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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 7, 1994)
just out ▼ October 7, 1904 V 9
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suspends I LG A
The association could be reinstated ,
i/ it rejects a German pedophile group
by R ex W ockner
he United Nations Economic and So
c ia l
C o u n c il
groundbreaking, year-old consultative
status o f the International Lesbian and
Gay Association on Sept. 16, after
research by U.S. officials revealed that ILGA still
has one pedophile organization among its 300-plus
m em ber groups.
ILGA, a 16-year-old association o f lesbian-
and gay-rights organizations from around the world,
thought it had expelled its only three pedophile
m em ber groups during its July annual conference
in New York. The organization did not know the
true nature o f the M unich, G erm any, group
VereinluerSexuelle Gleichberechtigung, until told
o f it by U.S. officials the day o f the suspension.
ILG A ’s consultative status had been targeted
by the United States and the U.N. since last Octo
ber, when the homophobic
m ag azin e The Lambda
Report revealed that the
North American Man/Boy
Love Association was then
an ILGA m em ber. The
U.S. Congress, led by Sen.
Jesse Helms, responded by
m andating the cutoff o f
$ 118 million in U.S. fund
ing o f several international
organizations, including the U.N., unless the U.N.
proved it had not granted “any official status,
accreditation or recognition to any organization
which promotes, condones or seeks the legaliza
tion o f pedophilia, or which includes as a subsid
iary or m em ber any such organization.”
In response— and follow ing great co n tro
versy— ILGA members voted 214-30 at the New
York conference to expel NAM BLA and the two
other known pedophile organizations. ILGA lead
ers and many members said they felt manipulated
by U.S. politicians and were w orried that other
m in o ritie s w ithin the o rg a n iz atio n , such as
sadom asochists, could be targeted next. N onethe
less, ILGA said removing boy-lovers was a lesser
evil than losing the unprecedented and hard-won
In announcing the suspension, the U.N. said
ILGA can regain its consultative status if it expels
the German group and proves to the U.N. Council
Com m ittee on N on-governm ental Organizations
that no other ILGA m em ber group condones
p e d o p h ilia . IL G A S e c re ta ry G e n era l H ans
Hjerpekjpn o f Norway and U.S. ILGA leader Julie
D orf said the ILGA Secretariats Committee may
be able to expel the group without waiting for next
sum m er’s annual conference, because this year’s
conference passed a resolution stating that “Groups
or associations whose main objective is to promote
or support pedophilia are not com patible with the
future development o f ILGA.” Proving that no
other member group condones pedophilia could be
more complicated, given the communications prob
lems o f an understaffed global organization and
the fact that some mem ber groups have no written
policy on the matter.
Dorf, executive director o f the San Francisco-
based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission and a mem ber of the ILGA Secretari
ats Committee, said Sept. 19 that ILGA was “furi
ous and outraged” that the U.S. did not tell the
association what it had learned about the German
group until the very day the
U.N. m oved to suspend
“ A fter a year o f our
working in good faith, to
have this pulled on us was
shocking," she said.
“ My position,” Secre
tary General Hjer-pekjpn
added by phone from Nor
way, “is that the U.S. gov
ernment is positioning itself for the November
elections. Haiti is part o f that, and w e’re one small
part o f that. Instead o f working with us in good
faith, they chose not to give the issue o f our
membership a battle in these final weeks before the
ILGA achieved consultative status with the
U.N. Economic and Social Council in July 1993,
which allowed it to observe meetings and confer
ences and present papers to U.N. human rights
bodies. It was the only lesbian or gay organization
with such status at the U.N.
After The Lambda Report story broke, the U.S.
mission to the U.N. said it never would have
supported ILGA’s U.N. membership if it had known
about NAMBLA and began moves to revoke
ILGA’s status. ILGA persuaded the U.S. to hold
off until its annual convention, since its constitu
tion required a vote by the entire membership to
remove a member organization. In the intervening
time, the Helms measure sailed through Congress,
upping the stakes in the matter for both the United
States and the U.N.
ILGA achieved consultative
status with the U.N.
Economic and Social
Council in July 1993 which
allowed it to present papers
to U.N. human rights bodies.
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