Frightening Stockholm horses
Swedish LGBT group joins neo-Nazis in denouncing gay mag
Start your own gay zine in 2006, and the likely
worst you'll face-- besides being stuck with a
printing bill-- is getting roundly ignored. Karl
Andersson, a Swede living in Prague, printed up
1000 copies of the first issue of
Destroyer this spring, and hasn't wanted
for attention since.
In June, his zine was denounced on Swedish
radio as "not morally right" by the
president of the country's main lesbigay group
Destroyer is condemned on the website of
Sweden's neo-Nazi National Resistance.
And Lena Nyberg, the government's "
Children's Ombudsman," has called on the
Swedish parliament to pass a law banning the zine.
Destroyer's goal, says editor
Andersson, is to restore the adolescent male to
what he contends is his rightful place-- think Greek
vases, Caravaggio, Von Gloeden-- in homoerotic
At first glance, the chirpy, perky English-
language zine about
knabenkultur would seem like nothing to
frighten Stockholm horses. There's a review of Larry
Wassup Rockers; an ode to the almost-
Ritsuka, cartoon hero of the Japanese anime series
Loveless; a meditation on the ideal gay
sauna; and advice on how to run a twink website.
From some of those twink sites are drawn a
smattering of soft-core, certifiably
18-to-twentysomething guys. It's all packaged with
flair-- Andersson honed his skills heading Sweden's
first glossy gay magazine,
Straight, and has worked at the main daily
Of course, the first issue reviews feminist
Germaine Greer's 2003 book
The Beautiful Boy-- whose program of
restoring the adolescent male to his erotic
pedestal-of-yore is close to
Destroyer's own mission. Greer claimed
that the fading of the boy as erotic trope in recent
generations was a consequence of patriarchy run
amok. The taboo protects, she contends, the status
of older men.
On many fronts, Greer's is a contrarian view.
Most would say that fear of sexual victimization,
driven by prevailing feminist currents-- not any
patriarchal cabal lurking behind-- is key to present
obsessing over youthful eros.
Judging by the words flying in the Swedish
media, those feministic fears are what's firing up, at
Destroyer's non-neo-Nazi critics.
RFSL president Soren Andersson complained
Destroyer opens the window to
exploitation of the vulnerable, with the zine's
juxtaposition of young naked guys with other
photos of boys, making the sexual
models "appear even younger." In
addition, the RFSL president said,
Destroyer was giving gay people a bad
name by suggesting that teenagers are a gay male
"I do not recognize it, neither from my
circle of friends, nor from those that I meet
professionally in the GLBT sphere," Soren said
on national radio.
On the same show, Ombudsman Nyberg
called for a new law to criminalize sex pictures of
adults who look like they could be under 18, or
attempts "to picture young boys, children, as
beautiful in sexual contexts."
Nyberg's office said that it handed over
Destroyer to Ecpat, an anti-sex-tourism
NGO that works closely with police, to investigate;
though for now, the inquiry appears to have gone
nowhere. Nyberg was on vacation, and her
office wouldn't comment on the matter.
We have ways of making you love us
Clearly, the Swedes whom Destroyer
has ruffled can get someone in trouble-- and
not just the government officials. Slurring gay
people in Sweden can mean prison-time, as
Pentecostal minister Ake Green learned in
2003, when he was sentenced to 30 days for
pronouncing from his pulpit that gays are, among
other things, "the Devil's strongest weapon
against God," and likely pedophiles, to boot.
Does RFSL likewise want editor Andersson jailed?
"Obviously the magazine from our
point of view doesn't give a good picture of gays
and gay life," RFSL vice chair Anna Karin
The Guide, "but I don't think that we
could, according to this [anti-defamation]
law, prosecute it."
Skantz said RFSL has no position on the
government's proposal to ban erotic images of
young-looking adults. "There is a moral
question and then there is a legal question,"
she said. "We don't necessarily always think
that there should be a change of the law for a moral
But such coyness in the face of a threatened
new leap in European sex censorship is surprising.
A law to treat arbitrarily defined "young-
looking" adults as legal children has been
rejected so far even in porn-hysterical
US. Such a law could send a Swedish gay man to
prison for possessing, say, a photo of his formerly
furry boyfriend's now smooth-as-a-baby's-bottom
"Soren Andersson thinks that I give
the wrong picture of homosexuals,"
Destroyer's editor protests. "The
problem with that view is that you imply that there
exists a 'right' picture of homosexuals-- in which
you'll have a lot to work against if you're to
suppress every little thing that stands out, from
too-promiscous gay men, to guys in leather chaps,
to masculine lesbians, sissy gay men, and so
In joining forces with neo-Nazis and anti-
sex censors, what's up with RFSL? The L in its name
stands for "liberation"-- but maybe in
the same way words such as "people's"
"republic" figured in the names in some
of the regimes fondest of gulags and reeducation
In the meantime, at least,
Destroyer remains available in Sweden,
and pretty much anywhere gay publications are
www.destroyerjournal.com, or by
sending US$15 to
Destroyer, PO Box 101, CZ-120 00 Prague
2, Czech Republic, or at gay bookstores in
Amsterdam (Intermale) and Berlin (Prinz Eisenherz).
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