Saturday, April 09, 2011


I spent all morning looking for the article on NAMBLA and it turned up on the 19th page of my SENT file. Even though I told Lydia Howell I was only getting my thoughts together for a possible future publication, I went ahead and published it on the Green Party of Minnesota discussion list. I thought I had put in either my Web page or blog but I was unable to locate it there.

I hope you get this article. As you can see in the addenda at the end, aol has placed a block on my email address so the I could not send email to aol addresses. They told me the block depends oon the number of complaints they receive so I guess a large number of complainants found my political views objectionable. I notice you have an aol address so I hope this doesn't keep this article from reaching you.

I'm sorry that I was unable to answer your question about whether the bounds of discussion allowed in our community had shrunk in the last thirty years. But the main thing I have noticed in the Minneapolis GLBTI communities is that there has been virtually no political discussion in its publications in recent years, not that the bounds of allowable discussion had shrunk. There may be an even broader range of siscussion on the Internet and facebook since it is harder to exclude unpopular groups from these media.

Robert Halfhill

AUGUST 13, 2006

On August 8, 2006, Lydia Howell posted David Thorstad's
article, "Marriage, Marketing, Tailending: The U.S. Left and Same Sex
Marriage," stating that "I adamantly oppose the aims of NAMBLA but, I

do think Thorstad raises some interesting critiques and points that
are food for thought."
I do not know what Lydia Howell thinks the aims of NAMBLA (North
American Man-Boy Love Association) are. However, NAMBLA only
supports CONSENSUAL sexual relations between people of any age, no
matter how old or how young and no matter how wide the difference in
age between the consensual partners is. NAMBLA does not support rape
and tales about NAMBLA owning a Lear Jet to fly children from any
area of the country to its members are not true.
D.J. West in his HOMOSEXUALITY pointed out that the sublime
discussions of love by Socrates in Plato's SYMPOSIUM were about
what "we would call perversion." For those Gays who condemn NAMBLA
and sex with people under whatever is the magic age of consent in the
particular jurisdiction in question, that is also precisely what
Socrates was expounding on in the SYMPOSIUM. Although not all Gays
are attracted to males under the arbitrary age of consent, those Gays
who dismiss sex with underage persons as criminal are saying that
Socrates, Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and Walt Whitman
should have been put in jail!
Wainwright Churchill in HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR AMONG MALES pointed
out that Western Culture is one of the most erotophobic cultures
known. Conservatives view sex as evil. But even liberals and
radicals, although they claim they view sex as good, also conceive
sex as good but also dangerous, just as electricity is good but can
also kill you if your are not careful, and also view sex as good only
if it can be justified by marriage or love. Very few people believe
that sex can be enjoyed for its own sake. Recreational sex is good
in itself and needs no additional justification, although it is even
better if it is conjoined with love.
We need to ask ourselves why people get so upset over CONSENSUAL
sex between an adult and a child and assume that somehow the child
has been damaged. If the sex is consensual and enjoyed by both
partners, then, once we have got beyond the erotophobia of our
culture, is is obvious that no harm has been done but, in fact, only
good if both partners enjoyed the encounter. Research has shown that
no harm is done to the child if the people around him or her to not
get so upset. I remember reading in popular magazine articles
about child rearing in the 1950 that the child was unlikely to be
irrevocably damaged by a sexual encounter with an adult if the adults
around the child did not indicate that they now believed he or she
was irreparable damaged or, even worse, that they now thought he or
she was "bad."
I have thought that I should write something for the various Green
discussion lists about my views on this subject but, so far, the
occasion to do so has not come up. I am writing this to you off
list in order to organize my thoughts for a response to your post on
list. The nearest I have come to writing about this on list was to
forward a post about the hysteria and witch hunts around the country
about child adult sex to the Minnesota and 5th district Green
discussion lists. Even this provoked an email from Mark Snyder
asking why I had posted the article and adding, gratuitously, that
the posts must always be in the context of respect for others. I do
not know what his remark about respect for others had to do with
anything since my forwarding the post was not even in reply to anyone
else. I replied, saying that the hysteria and witch hunting over
child adult sex was likely to have a negative effect on GLBTI'S. He
replied, saying that I should post an explanation of the relevance of
my post but, in the press of other work, I never got around to it.
And this witch hunt about child adult sex has had a negative
effect on many people, not just GLBTI'S. The California scandal over
the Little Rascals day care center, operated by Peggy MacMartin-
Buckley, one of her children, and her grandson, Raymond Buckley,
continued for a decade and cost millions of dollars in legal expenses
before it was established that the state had no case and the case was
dismissed. By that time, Peggy MacMartin-Buckley and Raymond Buckley
has been in prison for years and Peggy MacMartin-Buckley had been
assaulted by other inmates who knocked out all her teeth. Peggy
MacMartin-Buckley tried to sue the state but the judge dismissed her
suit, saying that as long as state officials had acted in good faith,
they were immune from suit. That may be the way the law IS but it is
not the way it SHOULD BE. The law should provide that if a person
has been imprisoned for years unjustly, there should be a law
providing them with enough monetary compensation to make them wealthy
for the rest of their life.
But there are some additional comments Thorstad made in his attack
on the demand for same sex marriage and equal marital rights for Gays
and Lesbians that require a reply. He attacks the demand for same
sex marriage as an attempt by Gays and Lesbians to assimilate to
heterosexuals and achieve middle class respectability and says it
only became popular after the numbers of Gays and Lesbians who poured
out of the closet in response to Anita Bryant's Save Our Children
campaign made it safe for more conservative Gays and Lesbians to come
out. He claims that the recent decisions against same sex marriage
in five state courts "may have sounded the death knell for this issue
in the United States, even if it did not drive a stake through its
It no more "sounded the death knell" than the Hardwick
decision "sounded the death knell" for the fight against sodomy
laws. And no more than the Hawaii Supreme Court's deliberately
delaying its final decision until the voters had time to amend their
state constitution to allow marital discrimination against Gays and
Lesbians "sounded the death knell" for same sex marriage in the
1990's. It no more sounded "the death knell" than Plessey v.
Fergerson sounded "the death knell" for the fight against separate
but equal in the 1890's. And it cannot "sound the death knell" as
the United States becomes more and more unique among the advanced
industrial democracies in not guaranteeing the right of same sex
marriage with the nearest counter example being in Canada, right over
our northern border.
Thorstad also denounced hate crimes legislation as a manifestation
of identity politics and as "thought crimes legislation." Hate
crimes legislation is not thought crimes legislation. Intent
or "thoughts" have long been legitimate considerations in the law.
An example is intent being considered in distinguishing between
first, second and third degree murder and distinguishing those from
first and second degree manslaughter. Intent is necessary in
determining which of these five crimes have been committed and
therefore, the severity of the sentence imposed.
Furthermore, a hate crime against a member of a particular
minority group heightens fear among other members of that group than
a generic crime against a member of the general public can heighten
fear among members of the general population.
Also, hate crimes against a member of a minority increase the
probability of crimes, i.e. acts, against other members of that
group. Prosecutors are likely to assign a higher probability to
prosecuting crimes that have a higher sentence. And the successful
prosecution of a hate crime can undercut the general impression that
people have carte blanche to attack members of unpopular minorities
and therefore lower the probability of further crimes, I.E. ACTS,
against that unpopular minority.
Thorstad argues that "there is no such thing as'gay people' --
only homosexual acts -- that this was an abstract concept that erased
fluidity and ambiguity and discovery, that diverted attention from
decriminalizing consensual sexual acts that everyone had the
potential to engage in, regardless of their sexual identity, and that
turned freedom from sexual oppression into a question of mere
identity politics."
Thorstad is defending the position popular in much
contemporary "modern thought," that Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals,
Transgender and Intersexed People have no existence as objectively
existing groups and are mere "socially constructed" categories which
are not even present in most cultures.
It is true that the less GLBTI's are singled out and persecuted in
some societies, the less Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender
People and Intersexed People are less likely to think of themselves
distinct groups and if there were a society that lacked any such
singling out, Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals in that society might not
think of themselves as separate groups at all, that society's view
being only that some people liked only sex with the opposite sex,
other people liked only sex with their own sex, and that others liked
However, even in that hypothetical society, it would still be an
objective fact about people that they desired sex with the same,
opposite or both genders. And if that hypothetical society did not
consider it important whether a person identified as being the same
as or the opposite of their bodily gender, maybe Transgender Persons
would not think of themselves as separate groups but it would still
be an objective fact about them whether they identified as the same
or opposite of their bodily gender. And if that hypothetical society
did not consider it important whether people were born with ambiguous
and not distinct male or female genitalia, maybe Intersexed People
would not think of themselves as a distinct group either, the general
impression in that society being only that some people were born with
distinct male or female genitalia and that some were born with
ambiguous genitalia. However, it would still be an objective fact
about Intersexed People in that hypothetical society that their
genitalia were not definitely either male or female.
Jonathan Katz abandoned his earlier view in GAY AMERICAN HISTORY
that Gayness and Lesbianism were objective traits for the view that
Gays and Lesbians were "socially constructed" categories with no
objective existence in his later GAY AND LESBIAN ALMANAC. He went
from, for instance, the true statement that the early puritans
thought in terms of specific people who committed the specific crimes
of engaging in sex with members of their own gender, sex with
children, sex with animals, etc and not in terms of groups such as
homosexuals, pedophiles and pederasts, zoophiliacs, etc to the false
statement that the puritans apparently had an undifferentiated sexual
attraction to both sexes, adults and children, animals, etc. An
example that will make this clear is skin color. It means different
things in other societies and is categorized differently than it is
in contemporary
American society. It has even been categorized differently at
earlier times in American society. In the early twentieth century,
Finns were not considered white. I suppose if there were a society
that had gotten beyond racial prejudice, different skin colors might
not mean any more than different hair colors do today. But the
actual color of the skin remains the same, no matter how it is
categorized in different societies. An analogous error to the error
Katz made in the case of sexual orientation would be as if he said
with respect to our hypothetical society that had gotten beyond
racial prejudice that the people in that society apparently had skins
of an indeterminate color instead of skins that were white, black,
brown, yellow or red!
This modern attempt to consider Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals,
Transgender People and Intersexed People as mere "socially
constructed" categories instead of separate peoples with a proud
history erases our proud history and ties in with the wimpy tendency
of "modern," middle class, thought to avoid taking a definite
position on anything. It also ties in with the tendency that
decries of less proud and militant Gays and Lesbians to want to blend
in and assimilate with the heterosexual majority. After all, as so
many post Stonewall Gays and Lesbians are fond of saying, "I'm just a
human being."!!!! To paraphrase Jesse Jackson, we were born Gay or
Lesbian among the heterosexuals, not heterosexual in Gay or Lesbian!!!
Thorstad argues that identity politics and considering GLBTI's
to be actual real groups instead of socially constructed categories
relegates "gay liberation to a nearly weightless interest group."
However, 10% of the population can in no sense be considered "nearly
weightless." Thorstad says supporting equal rights for "gay
is "something any liberal capitalist could support," ignoring the
fact that capitalism has certainly dug in its heels against even
tolerating GLBTI'S, let along granting us equal rights. Thorstad
says identity politics has degenerated into the reductio ad absurdum
of an "alphabet soup" of acronyms, "GLBT, LGBT, GLBTQIA,
etc." I too
considered it absurd to go beyond GLBT until I realized that people
born with indeterminate genitalia are an objectively existing group
and conceded that ONE more group had to be added. However, I
it absurd to divide the groups into subgroups, such as Transgender
People into Tsub 1, Tsub2, etc. And Q for Questioning People is
unnecessary since all the questioning people will fit into one or the
other five categories. And I forget what A stands for. It seems as
if people have gotten caught up in a contest to prove how politically
correct they are by thinking up a new category to add.
However, Gays and Lesbians are separate communities in that many,
though not all, Gays and Lesbians have the majority of their social
network among others Gays or Lesbians. The old bromide "speak for
yourself" is irrelevant here since the statement is based on my
observation of other Gays and Lesbians. And Bisexuals are subject to
bigotry from both the heterosexual and Gay and Lesbian communities,
so they will qualify as a separate group also. And whether people
identify as the same gender as their bodily gender or whether they
were botn with indeterminate genitalia are objectively true facts
about them so Transgender and Intersexed People will also qualify as
separate groups. The majority heterosexual society until recently
thought of us as all one group and lumped us all together so we
tended to
think of ourselves as one group also. But we are not one community
but a coalition of five separate communities, each with its own
distinctive set of overlapping, through similar, oppressions and each
with a distinct need for our own separate organizations as well as a
need to act in coalition with one another.
Thorstad argues that " in all the ink spilled over gay marriage,
other forms of marriage are not even countenanced, such as polygamy
or between men and boys, as in the Siwa Oasis." He says "The State
should get out of the marriage business. Society should extend
recognition to all kinds of civil union arrangements between
consenting individuals, whether man and woman, , man and man, woman
and woman, man and boy, grandparent and grandchild, communal
arrangements, and so on. Marriage should be relegated to the purely
private and religious domain. Every citizen should be treated
equally before the state and be guaranteed the same rights and
privileges, without regard to conjugal or marital status. Separate
church and state!"
Thorstad dismisses the demand for Gay marriage as part of " the
gay assimilationist agenda" -- incidentally, Thorstad's consistent
refusal to capitalize Gay demonstrates the extent to which HE has
been sucked into the Gay assimilationist agenda -- and states
that "Oddly, left groups that uncritically support gay marriage are
silent about the way marriage is treated in Cuba." He quotes Vilma
Espin, birth name Mariela Castro, Raul Castro's daughter and Fidel
Castro's niece, who when asked if Cuban Gays are going to demand a
right to marriage, "pointed to Cuba's casual approach to marriage and
its no-fault divorce." "Marriage is not as important in Cuba as in
other more Catholic countries," she said. "Here consensual pairing
is more important. What matters is love." Thorstad concluded: "So
far, Cuban Gays have not demanded marriage. If they use their head,
they won't."
First, the fact that I want to affirm any relationship I succeed
establishing in a ceremony before the community does not mean I want
to ape straights or assimilate to them.
Second is is disingenious and avoiding the issue for Vilma Espin
to assert that marriage is not as important in Cuba as in other
Catholic countries as long as Cuba still legally recognizes opposite
sex but not same sex marriage.
And third, while Thorstad is right in arguing that the concept of
marriage should be expanded to include man-boy relationships (as well
as women-girl relationships -- Linda Frankel was one of the few woman
members of NAMBLA), one husband and multiple wives and one wife and
multiple husbands, and group marriage or polyamory, and that the
concept of civil marriage or consensual contracts should be firmly
delineated from the concept of religious marriage which will be the
sole business of the particular religions involved, it is
unnecessary to replace the words "civil marriage" with "civil
contracts" once all that has been achieved. Civil marriage has
always had the meaning of a variety of marriage. My parents were
married in a civil ceremony before a Justice of the Peace in 1939 and
they, I and everybody else always considered them as MARRIED in the
usual sense, even if it was performed by a Justice of the Peace
instead of a minister, priest or rabbi. So a terminological change
is definitely not needed. But if that change is made, I want Gays
and Lesbians to win the right to civil marriage in the generally
accepted sense BEFORE we start calling it something else. Otherwise
it will look like the heterosexual majority has gotten away with
saying: "We don't want to admit Gays and Lesbians to MARRIAGE, which
only a man and a woman are good enough for. So we will abolish
marriage so we will only have to give them the inferior substitute of
consensual pairings and civil contracts. The only way we can stop
marriage from being sullied by Gays and Lesbians is to abolish it for
This seems to me very similar to the tactic of some public schools
in Utah which decided that if recognizing other student extra
cirricular clubs meant that they would be legally required to
recognize Gay Straight Alliances, then they just wouldn't recognize
ANY student extra cirricular clubs.
Finally, Thorstad concludes: "In the 1970's, much of the
left seemed to discover that the proletariat was unlikely to play the
historic and revolutionary role assigned to it by orthodox Marxism.
Leftists began to look around for 'new mass vanguards' and 'new
social movements' such as students, women, gays, third world
peoples. None of the groups have proven viable alternatives to the
proletariat that, in the West at least, shows no sign of acquiring a
revolutionary consciousness, or even of acting in its own self-
interest. And none have proven more easily coopted by the capitalist
system than homosexuals. This is the meaning of the marriage
However, the remark about "homosexuals" being the most easily
coopted is probably just a case of Thorstad assuming that the grass
is always greener on the other side of the fence. And it wasn't just
the left looking for new vanguard
groups. The growth and expanding influence of the GLBTI, the
Women's, etc movements forced the left to recognize them. All of
these groups will once more play a revolutionary role when the
political climate shifts back to the left.
And I hope that Thorstad still recognizes that as capitalism goes
deeper into crisis, it will be forced to attack the gains of the
workers, which will force the proletariat to act in its own self
interest, acquire a revolutionary consciousness and act once more in
a revolutionary manner.
Robert Halfhill (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)
*Write AOL to complain, here:, or call 1-