IS IT CHILD ABUSE, GAY PORN OR OUR LITERARY HERITAGE?
by emu Nugent 
biggest score of the month never got near the sports pages.
Male cheerleaders who write sports stories can't be sniffing a guy's jock
one day and exposing him as a
'fag' the next. The score: 52 counts of 'sexual abuse, sodomy, and various
sexual acts' between seven boys aged 11 to 18, and coach B.F., aged 28.
B.F.., a football coach of the junior varsity at a N.Y. state high
school, was arrested.
Evidently some of the little motherfuckers
are 'fuck and tell' types, and after
enjoying their unorthodox post-practice pleasures with the coach,
ratted on him, playing 'victim' roles.
Having sex with boys on the team
is definitely breaking training rules, and though the kids had strictly
Little League pricks, B.F. was unable to resist their hot little asses
- nor they him.
boys go through the masochistic tortures of athleticism is to
avoid being 'queer.' But often their desire to have fun outweighs their
desire to have respect.
like some scoutmasters, are similarly torn by conflict. They get
caught in a vicious circle. To
show they're 'straight' they enter a
career that is the straightest, but also, at the same time, the most insanely
erotic, with boys constantly pulling off their jock straps and shorts.
are America's true homosexuals. They show contempt for 'broads' and 'fags' and
save their affection for each other. It's a negative love based on fear of
bullying but a deep love nonetheless. Homosexuals
have comparatively casual sex; these jocks crave each other."
is not one of his sex stories, but a piece of McDonald journalism.
his books are likely to be banned in Australia because of their unapologetic
mention of (amongst other things) under-age males.
Customs have seized copies of two of Boyd McDonald's books, along with other
titles, and are holding them pending prosecution. Two men in Western Australia
are currently before the courts for importing this kind of so called 'child
pornography'. A third has already been sentenced. I suspect there are more men
who have quietly pleaded guilty. The charge of being a 'child pornographer' is
hardly something that anyone stands up to shout about.
if the prosecutions continue to go unchallenged, it is possible that all gay
books that dare to talk about sex between adults and under-age males will be
liable to a restrictive classification and banning. There is no 'R' certificate
for books (or films) that mention under-age sex.
law says that any depiction of a child under the age of 16 that 'offends a
reasonable adult' is child pornography and must be banned.
reasonable person would defend the abuse of children in the making of
pornography, although there might be a more affective way to prevent this abuse
rather than by the dubious method of book burning. The issue here, however, is
whether these books are pornography and whether any child is being abused. Is
Australian Customs, in fact, interpreting the laws to bash the readers of
mainstream gay literature? Perhaps. Although it seems as likely that they are
flexing their muscles, and the muscles of a fairly new and authoritarian law, by
targeting particular publications; those most likely to offend a straight
audience, and which better than those about gay youths. No jury is likely to
acquit a 'child pornographer'. What is certain is that Customs have been
encouraged by a not always educated, sometimes hysterical, and almost always
homophobic approach within Australia to the public discussion of children's
gay law reform, let us remember that it is still illegal for anyone
under the age of 16 to have sex anywhere
recent banning of BAISE MOI from Australian cinemas is only one example of the
way the right wing has taken over the debate and control of censorship in this
country. Senator Brian Harradine and co.'s past manipulative stranglehold on the
Upper House of the Federal Parliament,
along with the frightened Christian leadership of both major parties, has
allowed some strange laws to slip into being. The 1995 censorship laws amongst
after gay community leaders (whoever they might be, and with whatever mandate?)
decided to scotch any discussion of intergenerational sexual encounters, in
favour of appeasing homophobic governments for a limited accession to 'gay
rights' and HIV/AIDS funding, it is high time we looked again at an issue that
has perpetually dogged any Western view of homosexuality.
wonder. The theme of man-boy love has occupied a major place in gay male
writings from antiquity to the present. If we see that as a crime, then we are
condemning a large genre of Western literature and art to the censor's bonfire,
for hardly any writer on male homosexuality since Plato has not dealt with the
subject of man-boy love.
paintings and sculpture present an even more illuminating display of undressed
adolescents; they have often been created by avowed lovers of boys. All those
rude Greek vases and monuments, Caravaggio's
wicked oils (the ones which are not coming to Australia in the ITALIAN MASTERS
exhibition); the innumerable Ganymedes and Davids, especially Donatello's
von Gloeden's posings of Greek youths; "Zack's" raunchy comics;
Donald Friend's sketches; Will McBride's sculpture and photography, to mention
just a few.
overwhelming preoccupation with the subject of man-boy love might well beg the
question why? Are gay men really more perverted than everyone else? Or, do gay
men have a tradition of having to scrutinise our sexual desires, and celebrating
them in a way not required or possible by heterosexuals? A tradition that needs
to be urgently defended, not just from prudes on the political right but also
from those timid souls who have misunderstood the last 20 years of revelations
about sex between adult and under-age males.
publications that Australian Customs have currently targeted include Kevin
Esser's novel STREETBOY DREAMS, the now defunct journal
PAIDIKA, the Dutch magazine KOINOS, Fidelity Publishing's SCUM, Gay Sunshine
Press' FLESH, and Alyson publication's MY FIRST TIME. All of which (apart from
Koinos) have been readily available in bookshops in Australia and grace many of
our own bookshelves.
publications do look at sexual relationships between men and under-age males.
But describing, depicting, writing about or discussing a relationship is not
necessarily the same as "promoting"
or condoning that relationship. Although even that should not be illegal. In
Australia we have a constitutional right (of sorts) to freedom of political
expression. This should include the
right to discuss our sexualities in a positive way, and to call for the
abolition of pointless anti-sex laws. And by this, I include "age of
consent" laws, which are arbitrary, impractical and obviously do not
protect children from rape.
burying our heads in the sand if we try to pretend that loving, gay,
intergenerational relationships do not occur. Unfortunately, it has been a
tactic of the child-abuse industry to suppress any discussion that opposes their
own rigid analysis of young people's sexuality. But, as is clear to anyone who
has been abused, burying a problem will not make it go away.
Ask any child.
is not just young people who are banned from reading or seeing many books,
films, video's and magazines. All Australians are living in a nanny state, where
our rights to self-determination are increasingly abrogated in the name of
creating 'safer' communities. Successive Australian governments in a fervour
of right-wing triumphalism are getting away, unchallenged, with using the
Australian Customs Service and the Office of Film and Literature Classification
to encroach upon people’s ability to even find, let alone "to read, hear
and see what we want"
in the way of good books, films, or whatever. And we must resist them.
© emu Nugent June 2002
Click on the note [*] to go back to the text
emu Nugent is a
long-time gay activist and storyteller. He is one of the men charged by
Customs with importing 'child pornography' into Australia.
Boyd McDonald PLAYING WITH PLAYERS in Meat: True Homosexual Experiences From
S.T.H. volume 1, Gay Sunshine Press 1981. Boyd McDonald died in 1993. Later
printings are bowdlerised.
And only legal
since September 2002 for men between 16 - 21 to have gay sex in Western
Australia, this is red-neck country.
See David Marr's Dispatches
From The Republic Of Salo in THE HIGH PRICE OF HEAVEN, Allen and Unwin,
See Adam Carr's
rationale of the demise of the 'pedophilia' debate in QUESTIONS OF CONSENT,
OutRage March 1997, and his queer use of quotation marks. Also at
Peter Robb's impressive M, Duffy and Snellgrove 1998.
James Saslow's Pictures and Passions, Penguin 1999. A book that is stuffed
with combustible material.
MEATMEN vols 22 and 23, "Zack" is always careful of course to give
his boys an 18th birthday party.
53rd most popular gay book on the Association of Lesbian and Gay Men's
Publishers web site, see www.publishingtriangle.com
is an offence under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations to promote
www.Butterworths.com.au: "The Commonwealth Constitution ss 7, 24, read
in context, require the members of the Senate and the House of
Representatives to be directly chosen at elections by the people. This
requirement embraces all that is
necessary to effectuate the free election of representatives... Integral to
the system is a freedom of public discussion of public affairs and political
and economic matters among all members of the community."
from the rather
cynical first principle of the National Classification Code, in the
Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1975.