), NAMBLA was controlled by a national Steering Committee, "a group which purposefully directed NAMBLA's outreach activities generally."
The court documents also shed light on some of NAMBLA's activities, including that:
:"NAMBLA was established as an unincorporated association in 1978 to encourage public acceptance of consensual sexual relationships between men and boys. Its principal place of business is New York, and its primary mechanisms of public outreach include its Bulletin, a quarterly publication sent to dues-paying members... Gayme Magazine, a NAMBLA publication mailed periodically to dues-paying members and sold at some bookstores; a NAMBLA website... TOPICS, a series of booklets providing more focused consideration of issues related to "man-boy love"; a prison newsletter; Ariel's Pages, a NAMBLA project through which literature concerning "man-boy love" was sold; and membership conferences.
:"The Steering Committee, through several of its members, also formed "Zymurgy, Inc.," a Delaware corporation, which was operated as a profit-making arm of NAMBLA. Although the defendants describe the Bulletin, Gayme Magazine, Ariel's Pages, and Zymurgy, Inc. as separate and distinct from NAMBLA, it appears from the materials submitted, including minutes of Steering Committee meetings, that the Steering Committee controlled all of these entities, providing monies to initiate and support various projects and freely transferring funds among them."
:"In addition to managing NAMBLA's financial matters, the Steering Committee also directed the association's policy, political, legal, and public relations efforts. Steering Committee members held frequent meetings and retreats during which they discussed NAMBLA's public image, formulated the association's outreach efforts, and nominated spokespersons. Members of the Steering Committee in close coordination with each other, created and maintained NAMBLA's website, and wrote, marketed, sold, and otherwise disseminated a variety of publications. Working in Massachusetts, William Andriette served as the editor of the Bulletin and Gayme Magazine. He did not act alone but rather under the supervision of the Steering Committee in producing these publications and in holding himself out as a NAMBLA spokesman.
:"In addition to the financial support and supervision provided by the full Steering Committee, the content of the Bulletin was guided by the "Bulletin Collective," an editorial board comprised of NAMBLA members from across the country who contributed and edited articles, screened photos and pictures, and participated in coordinating the production and distribution of the publication."
Judge O'Toole found that Dennis Bejin Joe Power, David Thorstad, David Miller (also known as David Menasco), Peter Melzer (also known as Peter Herman), Arnold Schoen (also known as Floyd Conaway), Dennis Mintun, Chris Farrell, Tim Bloomquist, Tecumseh Brown, Gary Hann, Peter Reed, Robert Schwartz, Walter Bieder and Leyland Stevenson were or had been members of the NAMBLA Steering Committee or had held other leading positions in the organization.
(The full text of these documents can be seen here.)
More recently, media reports have suggested that for practical purposes the group no longer exists and that it consists only of a web site maintained by a few enthusiasts. NAMBLA maintains a web site at http://www.nambla.org that shows addresses in New York and San Francisco and a phone contact in New York, and offers publications for sale, including the NAMBLA Bulletin.
NAMBLA is identified as a lobby group in Jon Stewart's America: The Book A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction (2004), and is also alluded to on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, often tagged on to an existing lobby group's acronym for the parody.
Gay groups, Christian groups, anti-sexual abuse organizations, law enforcement agencies and other critics see NAMBLA as a front for the criminal sexual exploitation of children. They say NAMBLA functions as a meeting place for male pedophiles and pederasts and their sympathizers. A number of alleged NAMBLA members have been charged with and convicted of sexual offenses against children.
Onell R. Soto, a San Diego Union-Tribune writer, wrote in February 2005: "Law enforcement officials and mental health professionals say that while NAMBLA's membership numbers are small, the group has a dangerous ripple effect through the Internet by sanctioning the behavior of those who would abuse children." http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050217-2208-manboy-daily.html
Suspicion pertaining to the group's activities led both the U.S. Senate and U.S. Postal Service to conduct investigations of the group, both of which concluded without allegations of legal impropriety.
NAMBLA responds to the criticism that it is a "front for criminal and sexual exploitation of children" and that it advocates sex between men and boys by stating unequivocally that "NAMBLA does not engage in any activities that violate the law, nor do we advocate that anyone else should do so". Since sex between adults and minors is illegal, it is presumably included in NAMBLA's avoidance of advocating activities that violate the law.
NAMBLA rejects the widely held view that sex between adults and minors is always harmful, arguing that "the outcomes of personal experiences between adults and younger people primarily depend upon whether their relationships were consensual,". In support of this position NAMBLA cites research such as A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples, which was published in the Psychological Bulletin in 1998. NAMBLA devoted a web page to a brief overview of the study under the heading "The Good News About Man/Boy Love," and claimed the study showed, "On average, nearly 70% of males in the studies reported that as children or adolescents their sexual experiences with adults had been positive or neutral."
http://web.archive.org/web/19981205120531/www.nambla.org/metaanalysis.htm Some researchers dispute the findings of the meta-analysis http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/rbt_files.htm
Gay rights groups opposed to NAMBLA contend that their reason for disavowing NAMBLA has always been their sharing of the general public's disdain for pedophilia and child sexual abuse (as expressed in issues statements). These gay rights groups reject NAMBLA's claims of an analogy between the campaign for gay and lesbian equality and the abolition of age-of-consent laws, and view NAMBLA's rhetoric about "the sexual rights of youth" as a cover for its members' "real agenda".
Radicals like Pat Califia http://www.ipce.info/ipceweb/Library/califa_aftermath_frame.htm argue that politics played an important role in the gay community's rejection of NAMBLA. Califia says that although the gay rights mainstream never committed itself to NAMBLA or its platform, neither did it actively ostracise NAMBLA until opponents of gay rights used the group to link gay rights with child abuse and "recruitment." As evidence, subscribers to this theory point to statements made by prominent gay activists which contain political assessments of NAMBLA's impact on gay rights. One such statement was made by gay rights lobbyist Steve Endean. Endean, who opposed NAMBLA, said: "What NAMBLA is doing is tearing apart the movement. If you attach it [the man/boy love issue] to gay rights, gay rights will never happen." Gay author and activist Edmund White made a similar statement in his book States of Desire: "That's the politics of self-indulgence. Our movement cannot survive the man-boy issue. It's not a question of who's right, it's a matter of political naivete."
Some conservative Christians in the United States have used NAMBLA to attack gays in general. With the outbreak of the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in 2002, this practice intensified. Critics of such organizations have pointed to statistics from national professional associations, such as the American Psychological Association and the Child Welfare League of America, which indicate that there is no correlation between homosexuality and child abuse.
Although NAMBLA itself has never been prosecuted, there have been a number of prosecutions of alleged NAMBLA members for sexual offences involving children or adolescents. The most recent of these cases involved a number of men arrested by the FBI in Los Angeles and San Diego in February 2005. Seven men were charged with planning to travel to Mexico to have sex with boys, the FBI said. An eighth man was charged with distributing child pornography.
According to a media report http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20050217-2208-manboy-daily.html, the FBI believes that at least one of the arrested men is a member of NAMBLA's national leadership, a second organized the group's national convention last year and a third said he had been a member since the 1980s.
Brief of amicus curae of Bill Wood and Joseph Ureneck for Massachusetts Senate Bill 2175
Gamson, Joshua. 1997. Messages of Exclusion: Gender, Movements, and Symbolic Boundaries. Gender and Society 11(2):178-199.
The Curleys v NAMBLA and others
Johnson, Matthew D. 2004. NAMBLA. An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture.
Thorstad, David. "Man/Boy Love and the American Gay Movement," Journal of Homosexuality 20 (1990): 251-274.
- Art Cohen, "The Boston-Boise Affair, 1977-78", Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, Vol. 10, No. 2. March-April, 2003.
- Benoit Denizet-Lewis, "Boy Crazy: NAMBLA: The Story of a Lost Cause," Boston Magazine
- John Mitzel, The Boston Sex Scandal, Boston, Glad Day Books, 1981
- http://www.nambla.org/ Home page of NAMBLA
- http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/voices/gl_sexual2.htm Gay Community Responds to Revere
- http://www.qrd.org/qrd/orgs/NAMBLA/ NAMBLA-related Documents on the Queer Resources Directory - http://www.bostonmagazine.com/ArticleDisplay.php?id=27&print=yes
Boston Magazine: Boy Crazy] A history of NAMBLA, May 2001 - http://www.thecpac.com/Curleys-v-NAMBLA.html The Curleys v NAMBLA and others
- http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/01/08/nambla.suit.crim/ CNN: Parents of murdered child sue child-sex advocates January 8, 2001 - http://www.stcynic.com/blog/archives/2003/12/the_aclu_and_th.php
BLOG: Dispatches from the Culture Wars: The ACLU and the NAMBLA Case] December 22, 2003
- http://www.aclu-mass.org/legal/docket_2003-2004.asp ACLU of Massachusetts :LEGAL DOCKET 2003- 2004: Summary of their defense of NAMBLA
- http://www.columbia.edu/cu/thefed/v3/volume20/4/nambla.shtml The Fed goes to a NAMBLA meeting: Category:Pedophile organizations Category:LGBT organizations Category:United States organizations
::shrugs:: I guess. I'm much more concerned about the people in post one that are listed members of this group.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to take away from the main message of your thread.
This is something I don't understand, too. The gay community is struggling for acceptance and wants people to understand that they are just normal people. Why would they let an organization like this take cover under their banner? This is, afterall, what people fear most about normalizing homosexuality - pedophilia, but instead of rejecting an organization that glorifies pedophilia, they embrace it.
It's hard to believe that the officials on that list are so blinded by political correctness that they go along with it all. I think either they agree with it or they are just pandering votes and they don't care where they get them from.
Or, they are one of them? They are members.
From their website:
At the footer of their splash page in dark font on dark background:
"Radical Faeries: We are a network of satyrs, sissies, butch leather queens, ceremonial drag queens, queers, pansies, activists, revolutionaries, workers, artists, farmers, witches, pagans, sacred fools, rural and urban dwellers who see gays, lesbians and transgenders as a distinct and unique people, with our own culture, our own spirituality and our own path of Being."
But, doesn't everybody love Rudy-toot?/sarc
Glad to see this thread get resurrected. The Rudy lovers need to have their faces rubbed in this.
It is that Human Rights Council (Campaign) that Jimmy Carter set up.
Jimmy Carter: The Untold Story
Jimmy Carter: New U.N. Human Rights Council Raises Hope Worldwide
It enables Foreign influence (money) into U.S. politics
The head of HRC [Joe Solmonese] sits on the board of an organization whose top contributor is George Soros.
HRC Confirms: Joe Solomonese Is New President and CEO
Gay.ru is a Soros-funded Moscow NGO that has developed "into an established and recognized Russian gay and lesbian center" and "the clearing house for lesbian and gay groups scattered across the country":
The Human Rights Campaign funds the Log Cabin Republicans and the Victory Funds (Democrats).
That is because they don't hear it on the news.
Soros hit that first.
George Soros, Media Connections - Bump List
Think about it. If you weren't on FR, what would you think if someone was telling you all this and it wasn't on any news?
No I wouldn't ....I have gotten a few people to join FR. I wish more people would get interested in finding out what is going on in the world in general. I have very sweet friends but most are... airheads in many ways. If it isn't sitting in their kitchens staring at them they tend to just go with the flow of things. I was able to get quite a few stirred up over That's A Family.....However until its right in our school they aren't going to really do much about it. I do the PTO meetings & I open my big mouth all the time. I also attend the Board of Ed meetings...I often question their spending. They just love me there I bet. I tell everyone if you don't go and question whats going on...then these people think they have free reign over our children. If you won't get involved then all my work isn't going to stop this bs....I need more concerned parents and the PTO /PTA's aren't so wonderful either. The PTA is a sponsor of That's A Family. I will be d@mned if the funds our children raise with all those stupid fund raisers will go to buy movies that push for gay agenda and gay propaganda. I think its time more normal people got off their lazy arses and questioned the actions of the PTA/PTO and the school boards ...When a school shows a movie to your children without you knowing and agreeing to the contents of that movie its too late. People are far too trusting of public schools. And I think they are just too lazy to get involved I am sad to say. ~P~
>>>The Stonewall was an inviting target operated by the Gambino crime family without a liquor license, the dance bar drew a crowd of drag queens, hustlers, and minors. <<<
And also, to get into the Stonewall, you knock and say, "A Mary sent me."
I put a mary sent me into google and found this site:
It looks pretty threatening towards Dick Cheney's daughter.
Remembering Stonewall premiered July 1, 1989
GEANNE HARWOOD: I'm Geanne Harwood, and my age is 80.
BRUCE MERROW: I'm Bruce Merrow.
HARWOOD: I don't know if it's really true, but now people do refer to us as the two oldest gay men in America. We do, I think, have maybe a record relationship of almost sixty years together.
Being gay before Stonewall was a very difficult proposition because we felt that in order to survive we had to try to look and act as rugged and manly as possible to get by in the society that was really very much against us.
RANDY WICKER: My name is Randy Wicker. I was the first openly gay person to appear on radio in 1962 and on television in 1964 as a self-identified homosexual.
In the year before Stonewall people felt a need to hide because of the precarious legal position they were in. They would lose their jobs. There was a great hostility socially speaking in the sense of people found out you were gay, they assumed you were a communist or a child molester or any of another dozen stereotypes that were rampant in the public media at the time.
JHERI FAIRE: I'm Jheri Faire and I'm 80 years old. I started a gay lifestyle in 1948, when I was around 39 or 40.
At that time, if there was even a suspicion that you were a lesbian, you were fired from your job. And you were in such a position of disgrace that you slunk out without saying goodbye even to the people that liked you and you liked. You never even bothered to clean your desk. You just disappeared. You just disappeared -- you went quietly because you were afraid that the recriminations that would come if you even stood there and protested would be worse than just leaving.
SYLVIA RIVERA: My name is Sylvia Rivera. My name before that was Ray Rivera, until I started dressing in drag in 1961.
The era before Stonewall was a hard era. There was always the gay bashings on the drag queens by heterosexual men, women, and the police. We learned to live with it because it was part of the lifestyle at that time, I guess, but none of us were very happy about it.
SEYMOUR PINE: My name is Seymour Pine. In 1968, I was assigned as Deputy Inspector in charge of public morals in the first division in the police department, which covered the Greenwich Village area. It was the duty of Public Morals to enforce all laws concerning vice and gambling, including prostitution, narcotics, and laws and regulations concerning homosexuality. The part of the penal code which applied to drag queens was Section 240.35, section 4: "Being masked or in any manner disguised by unusual or unnatural attire or facial alteration; loiters, remains, or congregates in a public place with other persons so masked . . ."
(Pine continues reading under Rivera's voice and then fades out.)
RIVERA: At that time we lived at the Arista Hotel. We used to sit around, just try to figure out when this harassment would come to an end. And we would always dream that one day it would come to an end. And we prayed and we looked for it. We wanted to be human beings.
RED MAHONEY: My name is Red Mahoney. I've been hanging out drinking, partying, and working in the gay bars for the last thirty years. In the era before Stonewall, all of the bars, 90% of the bars, were Mafia controlled. There wasn't that many gay bars. You'd have maybe one, two uptown on the Upper East Side. They would get closed down. Then there'd be one or two on the west side, they'd get closed down. In midtown there'd be one, two, three, maybe open. As they would get closed down they would move around. And they were dumps.
JOAN NESTLE: I'm Joan Nestle, co-founder of what is now the largest collection of lesbian culture in the world. The police raided lesbian bars regularly, and they did it . . . they both did it in the most obvious way, which was hauling women away in paddy wagons. But there was regular weekend harassment, which would consist of the police coming in regularly to get their payoffs. And in the Sea Colony, we had a back room with a red light. And when that red light went on it meant the police would be arriving in around ten minutes. And so we all had to sit down at our tables, and we would be sitting there almost like school children, and the cops would come in. Now depending on who was on, which cop was on, if it was some that really resented the butch women who were with many times very beautiful women, we knew we were in for it because what would happen is they would start harassing one of these women, and saying, "Ha, you think you're a man? Come outside and we'll show you." And the woman would be dragged away. They'd throw her up against a wall and they'd say, "So, you think you're a man, let's see what you got in your pants." And they would put their hand down her pants.
MAHONEY: The Stonewall? Oh, that was a good bar. That was. Just to get into the Stonewall, you'd walk up and you'd knock on the front door. You'd knock and the little door would open and "What do you want?" "A Mary sent me." "Good, come on in girls." You know. The Stonewall, like all gay bars at that time, were painted black. Charcoal black. And what was the funny part, the place would be so dimly lit -- but as soon as the cops were gonna come in to collect their percentage or whatever they were coming in for, from it being a nice, dimly-lit dump, the place was lit up like Luna Park.
PINE: You felt, well, two guys -- and that's very often all we sent in would be two men -- could handle two hundred people. I mean, you tell them to leave and they leave, and you say show me your identification and they all take out their identification and file out and that's it. And you say, okay, you're not a man, you're a woman, or you're vice versa and you wait over there. I mean, this was a kind of power that you have and you never gave it a second thought.
RIVERA: The drag queens took a lot of oppression and we had to . . . we were at a point where I guess nothing would have stopped us. I guess, as they say, or as Shakespeare says, we were ladies in waiting, just waiting for the thing to happen. And when it did happen, we were there.
(Sound of footsteps, outside sounds.)
DAVE ISAY: On Friday evening, June 27, 1969, at about 11: 45, eight officers from New York City's public morals squad loaded into four unmarked police cars and headed to the Stonewall Inn here at 7th Avenue and Christopher Street. The local precinct had just received a new commanding officer, who kicked off his tenure by initiating a series of raids on gay bars. The Stonewall was an inviting target operated by the Gambino crime family without a liquor license, the dance bar drew a crowd of drag queens, hustlers, and minors. A number of the bar's patrons had spent the early part of the day outside the Frank Campbell Funeral Home, where Judy Garland's funeral was held. She had died the Sunday before. It was almost precisely at midnight that the morals squad pulled up to the Stonewall Inn, led by Deputy Inspector, Seymour Pine.
PINE: There was never any reason to feel that anything of any unusual situation would occur that night.
RIVERA: You could actually feel it in the air. You really could. I guess Judy Garland's death just really helped us really hit the fan.
PINE: For some reason, things were different this night. As we were bringing the prisoners out, they were resisting.
(Riot sounds in the background.)
RIVERA: People started gathering in front of the Sheridan Square Park right across the street from Stonewall. People were upset -- "No, we're not going to go!" and people started screaming and hollering.
PINE: One drag queen, as we put her in the car, opened the door on the other side and jumped out. At which time we had to chase that person and he was caught, put back into the car, he made another attempt to get out the same door, the other door, and at that point we had to handcuff the person. From this point on, things really began to get crazy.
BIRDY: My name is Robert Rivera and my nickname is Birdy, and I've been cross-dressing all of my life. I remember the night of the riots, the police were escorting queens out of the bar and into the paddy wagon and there was this one particularly outrageously beautiful queen, with stacks and stacks of Elizabeth style, Elizabeth Taylor style hair, and she was asking them not to push her. And they continued to push her, and she turned around and she mashed the cop with her high heel. She knocked him down and then she proceeded to frisk him for the keys to the handcuffs that were on her. She got them and she undid herself and passed them to another queen that was behind her.
PINE: Well that's when all hell broke loose at that point. And then we had to get back into Stonewall.
HOWARD SMITH: My name is Howard Smith. On the night of the Stonewall riots I was a reporter for the Village Voice, locked inside with the police, covering it for my column. It really did appear that that crowd because we could look through little peepholes in the plywood windows, we could look out and we could see that the crowd well, my guess was within five, ten minutes it was probably several thousand people. Two thousand easy. And they were yelling "Kill the cops! Police brutality! Let's get 'em! We're not going to take this anymore! Let's get 'em!"
PINE: We noticed a group of persons attempting to uproot one of the parking meters, at which they did succeed. And they then used that parking meter as a battering ram to break down the door. And they did in fact open the door -- they crashed it in -- and at that point was when they began throwing Molotov cocktails into the place. It was a situation that we didn't know how we were going to be able control.
RIVERA: I remember someone throwing a Molotov cocktail. I don't know who the person was, but I mean I saw that and I just said to myself in Spanish, I said. oh my God, the revolution is finally here! And I just like started screaming "Freedom! We're free at last!" You know. It felt really good.
SMITH: There were a couple of cops stationed on either side of the door with their pistols, like in combat stance, aimed in the door area. A couple of others were stationed in other places, behind like a pole, another one behind the bar. All of them with their guns ready. I don't think up to that point I had ever seen cops that scared.
PINE: Remember these were pros, but everybody was frightened. There's no question about that. I know I was frightened, and I'd been in combat situations, and there was never any time that I felt more scared than I felt that night. And, I mean, you know there was no place to run.
RIVERA: Once the tactical police force showed up, I think that really incited us a little bit more.
MARTIN BOYCE: My name is Martin Boyce and in 1969 I was a drag queen known as Miss Martin. I remember on that night when we saw the riot police, all of us drag queens, we linked arms, like the Rockettes, and sang this song we used to sing. (singing) "We are the Village girls, we wear our hair in curls. We wear our dungarees above our nellie knees." And the police went crazy hearing that and they just immediately rushed us. We gave one kick and fled.
RUDY: My name is Rudy and the night of the Stonewall I was 18 and to tell you the truth, that night I was doing more running than fighting. I remember looking back from 10th Street, and there on Waverly Street there was a police, I believe on his . . . a cop and he is on his stomach in his tactical uniform and his helmet and everything else, with a drag queen straddling him. She was beating the hell out of him with her shoe. Whether it was a high heel or not, I don't know. But she was beating the hell out of him. It was hysterical.
MAMA JEAN: My name is Mama Jean. I'm a lesbian. I remember on that night I was in the gay bar, a woman's bar, called Cookies. We were coming out of the gay bar going toward 8th Street, and that's when we saw everything happening. Blasting away. People getting beat up. Police coming from every direction -- hitting women as well as men with their nightsticks. Gay men running down the street with blood all over their face. We decided right then and there, whether we're scared or not we didn't think about, we just jumped in.
(Song and riot sounds.)
RIVERA: Here this queen is going completely bananas, you know jumping on, hitting the windshield. The next thing you know, the taxicab was being turned over. The cars were being turned over, windows were shattering all over the place, fires were burning around the place. It was beautiful, it really was. It was really beautiful.
MAMA JEAN: I remember one cop coming at me, hitting me with the nightstick on the back of my legs. I broke loose and I went after him. I grabbed his nightstick. My girlfriend went behind him -- she was a strong son of a gun. I wanted him to feel the same pain that I felt. And I kept saying to him, "How do you like the pain? Do you like it? Do you like it?" And I kept on hitting him and hitting him. I was angry. I wanted to kill him. At that particular minute I wanted to kill him.
RIVERA: I wanted to do every destructive thing that I could think of at that time to hurt anyone that had hurt us through the years.
MAMA JEAN: It's like just when you see a man protecting his own life. They weren't the "queens" that people call them, they were men fighting for their lives. And I'd fight along side them any day, no matter how old I was.
RIVERA: A lot of heads were bashed. But it didn't hurt their true feelings -- they all came back for more and more. Nothing -- that's when you could tell that nothing could stop us at that time or any time in the future.
(Music: "I'll be loving you every time I love again . . .")
ISAY: The riots were well covered in the media. The New York Daily News featured it on the front page. There were reports on all of the local television and radio stations. By the next day, graffiti calling for gay power had started to show up all over the West Village. The next night, thousands of men and women came back to the Stonewall to see what would happen next. While a couple of trashcans were set on fire and some stones were thrown, the four-hundred riot police milling around outside the bar ensured that the previous evening's violence would not be repeated. But on this night, gay couples could be spotted walking hand in hand and kissing in the streets. Just by being at the Stonewall -- surrounded by reporters, photographers, and onlookers -- thousands of men and women were proclaiming that they were gay. The crowds grew and came back the next night and for one more night the following week. What happened at the Stonewall on those nights helped to usher in a new era for gay men and lesbians.
HARWOOD: When Stonewall happened, Bruce and I were still in the closet, where we had been for nearly forty years. But we realized that this was a tremendous thing that had happened at Stonewall and it gave us a feeling that we were not going to be remaining closeted for very much longer. And soon thereafter, we did come out of the closet.
JINNY APPUZO: My name is Jinny Apuzo. In 1969 I was in the convent. And when Stonewall hit the press, it hit me with a bolt of lightening. It was as if I had an incredible release of my own outrage at having to sequester so much of my life. I made my way down, I seem to recall in subsequent nights being down on the, you know, kind of just on the periphery looking. An observer -- clearly an observer. Clearly longing to have that courage to come out. And as I recall it was only a matter of weeks before I left the convent and started a new life.
HENRY BAIRD: I am Henry Baird. In 1969 I was in the US Army, a specialist 3 stationed at Long Bend Post near Saigon, in Vietnam. I remember I was having lunch in the army mess, reading the armed forces news summary of the day, and there was a short paragraph describing a riot led by homosexuals in Greenwich Village against the police. And my heart was filled with joy. I thought about what I had read frequently, but I had no one to discuss it with. And secretly within myself I decided that when I came back stateside, if I should survive to come back stateside, I would come out as a gay person and I did.
PINE: For those of us in Public Morals, after the Stonewall incident things were completely changed from what they had previously been. They suddenly were not submissive anymore. They now suddenly had gained a new type of courage. And it seemed as if they didn't care anymore about whether their identities were made known. We were now dealing with human beings.
FAIRE: Today I live in a senior citizen apartment building. What's different now is that I can be free. I have a daughter who is a senior citizen and my son is 58. They know about my homosexuality. My three grandchildren in their thirties know about their grandmother. I have a great-granddaughter who at the age of ten learned that Grandma Jheri was a lesbian and she thought that was most interesting. And yet I still don't have the personal courage to not care if these yentas in the building know that Jheri's a lesbian.
PINE: Well, I retired from the police department in 1976. Twenty years have passed. I'm going to be 70 in a few months. I still don't know the answers. I would still like to know the answers. I would like to know whether I was wrong or whether I was right in ever thinking that there was a difference, in ever thinking that maybe you shouldn't trust a homosexual because something is missing in his personality.
NESTLE: The archives of lesbian culture, which surrounds us now and was created four years after Stonewall, owes, at least for my part, it's creation to that night and the courage that found its voice in the streets. That night, in some very deep way, we finally found our place in history. Not as a dirty joke, not as a doctor's case study, not as a freak -- but as a people.
RIVERA: Today I'm a 38-year-old drag queen. I can keep my long hair, I can pluck my eyebrows, and I can work wherever the hell I want. And I'm not going to change for anybody. If I changed, then I feel that I'm losing what 1969 brought into my life, and that was to be totally free.
(Music: "How can I ever close the door and be the same as I was before?")
ISAY: I'm David Isay.
Producer: David Isay with Michael Schirker / Editor: Amy Goodman / Mix engineer: Spider Ryder at WNYC / Funding provided by the Pacifica National Program Fund. Photograph by Harvey Wang.
Where do you find this stuff? LOL
I saw a story on the Boston Fox affiliate last night, that the family of Jeffrey Curley, a nine year old boy who was murdered, THEN sodomized by two men several years ago, filed suit against NAMBLA, and, after a year, they are STILL waiting for a ruling by the judge. They are maintaining that the perps kidnapped their son using suggestions from a NAMBLA website. There were materials in one of the perp's cars that had been printed from that website which essentially told men how to lure young boys and provided information about how to gain their trust. Jeffrey's father says that NAMBLA should be held partly responsible for his son's death because they told the perps how to do it.
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