Ginsberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey, on 3 June 1926. He made a name for himself in 1956 with the release of Howl and Other Poems which was deemed obscene by local authorities. He was present at all major civil rights events and protests in the 1960's, except the Stonewall riots since they were spontaneous.
Between 1994 and his death on 5 April 1997, much of Ginsberg's political energy was exerted against the gay community to allow NAMBLA to march in annual pride parades, citing that boylovers today were being treated much like homosexuals in general while he was growing up.
Advocacy of intergenerational sex
He is argued to be one of the most well-known people to have spoken positively on intergenerational sex, often reflecting on his own experiences as a loved boy and espousing a love for boys himself as an adult. In 1994, Ginsberg rushed to the defense of the North American Man/Boy Love Association when the International Lesbian and Gay Association attempted to expel decade-old ties to NAMBLA in a political move to gain consultative status in the United Nations. He wrote in NAMBLA Bulletin and said:
- "Attacks on NAMBLA stink of politics, witchhunting for profit, humorlessness, vanity, anger and ignorance [...] I'm a member of NAMBLA because I love boys too -- everybody does, who has a little humanity." (citation needed)
Among mainstream enthusiasts of Allen Ginsberg and his poetry, his connection to NAMBLA and romanticism with pederasty are often ignored or denied. Today, most readers of Allen Ginsberg take the position that Ginsberg did not support the objectives of NAMBLA and only defended it as a matter of free speech. Ginsberg himself said that he doesn't like underage boys in one of his last interviews for the New York Times (1). This sounds, however, as an apology to the decade long attacks on him regarding his connection to NAMBLA. In fact much of his poetry, which was influenced by Walt Whitman reveals that, like Whitman, he loved young men and teenage boys (2). This reputed him as the "poet who loved boys". As Raymond-Jean Frontain observed:
- "Although both Shumacher and Barry Miles (Ginsberg's initial biographer) frankly discuss Ginsberg's sexual politics, neither refers to his involvement with the controversial North American Man/Boy Love Association [...] I reread Collected Poems and Ginsberg's two subsequent collections, surprised by the pattern of references to anal intercourse and to pederasty that emerged" (3).
(1) Dinitia Smith, "How Allen Ginsberg Thinks His Thoughts," New York Times, October 8, 1996.
(3) Raymond-Jean Frontain, "The Works of Allen Ginsberg," Journal of Homosexuality 34 (1997): 109.