Beth Kelly

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GW-04 - Beth Kelly published the article 'On woman/girl love, or lesbians do "do it", in Gay Community News, 3 March, 1979. 

It is mentioned in a Dutch translation in the Dutch book Op een oude fiets moet je het leren, about female girl love. 

Her case can be found online in Tom O'Carroll's Paedophilia: The Radical Case, Chapter 4: 

Beth Kelly, now mature in years, and a radical lesbian feminist, who, as a 'precocious' eight year old, developed a relationship with a grown woman? She writes: 

"The first woman I ever loved sexually was my great-aunt; our feelings for each other were deep, strong, and full. The fact that she was more than fifty years older than I did not affect the bond that grew between us. And, yes, I knew what I was doing - every step of the way - even though I had not, at the time, learned many of the words with which to speak of these things. 

Aunt Addie was a dynamic, intelligent, and creative woman - who refused, all her life, to be cowed by convention. In an extended family where women played out 'traditional' housewifely roles to the hilt, she stood out, a beacon of independence and strength. She was a nurse in France during the First World War, had travelled, read books, and lived for over twenty years in a monogamous relationship with another woman. 

Her lover's death pre-dated the start of our sexual relationship by about two years. But we had always been close and seen a great deal of each other. In the summers, which my mother, brother and I always spent at her seashore home, we were together daily. In other seasons, she would drive to visit us wherever we were living, and often stayed for a month or so at a time. 

I adored her; that's all there was to it. I had never been taught at home that heterosexual acts or other body functions were dirty or forbidden, and I'd been isolated enough from other children to manage to miss a lot of the usual sexist socialisation learned in play.

It never occurred to me that it might be considered 'unnatural' or 'antisocial' to kiss or touch or hold the person I loved, and I don't think that Addie was terribly concerned by such things either. I do know that I never felt pressured or forced by any sexual aspects of the love I felt for her. I think I can safely say, some twenty years later, that I was never exploited physically emotionally, or intellectually - in the least."

As so often happens, this joyous liaison eventually foundered on the rocks of parental disapproval, when Beth's mother chanced upon her and Addie in bed together. But disapproval of paedophilia or, rather, disapproval of child sexuality, has a significance far beyond its disastrous impact on the lives of the relatively limited numbers of children and adults in paedophilic relationships. 

The impact of the sex-negative outlook has to be seen in a wider societal context in order to appreciate its full significance.

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