CHICAGO – A professor at DePaul University in Chicago, who is currently teaching the course “Creating Change: Contemporary GLBT Politics” and helped pioneer DePaul’s Gender Studies and LGBTQ Studies programs, is something of a celebrity in pedophilia circles for her 1979 article downplaying the damaging effects of childhood homosexual activity with an adult.
Elizabeth “Beth” Kelly, PhD, professor of women’s and gender studies, has taught at DePaul since 1992. In 2010, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley named Kelly head of the city’s LGBT advisory council. That council has since been abolished by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“If someone had told me 30 years ago that in 2010 I would be tenured and promoted to a professor as a publicly professed lesbian at the country’s largest Catholic university, I would not have believed them,” Kelly told the student newspaper, The DePaulia, in 2010.
She was hired by DePaul despite writing a 1979 article that reported glowingly of her own sexual relationship with a great-aunt when she was just a child. The article, “On woman/girl love, or Lesbians do ‘do it,’” reportedly appeared in the Gay Community News on March 3,1979, but is not available online. It has been excerpted at length on numerous websites and in publications including the pro-pedophilia book, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, by author Tom O’Carroll. That book is available on the IPCE website, which describes itself as “a forum for people who are engaged in scholarly discussion about the understanding and emancipation of mutual relationships between children or adolescents and adults.”
In her article, Kelly reportedly defended her lesbian, pedophile experience when she was between eight and 11 years old, as cited by David Thorstad in the 1991 book Male Intergenerational Intimacy:
It has always seemed to me that people know when sex is a right thing for them to be doing, when mutually consented to, regardless of who else may or may not share or understand that knowledge. It took some hard object lessons before I finally learned how unusual such logic is in this world. Despite the cultural messages to the contrary that I eventually did receive, I knew that it was possible for a person to be aware of her own physicalness in a sexual way long before the social timetable of “maturity” says she should be—and to be able to act on her awareness. And I know that now, with all my “grown-up” being. Although for several years I succumbed to social sanctions against lesbian and childhood sexuality, and felt ashamed for having had such experiences, I have come to realize the need to affirm them as part of the rich texture of both human experience in general and my own conscious reality in particular.
Thorstad, reportedly “a founding member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) and former president of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance,” praised Kelly’s article for its “sensible treatment” of “woman-girl love.”
Kelly co-authored Telling Our Lives,which refers to her time with Gay Community News, where her story was originally published. Her book also refers by name to her great-aunt “Aunt Addie” in the chapter called “Beth’s Family Legacy,” thought it doesn’t discuss their relationship.
In a 2010 interview with The Windy CityTimes, Kelly equated being a professor with activism. “Until my involvement with the [Chicago LGBT] advisory council, my principal organizing in Chicago was here at DePaul,” she said. “To build a women’s and gender studies program at a Catholic university is a very specific form of activism, and it really didn’t leave me a lot of time.”
Kelly described herself as a “lapsed” Catholic and said she had misgivings about teaching at a Catholic university, until she discovered that DePaul was serious about diversity hiring. She said that the number of LGBT faculty has grown to the point where “today I know that I don’t know all of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty at DePaul.”
Regarding her help with building the LGBT Studies program, she said “What was interesting to me was the lack of opposition.” She credited the “amazing support” from Father Dennis Holtschneider, president of DePaul University since 2004.
Kelly, according to Windy City Times, served as director of the Women and Gender Studies program at DePaul during 1997-2003 and was reportedly a founding member of the university’s LGBT studies program. She said her favorite class is “Lesbian Lives, Politics, and Communities,” which she created and based on Alison Bechdel’s comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For.”
According to DePaul’s website, Kelly has taught courses at the Catholic university such as Feminist Theories; Creating Change: Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics; Contemporary Knitting: Gender Craft & Community Service; Intro to LGBTQ Studies; Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays, and the Law; and Queer Pioneers.
Authored by Matthew Archbold – The Cardinal Newman Society