The Freedom Board is a now-defunct online message board which was dedicated to boylove activism. It was created and hosted by Bristol in 1996 and was frequented mostly by BoyChat posters and those from IRC #ASBL, though it had an independent following as well. Freedom was not revived in 1997 after the Digiweb hosting crisis and went silent for several years. It was recreated in 2002 under the aegis of Free Spirits with Etenne being the first webmaster of the newly revived board.
While the board's creation was due to the combination of various factors, some public and some strictly internal, the most direct reason for its origin had to do with the reactions of posters at BoyChat to some of the more activist-oriented discussions which were occurring there. BoyChat has traditionally avoided staking out activist positions in order to reach the broadest possible base of the online boylove community. Since there is no widespread agreement among boylovers regarding what, if anything, they should be doing in order to further their cause in larger society, activist issues are automatically controversial and often upsetting to many members of the community.
In order to enable BoyChat to continue to reach as broad an audience as possible while still providing a place for activists to openly discuss their ideas, the Freedom Board was created. After Bristol, the next webmaster of Freedom was Etenne, who had lobbied for years to have the board revived. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for the shape and style of the board it became. Under his leadership, the Freedom Board struck a completely independent path from BoyChat and filled a special niche in the community.
Connor succeeded Etenne as webmaster, and was himself followed by Howie. Over time the movement on that board became slower and slower. This was due to a combination of factors, but probably the most telling of these was the simple fact that BoyChat itself began to grow more comfortable with periodic activist discussions. Many activists were not satisfied being relegated to what some saw as a "smokey back room" kind of board. Compared to the draw of the larger and more visible BoyChat, the Freedom Board slowly became redundant.
On 8 July 2005, Llewellyn, a Freedom cog and a member of the Free Spirits Committee, announced the closure of the Freedom Board. The FSC voted to close the board based on several factors with the most important one being the lack of interest in participation and or administration of the resource in the community.
Although from one perspective, this could be viewed as an experiment which failed, ultimately unable to maintain an audience, others prefer to see just the opposite: an experiment which succeeded, since the attention to activist issues there slowly began to filter back to the community at BoyChat until finally, the activists were able to discuss their issues openly on the main index in a way they had not just a few years before. The idea for a boylove wiki was first purposed on the Freedom Board.
Posted by Etenne on 2002-10-31 19:02:10, Thursday
As you can see, we are a house still under construction. Most notably we need a graphic logo and a background. Since I am not a graphics person I am sure someone will help me out in this area:)
Someone once told me that at any opening ceremony that the host needs to give a speech. So here is mine:
Throughout time, Boy-lovers have existed. In many societies, those who came before us were once valued members of society. They brought light into lives of the often outcast or unwanted boys of their communities or villages. But that light has been forced undercover only to cast dim shadows on the walls. However, that light has not been extinguished.
But now in this day and age, we face an up hill battle to once again renew our place in society. We sit crippled by the injustice of those ignorant of our true nature, those that would cast us in the roll of monster. In this day and age, we are the outcasts. We are the disenfranchised. We are the huddled and hidden masses yearning to be free. We have been exiled into the shadows….
In the land of America, the founders of the United States promised that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They declared their independence from oppression. But in this day and age, those words no longer hold any meaning to those that shape our annihilation. Their cry is one of fear and of hate.
In the shadows of people's minds is fear, a fear that they can not name. It lurks there like a stranger on the corner or a monster under the bed. Men no longer call for Liberty, they hide in their houses and say "protect me, I am afraid". Their fear is irrational. It is the bump in the night or the wind in the trees. It is the shadows in the corners but together, we will turn on the lights. Because in those dark places there are no demons, no monsters there are only familiar things.
Those that hold fast to their fear and are the chef architects of social injustice must come to understand that no longer will the shadows hold the Boy-lover. If our presence makes them feel discomfort then so much the better. We are their fathers. We are their brothers. We are their children and we deserve not the abuse they lay upon us.
But also, those that so hate and so abuse are themselves in the darkness with us….for to seize a man and hold him in darkness, they must first face that darkness and turn their backs to the light. We should pity them. We should not let our pursuit of the light of liberty blind us into taking a wrong step and landing on the road of bitterness and hatred.
We must always conduct our struggle with dignity and with discipline and not sink to their level. For if our cause is just, and I believe it is just then we have no need of violence or of hatred. Those that seek understanding, they will find it. And those that seek to destroy, they doom themselves.
Now we must march forward after being pushed back for so long. Even here in the shadows and on this internet, together….we have built so many wonderful things. We have touched and saved the lives of so many. But we have also paid the price and so many of our brothers are being held captive by the different states of this world for their arrogance and the simple crime that they loved. But it is not just the Boy-lover that is now in jeopardy, the jails and the prisons are now being filled with young men… these young lovers. The arrows of injustice are flung indiscriminately and no one is now safe from their bite.
I know that many of you have had a hard life. That you have been beaten down or even perhaps held captive in prisons but we are all in a prison today. It is our responsibility, our duty, our obligation to escape and then together and hand in hand, we will walk forward. And on that day, the day of our liberation, the spirits of every Boy-lover that has ever lived and all the oppressed people of this world will echo the battle cry and they will say…. Let Freedom Ring!
I envision a day, a day in the not to distant future where we will be able to break free of this shadow land and establish a legitimate place in society. Perhaps that place will be the first Boy-lover Crisis Center or even perhaps a boy-lover Christian church. I don't know what form it will take, but I know that this day is coming. And on that day, we will say… Let Freedom Ring!
In closing, I would like to leave you with the words that a friend recently wrote to me: "May the fire of freedom enliven our hearts and make us strong, may it guide our path and lead us true, and may it burn through hatred and ignorance as it warms our souls.
Again, Welcome to the Freedom Board.