Pro-pedophile activism or Pro-paedophile activism (Commonwealth usage) encompasses pro-pedophile organizations and activists that argue for certain changes of criminal laws and cultural response in order to allow pedophiles to sexually abuse children. The obverse movement is anti-pedophile activism, which aims to protect children from predatory pedophiles. Goals of pro-pedophile activism also include removing the legal protection parents have to prevent their children falling into the hands of pedophiles, social acceptance of adults' sexual attraction to children, social acceptance of sexual activity between adults and children, and changes in institutions of concern to pedophiles, such as changing age of consent laws or mental illness classifications.Some pro-pedophile groups are involved in opposing vigilante groups that target anyone with a sexual attraction to children. 
Some pro-pedophile activists advocate social acceptance of what they consider to be adult romantic love  and sexual attraction to minors, as well as the legalization of what they believe to be non-abusive and mutually consenting adult-minor sexual activity, activity that is currently defined in most legal contexts as child sexual abuse. Other goals of pro-pedophile activism may, but do not necessarily, include the redefinition of contemporary authority relations between adults and minors, and the changing of institutions of concern to pedophiles, such as age of consent laws and mental disorder classifications.
Increasing public focus and disapproval of pedophilia has motivated more stringent legislation and stricter criminal penalties regarding child pornography, child sexual abuse, and the use of the internet to facilitate these activities. To consider pro-pedophile activism as a valid political or civil rights activist movement is also unpopular. The movement faces virulent opposition.  Camille Paglia said, "These days, especially in America, boy-love is not only scandalous and criminal but somehow in bad taste."
Medical definitions of pedophiliaThe ICD-10, an international classification of diseases published by the World Health Organization, lists pedophilia as a paraphilia, and refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), mentioned below, for its definition.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), describes pedophilia as a paraphilia.  The diagnosis criteria for Pedophilia are:
A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger);
B. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;
C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in criterion A.
In addition, the APA released a statement in 2003 regarding the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia:
The DSM is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals and provides clear, objective descriptions of mental illnesses, based upon scientific research. Pedophilia is categorized in the DSM-IV-TR as one of several paraphilic mental disorders. The essential features of a Paraphilia are recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors that generally involve nonhuman subjects, children, or other nonconsenting adults, or the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner.
An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act and this is never considered normal or socially acceptable behavior. Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H., Director, American Psychiatric Association’s Division of Research states, “there are no plans or processes set up that would lead to the removal of the Paraphilias from their consideration as legitimate mental disorders.”
Legal status of sexual activity between adults and childrenThe age of consent varies from country to country, but no country's age of consent is below 12.
HistoryRegarding the foundation of positions that in some ways mirror later pro-pedophile activism, Robert Stacy McCain writes: "Academic defenses of sex between adults and children date back at least to Alfred Kinsey's famous 1948 and 1952 reports on human sexuality, in which the Indiana University professor claimed that 'children are sexual from birth.' Critics say that pro-pedophilia activism cannot be dismissed as an irrelevant fringe movement because it has real-life consequences." In the 1970s, the movement established itself in continental Western Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. At that time the North American Man/Boy Love Association was also a leading gay youth and pederast rights activist group.
Early developmentsPsychologist and sexologist Dr. Frits Bernard has stated that he and others formed the Enclave kring ("Enclave circle") in The Hague, the Netherlands in the 1950s. They built upon pre-1940 member information of the surviving Dutch branch of German Magnus Hirschfeld's sexologist Wissenschaftlich-Humanitäres Komitee (WHK) (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee) provided by former WHK member Arent von Santhorst (see interview with Bernard led by ethnologist and political scientist Dr. Joachim S. Hohmann). Bernard, through this Dutch WHK connection, built upon contacts he had established in 1940 for the same purpose with Dutch WHK president, donzel Dr. J. A. Schorer and sexologist Dr. Benno Premsela. Bernard apparently was aware that the German WHK along with its international organization Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, ("Institute for Sexuology"), had published articles on adult-minor sexual interactions prior to 1933. However the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 prevented any further co-operation until the end of World War II. One of the very first German occupation regulations in the Netherlands was public declaration of enforcement of German Penal Code sections 175 regarding same-sex activities and 176 regarding adult-child sex interactions in Verordnungsblatt Nr. 81 dating July 31st 1940. WHK members von Santhorst and Bob Angelo (alias Niek Engelschman, later a pedophile activist) had destroyed all Dutch WHK documents to prevent Nazi investigations, and member information was re-constructed after the war by von Santhorst in order to form the Enclave kring.
The Enclave kring, as built upon the pre-war Dutch WHK model, defined itself as a "movement" consisting of "institutions and organizations" serving purposes such as: "to break down prejudice about the issues of erotic contacts and relationships between minors and adults, and to provide information and advice as well as to initiate a direct assistance program." A publishing company of the same name serving these purposes was founded in 1958. According to Bernard, the Enclave kring developed into an international organization (gaining support in Western Europe, New York, Japan, and Hong Kong), and Bernard himself made lecture tours in some of these places. Results of these efforts of the Enclave kring included more positive feedback about pedophile activism in various publications independent from the Enclave kring such as the Dutch Vriendschap ("Friendship", published since 1859), German Der Weg zu Freundschaft und Toleranz ("A way to friendship and tolerance"), Danish Amigo, and Dutch Verstandig Ouderschap ("Reasonable parenthood") by the 1960s.
Publishing of Sex met kinderenIn 1972, Bernard published the book Sex met kinderen ("Sex with children", published not by the Enclave kring but the independent Dutch sexual reform organisation NVSH). The book outlined the history of the Enclave kring and international research in adult-child sexual interaction, partly spurred by the activism of the Enclave kring, partly independent from it, up to that point. According to Bernard citing historian Dr. E. O. Born, this book "had an [public] effect throughout Europe and abroad." It laid the foundation for the 1970s pedophile activism movement in Western Europe.
In the 1970s, most organized pedophile activity was centered in the Netherlands and to a lesser degree in Western Europe. Here, a number of researchers, among them Bernard, social psychologist Theo Sandfort, lawyer and politician Edward Brongersma and psychiatrist Frans Gieles, wrote a significant number of papers on the topic, both from theoretical and practical standpoints. A number of papers were produced discussing the effects of adult-child sexual interactions. The data for these papers came mainly from analyzing pedophiles, but also from adults and young people who, as children or adolescents, had been involved in sexual relationships with adults. In a 1988 interview, Bernard said that up to that point he himself as part of his psychological work, and also as an authorized expert witness in a number of court cases, had talked to and analyzed "more than a thousand pedophile adults and about three-thousand children and adolescents who had had [sexual] contacts with adults."
1979 Dutch petitionOn June 22, 1979, a petition along with a letter with the same content was sent to the Dutch minister of justice and simultaneously was brought before the Dutch parliament, both petition and letter demanding legalization of mutual sexual activities between children and pedophile adults.
The petition was authored by the Dutch Society for Sexual Reform (NVSH), the Coornhert League for Penal Law Reform, the Humanitarian Confederation, and "radio priest" Alje Klamer. It was signed by social welfare and public mental health organizations such as the General Probation Association, the Netherlands Association for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC), and the official Netherlands Feminism Association. The petition also achieved considerable success within the Dutch parliament, being endorsed unanimously by the executives of the ruling Labour Party as well as the executives of four minority parties in the Dutch Lower House (the Democratic Socialist party, the Pacifist Socialist party, the Democratic party, and the Radical party).
The section of child and youth psychiatry of The Netherlands Society for Psychiatry, as Jan Schuijer wrote, was "apparently alarmed by the success of the petition," and publicly opposed the demands for decriminalization claiming it would undermine parental authority.
In 1980, the COC, the largest gay association in the Netherlands, publicly declared pedophilia a gay issue, and declared further that gay liberation would never be complete without the sexual liberation of children and pedophiles. From 1979 through 1981, the last positive progress of pedophile activism in the Western world was achieved when the Dutch Protestant Foundation for Responsible Family Development (PSVG) sold and distributed tens of thousands of copies of a booklet entitled Pedophilia (originally illustrated with photos) in and to Dutch elementary schools.
Decline of the movement
On February 5, 1987, Bernard appeared as a guest on the Phil Donahue show and advocated pedophile activism, accompanied by a 23-year-old male who had allegedly been involved in a sexual relationship with an adult as a child.In the 1980s, a number of other pedophile advocacy groups formed including MARTIJN (1982), situated in the Netherlands, and the Danish Pedophile Association (DPA) (1985). This was followed in the early 1990s by the formation of Ipce (then the "International Pedophile and Child Emancipation," IPCE), an umbrella organization for pedophile activist groups. Although MARTIJN and Ipce continued to function, DPA disbanded in early 2004.
Post-1982, the objections to pro-pedophile activism in continental Western Europe did not appear as heated as in English-speaking countries. Formerly active pro-pedophilia organizations did not get significant or memorable negative public press, but just seemed to lose interest in maintaining their public activities any longer. For the most part, the issue retreated from public awareness. Bernard (born in 1920) retired from his occupation as a psychologist, as an expert witness, and from all of his offices in international organizations in 1985. Even earlier, the number of NVSH members drastically decreased to below 10,000 (at times it had had up to 240,000 members) yielding a serious financial crisis.
Meanwhile, law enforcement's efforts to combat child pornography and sexual contact with minors became more aggressive. In the Netherlands, emerging feminist and victim organizations as well as juvenile police units still supported decriminalization as of 1982 . However, Dutch police (such as Hans Heesters of the Amsterdam police's youth and moral bureau) and law officials were increasingly educated by the FBI on "FBI methods of tracking down the makers and collectors of child pornography" (virtually and effectively "guidelines [that] target those who engage in sexual contacts with underage minors"). In 1989, then-resident Dutch minister of justice Korthals Althes publicly stated that weekly meetings on these matters with the FBI and British government had been established in 1985. Beginning in 1984, the US Congress and the US Senate (via the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, led at that time by Republican William Roth) disseminated information through US and international press channels accusing the Netherlands of ranking "among the most important exporters of child pornography to the US" and stating that children were publicly auctioned in Amsterdam for prostitution and pornography. An investigation entitled Workgroup child-pornography, established by minister of justice Althas and published in August 1986, questioned the extent of these accusations, ultimately declaring them "unsustainable."
Recent developmentsAfter the International Lesbian and Gay Association was granted consultative member status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1994, the United States (including President Bill Clinton) publicly threatened to cancel its annual financial contributions of US$1 Million to the UN because ILGA had four pronouncedly pedophile activist member groups: NAMBLA, MARTIJN, US-based Project TRUTH, and German Verein für Sexuelle Gleichberechtigung (VSG, "Association for Sexual Equality"). As a result, the UN status of ILGA was suspended and ILGA expelled all four organizations. The German Bundesverband Homosexualität (BVH, "National Homosexuality Association") called for international protests on ILGA for expelling these groups, in spite of the fact that BVH never before had been observed as sympathizing with pedophile activism.
In the coming years, pro-pedophile advocacy began to make use of the Internet: "For socially isolated pedophiles, the search for 'human companionship' was a salient concern, and Internet technology provided a virtual solution to the absence of physical convergence settings." This use of the Internet as a space for advocacy and as a "convergence setting" began with the establishment in 1995 of BoyChat, a message board for "boylovers." In 1997, participants on BoyChat and other online resources formed Free Spirits, an umbrella organization with the mission of raising money and providing Internet hosting services: "Web sites such as Free Spirits can be viewed as 'convergence settings' in the sense that they provide structure and continuity in [the] face of any given individual, group or network instabilities." Ipce (formerly "International Pedophile and Child Emancipation") is a leading activist site. The Montreal Ganymede Collective was formed in Montreal by Free Spirits members in 1998 as a forum for pedophiles to meet in the real world.
Terminology and symbols used by the movement
Terminology used by the movement
- Child-lover, Boy-lover, Girl-lover. These are terms of self-identifications used by pedophiles.
- Pedosexual. Some members of the movement use the term pedosexual, positing that pedophilia should be seen as a distinct sexual orientation as with homosexuality and heterosexuality. It has also been used simply as a synonym for pedophile.
Symbols used by the movement
- A blue spiral-shaped triangle symbol, or "BLogo", symbolizes a boy (small triangle) surrounded by an older male (larger triangle). It was designed by an anonymous artist with the pseudonym "Kalos".
- A similar logo, a heart within a heart, or "GLogo" was later developed by some pedophiles attracted to girls to symbolize a "bond of love" between adults and girls.
Ethics proposed by the movementSome pedophile activists have proposed ethical frameworks for sexual interaction with children. Such frameworks stress the consent of the child, their ability to withdraw from the relationship, and having open, rather than secret relationships, as key factors.
Some[who?] of the people involved in these efforts believe that such ethical guidelines can only work in jurisdictions where adult–child sex is legal and therefore do not address the ethical issues of having an illegal relationship with a minor. Instead, illegal activity is discouraged, such as in the Boylove Code of Ethics which states that a pedophile should "do everything possible to protect his young friend from any harm, including exposure or embarrassment from arrest". MARTIJN's statement is unequivocal: "MARTIJN Association advises everyone to observe the law."
Not all groups associated with the movement support these ethical boundaries. For example, the group Krumme 13 ("Crooked 13") counseled convicted child-molesters to continue their activities once released. According to German AG Pädo and IOCE, two other pedophile activist groups, Krumme 13's jailed leader was not trusted in the pedophile community, and the group was detrimental to the pedophile movement.
Activitiescriminalized and ostracized. To this end, some pro-pedophile organizations provide online counseling and suicide prevention services. Organizations, like the Krumme 13, have been accused of encouraging pedophiles to act out their desires, thus break laws regarding child sexual abuse and the legal Age of Consent. Other organizations strongly encourage others to take care in not breaking local laws.
Much online pedophile activism takes place on message boards, the most prominent ones being based in Montreal, Canada. Some pedophile activists now have blogs. Many of these blogs, especially those at blogger (owned by Google) have been removed for alleged Terms of Service violations.
MARTIJN, as well as publishing a magazine called OK and providing support for pedophiles, is also involved in overt activism, distributing flyers and pamphlets at public gatherings and gay pride marches.
Robin Sharpe, a Canadian pedophile, successfully challenged some aspects of child pornography laws in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2002, arguing that his fictional writings were not illegal because they had artistic merit.
Various groups also promote "holidays" intended to spread understanding and acceptance of pedophilia. International Boylove Day occurs on the first Saturday after the summer solstice and some people also celebrate on the first Saturday after the winter solstice. Alice Day is celebrated by female-attracted pedophiles, on April 25. This is the day Lewis Carroll met Alice Liddell, the girl for whom he wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, on April 25, 1856.
Perspectives of pro-pedophile activists
Harris MirkinIn his article "The Pattern of Sexual Politics: Feminism, Homosexuality and Pedophilia," Harris Mirkin, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, asserts that the refusal to even consider the possibility that pro-pedophile activism could be considered a valid political or civil rights activist movement is partly a politicized act meant to preclude any examination of the arguments put forth by pro-pedophile activists. His argument has been summarized as follows:
According to [Mirkin's analysis of the general pattern of sexual politics,] "battles about sexual ideologies occur in two phases," the first of which is a period of "pre-debate" in which the struggle exists "before the issues become politically visible." [...] Mirkin asserts that, in this "pre-debate" phase, material evidence and formulated arguments are "harder to detect," because "dominant groups deny that there is anything to discuss, asserting that existing arrangements are self-evident and intuitively good." The second phase, on the other hand, involves "a visible political fight." "The battle to prevent the battle," according to Mirkin, "is probably the most significant and hard fought of the ideological battles. At issue is the question of the legitimacy of the subordinate groups, since illegitimate groups are not recognized as putting forth valid claims." The mechanisms employed to "prevent the battle" require that "sexual dissidents (deviants) are not heard by the dominant society," a refusal to hear that is tied to the fact that, during the first phase, "sexual issues are not viewed as legal conflicts. Sex is viewed as separate from politics, and the deviant group is not seen as being entitled to legal or political rights." Because of this, the legal system "rarely challenges the dominant ideology [...] and does not protect deviant sexual speech and action." Such a legal stance allows for "sharp limits [to be] placed on [the deviant group's] speech and art on the grounds that they are disgusting, pornographic, dangerous to the social order and seductive of the innocent". In essence, such "deviants" are refused the very mechanisms of speech — whether those involve words or images — for the only legitimate form that such speech can take is that which affirms "the correctness of the dominant paradigm, demonizing and ridiculing those who question it and trivializing their arguments."Mirkin's article has drawn criticism, primarily for its resemblance to an apologia:
Intellectual defenses of pedophilia [such as Mirkin's (considered directly before these statements in this article)] are "a huge concern" because they can function as "a green light" to would-be child molesters, says Claire Reeves, president and founder of Mothers Against Sexual Abuse (MASA). "Adults who might have a propensity to hurt a child might say, 'See, it's not harmful. These people are Ph.D.s, they must know,'" Reeves says, adding that she began warning about the pedophilia movement in 1995.
Study by Mary de YoungIn 1989, sociologist Mary de Young reviewed the literature published by pedophile organizations for public dissemination. She found that pedophile organizations she studied used the following strategies to promote public acceptance of pedophilia or the legalization of adult-child sex:
- Adoption of value-neutral terminology. According to Herdt, an anthropologist who has studied sex between adults and children in other cultures, pedophile advocates should replace "dull and reductionistic" terms like pedophilia and abuse when discussing sex between "a person who has not achieved adulthood and one who has". Moreover, words like "child" or "childhood", which have psychologically developmental meaning, should be "resisted at all costs". See also Promoting "objective" research.
- Redefining the term child sexual abuse. Another recurring theme among those seeking to gain social acceptance for pedophilia is the need to redefine or restrict the usage of the term "child sexual abuse", recommending a child's "willing encounter with positive reactions" be called "adult-child sex" instead of "abuse" (Rind et al. 1998). For example, Gerald Jones (1990), an Affiliated Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Women and Men in Society at the University of Southern California, suggested that "intergenerational intimacy" should not be considered synonymous with child sexual abuse. According to Jones, the "crucial difference has to do with mutuality and control" (p. 278). Jones suggested, "Intergenerational attraction on the part of some adults could constitute a lifestyle 'orientation', rather than a pathological maladjustment" (p. 288).
- Promoting the idea that children can consent to sexual activity with adults. The reconceptualization of children as willing sexual participants along with the decriminalization of consensual sexual relations is perhaps the key change sought by pedophile advocates. In his book Paedophilia: The Radical Case, activist Tom O'Carroll claims "What there most definitely needs to be [in determining consent] is the child's willingness to take part in the activity in question; whatever social or legal rules are operated, they must not be such as to allow unwilling children to be subjected to sexual acts. But there is no need whatever for a child to know 'the consequences' of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless." Many other pedophile activists, amongst them David Riegel, Frans Gieles and Lindsay Ashford, actively campaign against the idea that children are unable to consent to sex.
- Questioning the assumption of harm. The most common stance
against child-adult sex is the assumption that it causes psychological
harm to the minor. This claim is taken as true at face value, and any
criticism about it is taken as a defense of pedophile activity. This
remains to be one of the biggest barriers against pedophile activism,
and advocates of pedophilia have attempted to change these barriers in a
variety of ways. For example, pedophile activists have argued that
there is little or no harm from child-adult sex. Some support their
arguments by citing various studies that have argued that the negative
outcomes attributed to adult-child sexual relations can usually be
better explained by other factors, such as a poor family environment or
- Riegel (2000) asserted: "The acts themselves harm no one, the emotional and psychological harm comes from the 'after the fact' interference, counseling, therapy, etc., that attempt to artificially create a 'victim' and a 'perpetrator' where neither exists" (p. 21).
- Similar arguments are made by SafeHaven Foundation, an organization for "responsible boylovers". On their website, they wrote, "The child abuse industry ... takes a boy who has enjoyed pleasurable and completely consensual sexual experiences with another boy or man, and traumatizes him in an attempt to convince him that what he did was 'wrong'". In addition, SafeHaven argues that, "many of the supposed traumas elicited by psychotherapy turn out to be nothing more than the result of the False Memory Syndrome" (SafeHaven Foundation, 2001).
- In Pedophilia: The Radical Case, Tom O'Carroll writes: "The disparity in size and power between parent and child creates a potential for abuse. But, on the basis that parent–child relationships are generally positive we accept that inequality is simply in the nature of the thing. I would like to see paedophilic relationships looked at in a similar light."
- Edward Brongersma, in "Boy-Lovers and Their Influence on Boys," where he reported the result of interviews with participants in adult–child relationships wrote, "within a relationship, sex is usually only a secondary element."
- Promoting "objective" research. Pedophile advocate Edward Brongersma, have argued that investigators of child sexual abuse have biased views (Brongersma, 1990), also calling for a less "emotional" approach to the subject (e.g., Geraci, 1994, p. 17; Jones, 1990). Brongersma and Jones have cited Theo Sandfort's (1987) research on boys' relationships with pedophiles, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sex Research, as an example of what they consider "objective" research (e.g., Brongersma, 1990, p. 168; Jones, 1990, p. 286). However, critics suggest that the study was "politically motivated to 'reform' legislation" (Mrazek, 1990, p. 318). Robert Bauserman (1990, see also Rind et al. controversy), in turn, has argued that Mrazek's criticisms are "vaporously distorted, irrelevant, or just plain false".
- Declassification of pedophilia as mental illness. Activists of the movement quote Moser and Kleinplatz (2003), who suggest that all paraphilia be removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Other pro-pedophilia viewsViews not mentioned by DeYoung, but often opined by activists include:
- Promoting understanding of the difference between pedophilia and sexual activity. Some activists wish to explain the difference between pedophilia and adults' sexual activity with children.
- Promoting the testimonies of people who claim no harm from sex as a minor. Some activist websites collect and publish anecdotal material that, according to them, is from various people, mainly adults, who, having been sexually involved with an adult as a minor, claim to have enjoyed or suffered no ill effects from this experience. 
- Referring to experiences of situations where adult-child sex interactions are not illegal, both historical and ethnical. Pedophile activists often point to situations where adult-child sex interactions are not illegal (though not necessarily common) and no negative effects are observed. Most refer to ancient Greece, while some employ ethnological studies. A few also refer to post-antiquity historical situations in the Western world where such conditions existed.
- Invoking ideas of continuity between pedophile and other minority activists. Some activists argue that pedophile activism, feminism, gay activism, and anti-racism all relate to the experiences of suppressed and misunderstood groups. This argument is made by Harris Mirkin, in the article quoted above. Other scholars, such as Camille Paglia, have asserted that gay rights (from which much of pedophile activism diverged) should never have rejected the pederastic themes which some activists claim were the "giveaways" required to make homosexual culture acceptable.
- Pointing to juvenile sexual activity in the animal kingdom and invoking evolutionary arguments. Other species are sometimes used as examples of beneficial or normalized sexual contact between grown animals and infants or adolescents. One popular case is that of a close relative to humans, the Bonobo, where infant-initiated sexual touching is part of everyday life, and intercourse is sometimes initiated by the young. Elsewhere, it is argued that, in evolutionary terms, it makes sense for prepubescent humans to be educated in affective sexual intimacy before the age of fertility (hence the development of reproductive potential).
Questioning assumptions about pedophilesMembers of the movement have referred to a few scientific studies which document the percentage of people that responds to pedophilic stimuli, including papers such as Hall et. al., in which 26.25% of male volunteers exhibited equal or greater sexual arousal to pedophilic audio stimuli, and 33% for pedophilic imagery.
Activists argue there is a distinction between pedophiles and child molesters, citing, for example, Fagan, Wise, Schmidt and Berlin, who wrote, "Pedophilia is a diagnosis applicable to only a portion of individuals who sexually abuse children. Information has been drawn from published research about pedophilia and child sexual abuse in general to present the current state of knowledge. Despite a sizeable body of published, peer-reviewed articles about topics such as child sexual abuse, child molestation, and sexual offenders, data and our knowledge base about pedophilia have significant limitations."
Activists question assumptions about personality correlates of pedophilia as a condition. Some cite Okami and Goldberg, who stated in 1992, "The scientific support for the belief that pedophiles are passive, dependent, unassertive, isolated, and socially awkward is weak. Almost all studies are based on offenders against minors rather than on pedophiles. They typically find that such offenders are similar to other kinds of offenders." Some also cite Langevin, who wrote in 1983 that, "The data also do not support the theories that pedophilia is due to fixation at an immature stage of development, to an inability to relate to women, to mental retardation, or to senility," and noted that, "One non-clinical study suggests that studies of clinical samples may be biased toward finding pathology which is not an inherent part of the sexual anomaly. There may be well-adjusted pedophiles living in the community... Even when characteristic traits are found, they may be due to society’s reactions rather than be causes or correlates of pedophilia."
Pro-pedophile activists claim that pedophiles' feelings toward children include other emotions besides sexual attraction. Some activists again cite Okami and Goldberg, who wrote, "Several studies have shown that men whose sexual preference is for children often have a complex set of attitudes, beliefs, and feelings about children in which sexual desire may be subordinate. They often interact with children in ways that include many non-sexual aspects, including affection, which children experience positively." They concluded that, "An unknown percentage of true pedophiles may never act on their sexual feelings, and many sex offenders against minors are not pedophiles. Pedophiles probably cannot be studied due to social stigma and mandatory reporting laws."
Re-categorization of dataSome pedophile activists attempt to refute scientific research that finds sexual contact between adults and children as predominantly harmful by stating that there is a variety of different categories for adult-child sex interactions that are commonly not acknowledged by mainstream scientific research. They claim that studies showing harm from adult-child sexual contact might have shown that some types of contact are harmless, if only the studies had carefully categorized the contacts into more narrow categories, such as "consensual" contact versus "non-consensual" contact.
"Socially Representative" sampling and change in ethosSome activists claim that "sexual abuse" studies, by their very definition and aims, self-select the categories of interaction that involve negative experiences, even in those cases where medical or legal samples have been avoided and a sample more representative of the general population has been used. For example, Edward Brongersma criticizes these studies for being tainted by three problems that result in what he terms "Inadequate Research" — "First Source of Error: Sexual Activity as the Decisive Test," "Second Source of Error: Mingling Boy-Lovers and Girl-Lovers," and "Third Source of Error: Bias." The result, for Brongersma, is that "The influence a man may have on a boy in a man/boy-relationship is a difficult subject to broach: empirical research is conspicuous by its virtual absence and theory has been highly distorted by social prejudice and the seeming inability of most investigators to make proper distinctions. Thus an outsider who wishes to gain some insight into what really happens in a sexually expressed relationship between a man and a boy has very little to go on."
Some also claim that there is political pressure on scientists not to produce results that are contrary to the political consensus, leading to fundamental biases in research techniques (such as the confusion of correlation and causality). Other criticisms such as the use of confusing terminology, confusion of morality and ideology with science, and the generalisation of clinical and criminal samples to society as a whole are mirrored by the Male Homosexual Attracton to Minors Information Center.
Other papers supporting some activist opinionsBen Spiecker and Jan Steutel, in a paper entitled Paedophilia, Sexual Desire and Perversity, argued that consent is possible in some older prepubescent children. They concluded, however, that, "Paedophile sex is a form of exploitation because it endangers the long-term welfare of the child. Consequently, paedophilia involves desires towards behaviour that is morally wrong, but only in some forms of paedophilia are these desires perverse." In Intergenerational Sexual Contact: A Continuum Model of Participants and Experiences, Joan Nelson wrote, "De Young (1982) reports that 20% of her 'victims' appeared to be 'virtually indifferent to their molestation' Instead, they tended to be traumatized by the reaction of adults to its discovery." Theo Sandfort's 1980 study in which 25 boys aged 10 - 16 and involved in pederasty were interviewed concluded that, "Except on the basis of violation of moral standards, there was nothing in what these boys said that would justify punishment. …[The laws] should be so drawn up that the kind of sexual contacts which these 25 boys experienced would fall outside of their application."
Rind et al. controversyA meta-analysis of studies using college students by Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman published by the American Psychological Association in 1998 found a weak correlation between sex abuse in childhood and the later instability of the child's adult psyche. It noted that a significant percentage reported their reactions to sex abuse as positive in the short term and concludes that for research purposes some cases of child sex abuse would be better labeled "adult-child sex". The article stated in the addendum that "CSA does not cause intense harm on a pervasive basis regardless of gender in the college population" (Rind et al., 1998, p. 46), but warns "The current findings are relevant to moral and legal positions only to the extent that these positions are based on the presumption of psychological harm" (p. 47).
The paper faced multiple academic disputations, including sample bias, non-standardization of variables, statistical errors, and researchers' personal bias. The article's authors have published replies to these claims.
In addition to academic criticism, the article received massive criticism from conservative activists and groups, including radio personality Laura Schlessinger. She and others called the article an attempt to normalize pedophilia. Congressman Tom DeLay and others sought a formal congressional action against the APA for the article. In 1999 Congress unanimously passed a bill stating that "children are a precious gift and responsibility given to parents by God" and that the study was "severely flawed", although it did not cite any specific errors.
Controversy and public reaction to the movementNearly all national governments conform to United Nations protocols for age-of-consent legislation and the criminalization of child pornography. From 2000 to 2004, over 130 nations signed a United Nations accord to criminalize child pornography. The U.N. convention on legal age for marriage has been in force since 1964.
Members of the movement assert that they do not support child abuse or illegal activity. Public reaction to this claim has been skeptical.
Criticism of the movementThe ICD-10 and DSM IV, which are medical diagnosis manuals, describe pedophilia as a paraphilia and mental disorder of adults or older youths, if it causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Law enforcement officials and psychologists have asserted that the movement's online support groups help some pedophiles to justify engaging in adult-child sexual contact. They claim that adults arrested for child molestation frequently cite the positions of the movement as justification for their actions (Finkelhor, 1984). In an interview with KCTV5, Phill Kline, Kansas Attorney General, characterized the goal of certain pedophile activists to change age-of-consent laws as "twisted." Some psychologists consider various positions of the movement to be the “cognitive distortions” characteristic of sexual abusers.
For example, in August 2006, The New York Times published the results of a four-month investigation of online pedophile communications and activities. The newspaper described how “pedophiles view themselves as the vanguard of a nascent movement seeking legalization of child pornography and the loosening of age-of-consent laws.” And while "pedophiles often maintain that the discussion sites are little more than support groups,” the newspaper asserted that, “[r]epeatedly in these conversations, pedophiles said the discussions had helped them accept their attractions and had even allowed them to have sex with a child without guilt."
Skepticism that the movement does not support child abuseMany child abuse prevention advocates, law enforcement officials, and journalists note that various child molestation convicts were also members of the movement. Those involved with the movement have responded by claiming that this was either not true, the acts were victimless "crimes" (before intervention), or that the movement could have even helped them avoid crossing the line into abuse by giving them a more positive identity than society does. Some claim that dwelling on these arrests attempts to smear the movement through guilt-by-association. Nonetheless, mainstream observers remain skeptical that ardent advocates of adult-child romance and sex stay within the law – citing these arrests as evidence.
Concerning the recent sex scandals involving Catholic priests in the US, some pedophile activists say that these scandals only or prominently involved minor partners that during the times of sexual interactions were adolescent and thus, these scandals have nothing to do with pedophile activism.
Child abuse cases in relation to members of NAMBLAMany of these incidents giving grounds to skepticism involve members of NAMBLA, the organization most widely known to the U.S. public. Some claim that these activities are limited to members of this organization and are not representative of the larger movement. Dutch psychologist and pedophile activist Frits Bernard has argued that NAMBLA at least started out as an ephebophile, not a pedophile activism organization as identifiable by its original political and social reform program, and that its program remained like that at least until 1982 when Bernard made his statement.
- Rev. Paul Shanley, a priest accused of abusing children as young as six years old over a period of three decades, allegedly participated in early movement workshops and advocacy, according to contemporaneous accounts of the events obtained by the Boston Globe. Pedophile activists have sought to cast doubt on Shanley's conviction.
- Charles Jaynes was convicted of murdering a 10-year-old boy then having intercourse with his body in 1997; the parents of the boy filed a $200 million wrongful death suit against NAMBLA, Curley v. NAMBLA, claiming that while being heterosexual, "immediately prior" to the murder, "Charles Jaynes accessed NAMBLA's Web site at the Boston Public Library". By 2005, $1 million and five years had been spent to prove this claim. The ACLU protested against associating NAMBLA with this case and represented them, asking the case to be dismissed.
- John David Smith, a San Francisco man convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy he was babysitting, met an undercover investigator through his activities as a NAMBLA member. According to the investigator, Smith used his contacts with NAMBLA to trade child pornography and arrange sex with children.
- Johnathan Tampico was convicted of child molestation in 1989 and paroled in 1992 on condition of not possessing child pornography. After breaking his parole, he was found after a broadcast of America's Most Wanted. He was arrested and convicted on child pornography charges. In his sentencing, the court found that Tampico was a member of NAMBLA, that NAMBLA supported a foster home in Thailand that sexually exploited children, and that Tampico and others traveled to Thailand in order to have unlimited access to young boys at the foster home, as evidenced by a number of Polaroid pictures, provided by Thai officials, depicting Tampico with young Thai boys sitting on his lap.
- James C. Parker, a New York man who, according to court records, told the police that he was a member of NAMBLA, was arrested in 2000 and convicted in 2001 of committing sodomy with an underage boy.
Criminal cases in relation to other pedophile activists
- Tom O'Carroll, author of Pedophilia: a Radical Case and a founder of the Paedophile Information Exchange, admitted to two counts of distributing indecent images in September 2006, and in December 20, 2006, he was jailed for 2 1/2 years at London’s Middlesex Crown Court. Whilst he admits to the illegal activity itself, O'Carroll defends his actions on an ethical basis.
- Ad van den Berg, co-founder and treasurer of the pro-pedophile Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit political party in the Netherlands, was convicted of molesting an 11-year old boy in 1987. 
- The late Edward Brongersma, a Dutch lawyer, politician and journalist was sent to jail in 1950, for 10 months after having sexual contacts with a male of around 17 years old. Upon his release, he successfully campaigned for a reduction in the legal age, which was first lowered to 16 and then to 12 (with parental consent and no objection from welfare).
- Abolition of age of consent laws
- Age disparity in sexual relationships
- Anti-pedophile activism
- Child sexual abuse
- Child sexuality
- Sexual Morality and the Law
- list of philias
Notes and references
- Debate Guide - "Arguments and counter arguments for the sexual emancipation of minors and minor attracted adults"
- Paedophilia - The Radical Case - Book by Tom O'Carroll
- Age Taboo - "The place for young guys who like younger guys"
- Clogo - A series of pro activist projects
- "Boylove: Semantically Correct?" - An article critical of Pro-pedophile activism
- Corporate Sex Offenders - A campaign against online services that tolerate Pro-pedophile activism