Philia

    December 1999

    Boylovers Provide Meeting Spaces for Concerned Outsiders
    By Heather Elizabeth Peterson
    Philia

    Rarely has so much effort been exerted to roll out the red carpet to critics. Religious and non-religious people concerned about the effects of pedophilia upon society are now welcome at a number of boylove discussion boards, including three forums especially designed for non-pedophiles. 

    Religious Debate Chat (RDC) was the first boylove board designed as a forum for outsiders. The current Webmaster of RDC, "not," explains that RDC was created in February 1998 by Alexis, a member of the secular boylove board BoyChat. RDC, "not" says, was "an almost tongue in cheek attempt to deflect religious arguments cum fundamentalist Christian preaching that were seen as unduly cluttering the already very busy BoyChat." 

    Since that time, "not" reports, the board has also served as "a place for frustrated non-believers to vent our anti-religious arguments," as a "bridge building" forum, and as a place "to explore a range of what many might call 'odd ball' beliefs." 

    The board remains open to non-pedophiles, says "not." "RDC still has an open door because that open door has never been seriously abused. It is happily a place for debate of ideas and reasonable respect for divergence." 

    BoyChat is not the only secular boylove board that has attracted non-pedophiles. La Garçonnière (LG), a discussion board for French-speaking boylovers, has attracted non-pedophiles who come to criticize boylove. 

    Sebastian, a participant at LG, was among those who believed that a new forum should be started that would be dedicated to discussions between pedophiles and non-pedophiles. "Ultimately, this place would be open to all those who are interested in the topic of pedophilia: pedophiles and non-pedophiles, defenders of our orientation, adversaries or those simply curious and wishing to form an opinion," he wrote at LG. 

    Sebastian proposed the name Pédagora for the new forum. "The agora in Greek indicated the great place where the assembly of the people sat to conduct public affairs. The prefix péd- comes from paidos, meaning child or young boy. Pédagora: a place of public discussion concerning childhood (in regards to pedophilia)." 

    Although started by boylovers, the creators of Pédagora hope to enlist the help of girl-lovers in the project, feeling that boylovers and girl-lovers have much in common. 

    Sebastian says that religious messages may be posted at Pédagora, which will open in January. "Michel Tournier once said: 'Je suis de substance chrétienne.' The same [is true] for me. Religion-related posts will of course be permitted, but it is not the [main] topic of Pédagora." 

    Both RDC and Pédagora are boylove-run forums. Another new discussion board, though, is run jointly by boylovers and non-boylovers. Close Encounters (CE), which opened in November, is the creation of Hooked, a boylover who wished to provide a place for "civilized dialogue." 

    "Outsiders are generally not welcome at BoyChat," he says. "Many posters seem to experience difficulty distinguishing between one-timer hit-and-run flamers and genuinely concerned individuals with a desire to learn. Similarly, the posts of self-announced boylovers attempting to refute the myths perpetrated about them were usually deleted from child abuse boards. There was an undeniable need for a neutral arena in which boylovers and non-boylovers alike could meet and discuss boylove." 

    Concerned to include non-pedophile input on the project, Hooked set up a committee composed of both boylovers and non-boylovers. The committee wrote the forum's documentation and helps to run the board. 

    Controversy has already arisen over Close Encounter's relationship with Free Spirits, a boylove organization which runs BoyChat and which owns the space in which CE appears. Babel-17 of the Free Spirits Committee reports that CE has been granted editorial independence from Free Spirits. The Close Encounters Committee, he says, is "free to monitor CE as it sees fit, including the use of the mission statement it has agreed upon. As far as the Free Spirits Committee is concerned, Close Encounters is whatever the CE Committee says it is." Debates continue, though, over whether it is appropriate for CE to be hosted within a boylove site. 

    Hooked says that religious threads are welcome at Close Encounters, and he predicts that numerous discussions will take place on the topic of faith and boylove. Many religious people, though, feel more comfortable posting at forums where others of their faith visit. For this reason, the Christian Boylove Forum (CBF) has attracted a number of visitors. 

    Although designed as a boylove forum, CBF states in its Frequently Asked Questions that non-pedophiles are welcome on the board. 

    "CBF seeks ways for boylovers and non-boylovers to interact that respect both parties and allow us to find common ground," says Bach, Webmaster of CBF. "The [no] 'flaming' etiquette rules apply to boylover and non-boylovers alike. We try to encourage people to be respectful with a minimum of intervention from the administrator." 

    Bach says that he has seen examples of situations where non-boylover participation has proved fruitful. 

    "Recently we were visited at CBF by a Christian person who works in the area of child advocacy," he says. "The very nature of the board astounded her to the point of her coming at us ranting and raving about how disgusting we were. I later learned from where she came and I approached the other board to try and start a dialogue. I didn't think that her initial post on CBF was helpful to the board, but did feel that a respectful communication and interaction could be beneficial. 

    "I got a response from a different child advocate that was reasonable," he adds. "A short dialogue both at CBF and the child advocacy board was, I think, positive for all who participated." 

    Hooked believes that the dialogue that takes place on boards like Close Encounters will aid mutual understanding between boylovers and non-pedophiles. 

    "I believe that organized discussion will prove an invaluable key to the end of blind hostilities," he says. "We need to see where the other is coming from, and that is currently not succeeding on strictly-boylove (and strictly-non-boylove) forums." 

    The author of this article is a member of the Close Encounters Committee.

    Related Links 

    Religious Debate Chat

    La Garçonnière

    Close Encounters 

    Christian Boylove Forum

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    © 1999 Heather Elizabeth Peterson
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