Tom O'Carroll

Warily going where angels fear to tread

Book review: The Fear of Child Sexuality: Young People, Sex, and Agency, by Steven Angelides. University of Chicago Press, September 2019. This is an important new book. Heretic TOC has accordingly decided to give it an in-depth review in two parts. This first part will focus on Angelides’ aims in relation to his earlier track record. The second part will consider the book’s content in more detail with a particular focus on the author’s interestingly “post-Foucauldian” view of power in sexual relationships.  We might guess that someone called Angelides would be on the side of the angels. This family name is …

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The kids are not alright. Why not?

What makes a child happy? Heretic TOC readers, thoughtful and Kind in all senses, as I believe you generally are, will see this as an important question. So it should trouble us that a recent Children’s Society report found a decline in children’s happiness in the UK over the last decade as judged by a range of factors affecting their sense of wellbeing, such as whether they are being bullied at school, or neglected at home, or even whether, in food bank Britain, they are going hungry. Anxiety about their job prospects, the state of the environment and their own future …

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A queer way to be ourselves

Bearded bloke walks into a bar. Says to the barman, “I’ll have a bottle of that new beer, please, the Pink IPA.” “Sorry, sir,” says the barman, “this beer is for women only.” “Well, actually,” says the customer, “I am a woman. It’s how I self-identify.” “Very well, madam,” says the barman, “a wise choice of gender, if I may say so, and of ale. The lady’s IPA is on special offer at £1 less than the gentlemen’s IPA.” “To be honest,” says the customer, “that’s why I became a woman. Cheers!” No, this isn’t a joke. Apart from a bit …

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Are we making ‘useful idiots’ of ourselves?

When the religious reactionary press in the US launched a tsunami of hateful bile against an academic article of mine last year, they relied almost entirely on distortion and defamation, lies and libels. But one writer made an uncomfortably strong point when he described me as “a useful idiot for conservatives intent on establishing a link between homosexuality and paedophilia”. It’s true. American conservatives never tire of using boy-love as a stick with which to beat the gay community, and whenever we radical heretics speak out in favour of consensual child-adult sexual relations, we give the reactionaries more ammunition. Now they …

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FGM: wedded forever to religion?

A powerful and provocative guest piece today from our old friend Leonard Sisyphus Mann, whose Consenting Humans blog is highly recommended and who has guested here several times before, as Lensman, perhaps most notably in this profound, forward-looking, contribution: “The future is green, and liberating for children”, which prompted over 30,000 words of comment. Today’s piece bravely identifies female genital mutilation (FGM) as primarily an Islamic problem, and a growing one, in the modern world. While acknowledging the pre-Islamic roots of the phenomenon, LSM sees specifically religious factors as responsible for its perpetuation. There is evidence to support this claim but …

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Desmond is truly amazing – and hot!

Child drag artist Desmond is Amazing is indeed amazing. And hot! Just check out this introductory video on YouTube. No wonder 11-year-old Desmond Napoles and other kids daringly diving into drag culture right now have provoked right-wing reactionaries into paroxysms of moral outrage. Let’s face it, when a pretty young boy tells the world he is gay and dances sensuously in front of grown men, wearing vampish dresses and makeup; when “she” strips off items of clothing or goes on stage scantily clad right from the off; when dollar bills are accepted as “tips” from an audience apparently wild with excitement; …

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No porkies, but one PIE too many!

After finding myself cast as the pantomime villain for the Whitehall farce known as the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), last year, the show finally took to the stage for a three-week run of public hearings last month. These March hearings focused on the so-called Westminster strand, probing alleged V.I.P. child sex rings and cover-ups in politics and government. The inquiry had asked me to address a number of questions about the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), going back to the 1970s when I had been secretary and then chair. What they wanted from me, chiefly, was information that would …

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Why ‘Virtuous Pedophiles’ will fail

Today’s guest blogger, Stephen James, is well known here as regular commentator Stephen6000, whose succinct contributions often provide a sensible counterpoint (or antidote!) to some of the always welcome but often wild “thinking outside the box” we tend to see in the heretical comments here. He has also written for the NAMBLA Bulletin and for the Newgon web magazine Uncommon Sense. His logical approach is consistent with his work as a published author of formal philosophy. With Adam Powell, he was a joint founder of the unfortunately ill-fated Forum for Understanding Minor Attraction (FUMA), which fought a brave but losing battle …

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Michael: no saint, but no Tiberius either

Michael Jackson has long since joined the immortals, albeit some would spell that without the “t” following the revelations last month in the epic four-hour, two-part documentary Leaving Neverland, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film revives claims that the superstar had sexual friendships with young boys, scandal that first burst into the public arena way back in 1993-4 and surfaced again in 2003-5, culminating in Jackson’s acquittal at the end of a four-month trial. The film has interviews with two of those boys, now long into their adult lives. One of them, Wade Robson, testified in Jackson’s defence …

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God save us from SIN, because…

Adam Powell, today’s guest blogger, was a co-founder of the Forum for Understanding Minor Attraction (FUMA), which engaged with mental health support services in the UK with a view to improving what was on offer to those of us with “an emotional and erotic attraction to children or adolescents below the age of consent”. FUMA pursued this objective from its founding in 2012 to the abandonment of this aim in 2017, largely over frustrations that former maths teacher Adam writes about here. He has since emigrated to the Netherlands.    … POLITICALLY, WE ARE FAILING TO SAVE OURSELVES I was acquainted …

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