What is boylove?
It's a phenomenon of attraction to boys that many males exhibit, in which there are erotic, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Many people call it an orientation just like any other.
How did your group get started?
BoyChat began when a boylover decided to test out new web board technology. This became BoyChat. A small community began to grow around BoyChat. Later, another person partnered with BoyChat's host and began contributing to a central page of links related to boylove. This was BoyLinks.
Why does BoyChat exist? Isn't it really about encouraging abuse?
BoyChat is a forum in which boylovers can explore issues related to their sexuality and provide mutual support and companionship - to learn to lead productive lives in ways that help young people rather than harm them.
BoyChat is not a board in which well-meaning social workers firmly guide people the way they think they ought to go. BoyChat is run by boylovers for boylovers. It encourages its posters to work freely through their own issues and questions. Participants will express a wide range of views. No post represents the views of anyone except the poster. No individual post can be considered typical. Occasionally extreme views will be expressed: these do not receive wide support and are usually strongly condemned. Such posts are often deliberately posted by people who wish to discredit the board.
How do boylovers feel about child molestation?
Free Spirits doesn't have official positions because we only exist to provide web sites and foster communication. There is an ethical consensus among the BoyChat community and the keepers of the sites, however, that all forms of non-voluntary sexual contact are to be condemned.
Some participants on BoyChat voice their opinions that men should not have sexual contacts with boys when boys seek it because they don't want to risk society's harmful reaction. Some believe they should never have sex with boys under any circumstances. Others, especially those who sought out relationships with men as boys, say that some boys are harmed when their repeated requests for love and intimacy are rejected without explanation.
Discussions on BoyChat delve deeply into ethical issues. No regular reader could fail to be aware of the ethical issues of his attraction. Victims of sexual abuse find not only support and caring, but also strong condemnation of their abusers. Posters who contemplate anything abusive get very short shrift from the rest.
Participants are also very aware of the legal issues. They understand the extreme penalties for even the slightest physical contact or suspicion of sexual contact between adult and minor. They know about the knock on the door in the middle of the night, the removal of and destruction of property, the planting of evidence and the extraordinary mental and sometimes physical torture of possible victims. They know that boys, even if not already victims, will become so at the hands of the police in the name of child protection. Readers are aware of the bashings and rapes in prison; the informing of neighbours and employers and the sign in the yard, the modern Scarlet Letter. They are aware also of the enforced "therapy" that consists mainly of destroying the offender's sense of self worth with no chance of actually changing sexual orientation.
What does Free Spirits hope to accomplish?
In light of what we know about boylove and the difficulties boylovers face in current society, there must be places where boylovers can communicate positively and find emotional support. BoyChat is safe because it is anonymous. People don't have to show their faces if they don't want to. People who have bottled-up emotions are dangerous to themselves and others. Every once in a while, a non-boylover will read BoyChat and see that boylovers are human beings like all others. We let others watch us interact. This is good.
What kind of people belong to Free Spirits?
Nobody "belongs" to Free Spirits. Free Spirits is just a web site that a bunch of people maintain. The site is accessed by a diverse population from dozens of countries. The pages are used by people who are interested in the issues surrounding boylove. This means not only boylovers, but also many males who have had self-defined positive experiences as boys with men. Other participants include child abuse researchers, internet anti-pedophile vigilantees, law enforcement officials, journalists and even television reporters. Occasionally, teen boys who are exploring their sexual identities become regular posters. The BoyChat community has gone to great lengths to protect the anonymity and safety of these young men and to help them deal constructively with their sexual issues.
Boylovers have not chosen of their free will to become so. It is an attraction most discover within themselves at a very early age. Through no action of their own they find themselves considered horrible and vile. Most people who are attracted to minors try to live good lives, but find no encouragement from a society and a press that labels all people with that attraction, whatever they do or don't do, as evil monsters.
Apart from calls for the mass slaughter of "God's mistakes", the usual call is for therapy. This is of limited value. Psychologists are quite aware that they can't alter sexual orientation. Most therapists do not even know how to handle the situation constructively and often use inappropriate strategies based on myths that the patient knows to be false. Even where therapy may be useful, most boylovers are forced to avoid it. Therapists may be or feel obliged to report their patients to the authorities, leading to further non-therapeutic harrassment.
We believe that people who are taught to think of themselves as monsters will find it harder not to act as monsters. We believe that the most effective "therapy" for boylovers is to encourage them to have enough self esteem to follow a sensible moral code and to use whatever talents and skills they have to influence boys' lives for the better. We repudiate the view that most boylovers need to stay away from boys. Boylovers can control their sexual desires as much anyone else. Most boylovers can be trusted with boys just as most men can be trusted with women.