Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys

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Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys
Directed byAdi Sideman
Produced byAdi Sideman
Written byAdi Sideman
Nadav Harel
Narrated byBarbara Adler
Mimi Turner
CinematographyNadav Harel
Edited byNadav Harel
Distributed byStranger Than Fiction
Release date
  • July 8, 1994 (1994-07-08)
Running time
55 minutes
CountryUnited States

Chicken Hawk: Men Who Love Boys (also known as simply ChickenHawk) is a 1994 American documentary film produced, written and directed by Adi Sideman, who founded YouNow in 2011. The film profiles members of the pedophile/pederasty organization North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) who discuss sexual relationships between men and boys below the age of consent.

The film is an exposé on the group's controversial beliefs and their clandestine lifestyle. Sideman's evenhanded approach provides the audience with an insight into the group members' psyches. It has drawn attention for its unique approach: letting its subjects, the NAMBLA members, incriminate themselves in a public forum. Since its release, the film has been screened for the FBI, university criminology departments and other law enforcement agencies.

The term "chickenhawk" is used in gay slang to refer to an older man who chases after younger men.[1]


The film describes the organization and its history and features outspoken NAMBLA members Leland Stevenson, Renato Corazza, Peter Melzer, and Chuck Dodson. In a series of interviews, the NAMBLA members describe their feelings towards boys and justifications for such feelings. Scenes in the movie include a group of NAMBLA members participating in the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. NAMBLA members argue for NAMBLA's inclusion in the gay rights movement, to the disapproval of other attendees.

Photographs of shirtless, or otherwise sexually positioned, boys are shown from the NAMBLA bulletin, as well as several drawings of nude boyish characters with wings. Leyland Stevenson describes a sexual encounter with a boy, in which Stevenson received oral sex from the boy, as a "religious experience." An interaction of Stevenson with another boy is shown, in which the boy makes a prank phone call. Stevenson, observing the boy and engaging him in conversation, suggests that the boy was flirting with him. The interview of a school teacher fired for his membership in NAMBLA is given. Several threatening messages are left on another member's answering machine.

Poet and free speech advocate Allen Ginsberg, NAMBLA's most famous member and defender, appears in the documentary and reads a "graphic ode to youth".[2]

Release and reception[edit]

The film was released to critical acclaim.[3] The premiere at the New York Underground Film Festival was met with fanfare and was covered by national news organizations as well as shock jocks like Howard Stern.

The film was well received by the anti-NAMBLA groups "Straight Kids USA" and "National Traditionalist Caucus," both of which were represented in the film. Tom McDonough, from Straight Kids USA stated, "We feel everybody should see this movie because it exposes NAMBLA for all the evil they are",[3] and Don Rosenberg of the National Traditionalist Caucus said, "We thought the movie was very fair. I think Adi did a very good job of letting Leyland Stevenson (the film's central character) and his cohorts hang themselves."[3]

According to New York Newsday's reviewer, "It would have been too easy to become strident, had he [Sideman] set out to make an agitprop piece about the evils of pedophilia. So he lets NAMBLA bury itself. And the organization obliges."[4]

Since its release, the film has gone on to screen for psychology, sociology, and criminology departments throughout the US and has also been screened for the FBI.[5]

The film's distributor, Stranger than Fiction, was run by Todd Phillips, who founded the New York Underground Film Festival and later went on to produce The Hangover films and Due Date.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donald F. Reuter (2006). Gay-2-Zee: A Dictionary of Sex, Subtext, and the Sublime. St. Martin's Press. Archived from the original on 2020-01-17. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  2. ^ Jacobs, Andrea (2002-06-21). "Allen Ginsberg's advocacy of pedophilia debated in community". Intermountain Jewish News.
  3. ^ a b c Anderson, John (August 14, 1994). "'Chicken Hawk': The Controversy". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  4. ^ "PHI 340 Some Reviews of "Chicken Hawk"". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  5. ^ Bresler, Eric (August 20, 2012). " and Film Threat present CHICKENHAWK – MEN WHO LOVE BOYS". Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Adams, Sam (2010-11-05). "The Hangover and Due Date director Todd Phillips · Interview · The A.V. Club". Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-03-02.

External links[edit]