In 2012 Stephen James and Adam Powell initiated the 'Forum for the Understanding of Minor Attraction' (FUMA). The plan was to form a group of  'minor-attracted people' (MAPs), partly for the purpose of peer support, but also to try and find a way of communicating with the 'outside world' about the realities of living with minor attraction and attempt to combat stereotypes of MAPs.

One of our first acts was to found a private blog, also called FUMA, which was intended to provide a means for planning group activities, but could also be used for raising general issues and for 'therapeutic' discussion if members wished it. The idea was that the membership of the FUMA group would essentially be the membership of the blog, though this did not work out in practice, as some people interested in being involved in the group did not want to join the blog.

The other means of disseminating information and making decisions, besides the blog, was the holding of meetings in London, whose regularity varied at different times from monthly to about three or four times a year. These meetings were always attended by Adam and (except towards the end) by Stephen and any other members who were able to attend. They often served as social occasions as well as formal meetings. The more formal sections mainly involved discussion of the various projects described below plus attempts to  develop an overall philosophy for  the group. There was never any constitution or formal structure, as the membership was tiny and so it seemed that it could be run in a relatively informal way.

'Stop It Now!'

Adam had already been involved in discussions with Donald Findlater, Director of 'Stop it Now!', regarding the operation of their organisation. We understand that 'Stop it Now!' in the Netherlands is relatively enlightened, but sadly the same cannot be said of the British branch, which appears to be primarily intent on conversion therapy for MAPs.

Adam, who had himself been on the receiving end of the 'care' provided by 'Stop it Now!', tried to persuade Findlater that minor attraction is a sexual orientation and cannot be eradicated.

  • (Cases in which individuals appear to be 'cured' nearly always seem to involve non-exclusive MAPs who already had some attraction to adults in addition to their attraction to minors.)

Exchanges with Findlater continued after the founding of FUMA with the blog used to discuss progress (or lack of it). Eventually, Stephen also talked directly with Findlater via E-mail. However, none of these exchanges led to to any concrete results.

We did attempt to contact other mental health professionals working with MAPs as well as academics who appeared to be sympathetic to a more progressive agenda, with a view to interesting them in the work of our group, but unfortunately with no success.

A Documentary?

A more promising project, at least initially, began when we made contact with a group of film students who were planning to make a documentary about minor attraction. We had a long discussion with one of the students, a young woman, who seemed curious and open-minded. Both of us are quite radical in our views, tending to favour decriminalisation of consensual sexual relationships between adults and minors. Our potential documentary-maker did not appear unfazed by this. A few weeks later, however, we received an e-mail from another member of her team telling us that owing to an  'artistic rethink', they would no longer be requiring our services. Readers should draw their own conclusions.

'Mental Health Care'

Another project was more successful, perhaps because it only involved members of FUMA. Stephen interviewed (by E-mail), or received statements from, three members regarding their experiences as minor attracted people with mental health care professionals. Unsurprisingly, their experiences were mostly negative. The accounts were edited by Stephen and put together in a short paper, which also drew some brief conclusions about how mental health care for MAPs could be improved. A copy of the paper can be found here .

In June 2017, Stephen underwent a crisis in his personal life (but not of a criminal nature), which unfortunately necessitated his leaving FUMA. Soon afterwards, Adam wound down the group entirely.

Looking back

Looking back over the history of FUMA's development, some observers may wonder whether it couldn't have achieved more. We believe that this disappointment is so to some extent justified and that there are two connected reasons for the lack of any concrete progress.

Firstly, FUMA never had a true website. The closest thing to one was the blog, but this was private to existing members of the FUMA group. The reason that we didn't have a website was that no member of FUMA was either able or willing to create one. Not having a website meant that knowledge of the group, and hence the numbers joining, were very limited. Recruitment was carried out by posting occasional messages on [the Forum] Heretic TOC and other places – these did bring in new members, but not in great numbers.

There was almost a vicious circle here. We needed at least one member both able and willing to create and maintain a public website for FUMA, but we also needed to have such a website already in order to produce the publicity needed to attract a pool of members large enough to contain a potential webmaster in the first place!

The other reason was that apart from Adam and Stephen, there were no members willing to give concrete help in running the group. (Or possibly we did not make sufficiently clear our need for such help.) There were certainly members who contributed to general discussions both on the blog and at the London meeting. This was positive, but we also needed people who could contribute practical ideas and skills.

Website design skills have already been mentioned, but there was also a need for ideas about how we could best move forward – for example, who in the mental health profession could we contact to help us change attitudes and practices in that sphere? What else could we do to advance FUMA's goals? We needed people to suggest concrete answers to these questions and provide help in implementing them. This is not meant as a criticism. It is not, after all, very easy to know how to progress in such a difficult situation. And perhaps we ourselves could have handled things better. But putting aside questions of fault and blame, it is simply a fact that this was the situation in which we found ourselves.

Towards the end of its life Adam changed the focus of FUMA to an academic discussion group which proved to be popular for the eighteen months prior to November 2018 when Adam emigrated to the Netherlands. During this time the following topics were discussed but the list is not exhaustive:

A List of Topics

1. Adoption of children in the Netherlands by minor attracted persons in the 1970s
2. The history of the JON [*] and the Dutch Society of Sexual Reform [**]
    [* < https://www.jorisoost.nl/english.html >],
    [* < http://www.sexualskills.co.uk/ >]
3. The UK draft Investigative Powers Bill
4. UK Human Rights Act 1998
5. UK Equality Acts 2006 and 2010
6. Situationism and the career of René Schérer
7. Feminism and Sexual Politics
8. The career of Michel Foucault
9. UK Gay Liberation Front (1970-3)
10. The philosophy of anarchism and its impact on sexual politics
11. Youth liberation and democratic schooling
12. The persecution of Christians in Pakistan
13. Prostitution in the Netherlands