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FRANCIS ASKS...
Submitted 11 Oct 2003

Hello folks. I am new here and I need some help, desperately.

First of all, I want to make it known that I live in the United States, which is a suspicious and hysterical place in terms of these issues.

I love younger boys from the bottom of my heart. I love helping them and making them happy. I also love being with them and experiencing the simple things that I missed out on during my awful childhood of bullying.

I watch old TV shows like "Leave it to Beaver," "The Brady Bunch," "The Andy Griffith Show," and "The Munsters." I absolutely love, adore, and feel for the boys in them. I know they are not real, but the emotions that each boy emits when sad or in need are all too real. They compel me to want to be with and help boys with similar feelings.

I do have fantasies about certain boys, which I would never want to turn into reality. By nature, I am loyal and honest. I am not a lawbreaker. I am also sexually attracted to them, mostly because of their beautifully vibrant bodies, which I never got to touch through experimentation when I was their age, but again, it is something I would never want to act on now, however much it kills me. I want to remain a good person and be true to myself by becoming friends with them and helping them. By nature, I am an affectionate person. A hug and kiss means a lot to me. However, I know all too well how suspiciously it is viewed. But I also know that this must be earned on my part.

Twice I volunteered for Big Brothers, and twice I was rejected. I am currently in the process of applying for volunteer work in the children's ward at my local hospital, but I am extremely scared that I will be rejected.

I want to know for certain whether or not making friends with younger children is legal. I've been told by numerous people that I have to find someone my own age. That is not easy. I am gay, and I want to have a sexual experience with someone my own age, but I am socially inept, due to Asperger Syndrome, which is why I had such a bad childhood. Again, I don't want to have such an experience with a child. As a matter of fact, the sex is so unimportant that I am willing to forget all about it if I were to make friends with a child. However, at times when I am reminded of how suspiciously a simple friendship between myself and a child is viewed, I yearn for the sexual contact of someone my own age.

Please, if anyone has any information, I would greatly appreciate it. My question is this: Is it illegal for a 21-year-old, who doesn't quite feel 21, to simply interact socially and be friends with a young child?

- Francis, 21

Our answers
Submitted 17 Oct 2003

No, it's not illegal. And anyone who acts like it should be, is paranoid, and you should avoid them because they are not good enough for you!

Big Brothers is the pits. They are much more "selective", cruely so, than other organizations. Even in years past, I am told, when the rest of the world was more accepting of volunteers wishing to help, BB has been a hard nut to crack.

I suppose the most paranoid organizations will have rules about being alone with a boy, about any touching, about any dealings or feelings not initiated and orchestrated by the organization. How sad.

Curious, do you feel the AS may weaken your self-control? I have to depend on my ethics, my self-control, and my fear of discovery, to insure that I can interact with boys to the extent that I do without worrying about crossing the line. If you can't be as sure of your own self-control, then perhaps it's best to limit contact to what you know you can handle.

I like to say that "95% of what you want to do is legal". Go for it, enjoy it, and do some good for someone.

Remember there are always people that are going to be suspicious of anything they don't have control over. Remember it's natural to fear the unknown. The amount of their need counteracts that fear. I see first hand how much single mothers NEED. They may shy away from organizations and government/religious agencies, and they operate within loose personal ties with friends, neighbors, and others they run into. Running into them and getting adopted by a family is not all that hard to do. Just don't concentrate too much on one child and hurt the others.

I much prefer to see you in that kind of accepting situation than in one where you are constantly judged and evaluated. Stay away from organizations if you can.

Now if I were only half the expert I pretend to be....

Cody, 16
cody@nym.alias.net

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Submitted 14 Oct 2003

Francis,

It is absolutely legal to be friends with whomever you want. Why would it be illegal to be friends with another person, regardless of age or gender?

The suspiscious feelings are something that I have experienced myself. You tend to think that if you pursue friendships with boys then everyone around you will be suspicious and will eventually catch on. I know the feeling well. What I have discovered is that these feelings are bullshit. You don't know what everyone else is thinking, you only think that you do. As long as you have honest and loving intentions and don't do anything illegal, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Try and relax and if you make friends with a boy, I seriously doubt everyone around him will be thinking that you wanna get in his pants.

-Howie, 21

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Submitted 14 Oct 2003

Hello Francis.

Forgive me I had to do a little search onto your disorder. I know so very few disorders, but now I know what AS is (sort of! :) )

First of all, friendship - when friendship is its meaning - is very legal and is more accepted than BL. I think that for you and some child to have a friendship would be amazing.

I find myself in your situation - that is wanting more friendship with a child than those of my own age. I find myself working in a Youth Venue were I live. This could be what you could do. Look around, because of your disorder I don't want you to be in a situation that you are not able to handle.

I don't want to underline your AS, but I am not sure of the 'degree' of this you have, however I feel from what I have read that you would be able to fit into a situation where you were able to work with young people - be it with some disorder or without. Be open minded when it comes down to it!

Because of your age, and because of your background (that is, being bullied) you may be able to work well in this hospital were you are trying to get a job. I will be thinking of you in my thoughts on this issue.

I think some people are limiting you because of your disorder, but if you are able to 'control' that, then you should be able to be involved with young people. I see it this way: You have this disorder, and because you have had a life dealing with the ups and downs of this, you would be a great person to be with, and talk to about other disorders. Not meaning just the same as yours but many other things. Be it ADD, ADHD, likewise you may find it very rewarding to work with people that have physical disorders - that will take time to work however, but would be very rewarding.

Whatever happens, ALWAYS stay happy.

Hey and always know that you can become a member here at Age Taboo, I'm sure you will have plenty to say.

Respect, Master20, age 20

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Submitted 16 Oct 2003

Hi Francis,

I agree with Howie that many of our fears are unfounded, but it is true that some people can become suspicious. If you know that you will never take advantage of a boy, and that you will not act sexually with a boy even if he seems interested, then your conscience should be clear. I'd recommend getting to know a boy through some activity or social situation, where you also get to know his parents. Develop a good relationship with the whole family, and show them you can be trusted.

I also think it's important to develop good relationships with people of all ages. I'm wondering if there is some kind of support group for people with Asperger Syndrome, where you can help each other overcome some of your social awkwardness. I must say, your writing is far from awkward, and you seem to have a good heart. At your young age, you have much time and many opportunities to learn to develop good friendships.

I'd agree with Master20 that when one faces some hardships in life, that helps one to be a better listener and helper to others who are facing difficulties, even when they're different kinds of difficulties.

I wish you the best of luck, and I'm glad you found us!
Matthew, Age Taboo staff
matthews@agetaboo.org

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