Where the Boys Are
*WHERE THE BOYS ARE*
A Spy dialogue with Joe Powers, spokesman for the
North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)
SPY: Your group describes itself as a support group.
How would you explain this?
JOE POWERS: We support in the sense that we advocate changing
the law and by our very presence sort of help other boy-lovers
out there who haven't organized, who haven't come out -- potentially
even to themselves -- to see that there are people who are willing
to put their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor on the line and
come out and say "No, I'm not a bad person for being [who] I am."
SPY: In other cultures such as ancient Greece, man-boy sex was
not only accepted, but fairly widespread. Why do you think
Americans have a problem with it?
JP: Well...certainly there is a strong Puritan stream in this country,
has been from the beginning, that's always sort of tug-of-war with the
more libertarian aspects of the culture, and there's also certainly the
feeling that every time a group seems to come along and get their
civil rights, there's an inevitable backlash, not necessarily against them,
but against perhaps the next group down the line.
SPY: What is it that you like so much about young boys?
JP: Oh, gee, I don't know...what is that you like so
much about adult women, if that's what attracts you. It's
really hard to say specifically. I know in my own case
I love the spontaneity, I love the smile, the bubbling
laughter, just the joy in life.
SPY: So it's more of an attitude?
JP: There's a lot of attitude to it. I certainly find boys
aesthetically more attractive.
SPY: At what age do boys cease to be attractive?
Um, in my own case, certainly I can only speak to my own
experience, it's not so much a case of boys, young men,
becoming unattractive, it's just more a case of I don't happen
to find as much of an erotic component to any sort of relationship.
SPY: What's sort of interesting is there that seems to be
a building time limit. If you were to develop a relationship
with a boy, he would inevitably grow out of it, or would he?
JP: Well, in many cases, no, in the sense that a relationship can
very easily last a lifetime. I've known, if not carnally, but I've
known boys and they've grown up into men and we're still friends
and some of them have gone off, gotten married, started having
kids of their own. They don't think of me as a terrible person
and that was something they did way in the past. We're still
friends. The erotic part of the relationship, the sexual
attraction part of the relationship, may have declined over
time, but that simply means that other aspects of the relationship
come to the forefront.
SPY: How young is young?
JP: too young is when they aren't interested. That's also too
old. I would say that the specific age, I mean certainly there
is a lower limit to the age at which I consider an erotic
component to an attraction.
SPY: What would that be?
JP: In my case, oh, probably 10 or 12ish. you know, it's
simply a case of age isn't exactly the right determinant. It's
desire, it's maturity level, it's interest in any sort of
relationship, and that varies from person to person.
SPY: Is pubic hair a turn-off?
JP: I'm not terribly attracted to it, but I wouldn't say it's
SPY: Do you think that Batman and Robin are an example of a
positive portrayal of man-boy love?
Well, it's certainly interesting that an awful lot of the
movies lately have been more enjoyable. Although, it
is very interesting that the person they cast as Robin in the most recent
"Batman" movie is in his twenties. I think that was a conscious
decision to absolutely and positively stay away from the whole
question. I think one of the better movies to come along recently
on that subject has been "The Man Without a Face." The book
was even better, but the movie captured a great deal of that.
SPY: I didn't see "the Man Without a Face." Were there any
undercurrents of man-boy love, or was it overt?
JP: Um, there were undercurrents. It was downplayed somewhat more
in the movie then in the book. The book made it pretty clear and
the author himself has made it pretty clear, that in the book, the
boy did feel an erotic attraction for the man. That certainly, if
would say, has been sort of the touchstone for man-boy
relationships in movies recently.
SPY: Are there any other examples? I guess this is an old show,
but "Chico and the Man?"
JP: I remember the name of the show, I don't remember much about
it. I think a better one would have been, if you're talking
popular culture, TV shows,"Starman."
SPY: What do you about with an eleven year old boy and how
would you steer the conversation towards sex?
JP: Well I generally don't steer the conversation to wards sex.
You know, if that's something that he wants to talk bring up, I
try to be as open and honest about it as I can be. In general,
what I talk about are things he is interested in, that I am
interested in. I have enjoyed over the years helping kids with
their homework and maybe teaching them a little extra history,
or things like that. There's very much a pedagogic component
to my attraction, which is very common thing for a lot of boy-lovers....
SPY: Would you consider Michael Jackson an official or
unofficial member of NAMBLA?
JP: If he wants to be, that would be great. If he doesn't want
to be, that's fine too. I'm not interested in dragging the
unwilling into the fold. I'm interested in persuading with
as much logic and emotion as I can the rightness of my position
just as everyone else....
SPY: What is your ultimate sexual fantasy?
JP: Gosh, I don't know -- inheriting the Philippines?... I would
love to have a really wonderful relationship -- sexual
relationship -- with a boy. One that made a real difference,
a positive difference, in his life. That to me would be the
ultimate erotic turn-on. It would be the idea that I have
made a difference.
SPY: Where are the best places to meet young boys?
JP: Well, I've been not terribly active in pursuing that
sort of thing, but I would say the places to meet boys are
where boys are. Arcades. Parks. Whatever.
SPY: What is your day job?
JP: I'm a computer programmer.
SPY: Are a large number of scoutmasters members of NAMBLA?
JP I have absolutely no idea, but I suspect not.
SPY: What is your favorite movie?
JP: "The Lion in Winter"...My second favorite is probably,
"The Muppet Movie."
SPY: What is your favorite TV show?
JP: Um...hard to say. I actually don't watch a lot of TV,
but I would say, if anything, "Home Improvement."
SPY: Coke or Pepsi?
JP: 7-Up. I'm totally decaffed.
SPY: Are you a Democrat of Republican
SPY: Who is your favorite politician?
JP: Who do I hate the least, huh?...Barry Goldwater.
SPY: There's a rumor going around that Mister Rodgers and Captain
Kangaroo co-founded NAMBLA. Is that true?
JP: No, it was Beany and Cecil.
SPY: Beany and Cecil?
JP: Old TV series. No, there is no truth to that rumor. They're
both fine gentlemen who have done wonderful things for kids
over the years. No, as far as i know, neither of them is a
member of NAMBLA.
SPY: Off the record, are there any celebrities who are members?
JP: We don't go into who's on our membership rolls at all.
It wouldn't be fair to people who have joined with exceptions
of a certain amount of privacy. We've had t work very hard
to make sure [of] that, because there are a lot of organizations
that would very much like to get our mailing list....
SPY: But there are some famous people?
JP: I'm sure that there are people who would join, except
they're afraid of what it would do to their careers.
(graphics from this article include; Batman and Robin on
the Batcycle and sidecar, and Will Robinson and Dr. Smith,
from "Lost in Space.")
This interview with NAMBLA was ripped off from SPY Magazine, Oct. 1995