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Clarence Osborne was an exponent of what is generally referred to as Greek love. Such love is the physical and emotional expression of affection between an older man and a youth. To Osborne, Greek love was the highest form of love, surpassing even adult heterosexual or homosexual relationships.

Osborne idealised both boys and adolescents. To him they represented the epitome of what was beautiful and natural. Relation-ships with young males were not seen by him as being exploitative, but rather as socially and psychologically beneficial to the younger person. In a reversal of conventional morality, Osborne argued that the love of a man for a woman was the archetypal exploitative relationship and, in a statement designed to alienate every woman stated that this was so ‘because women are manipulators and devious people’.

Nowhere are Osborne’s views about Greek love better expressed than in his own manuscript. Encapsulating the usual arguments put by Greek love practitioners, Osborne wrote:

For my own part I go along with the Greek love concept. At one level the boy seeks a father-image or is curious about advanced adult development and his sex drive is strong enough to take chances with homosexual contact on his terms, whereas the older man exults in the boy’s fresh vigour, exuberance and manliness combined with the litheness and power of the tiger. I can well understand the preference for the fierce, passionate embrace of a wholesome, trusting youth over that of the most delightful looking female, who almost always is beneath the surface, bitchy, selfish and demanding, her counterpart is, of course, the far from innocent mercenary street boy.

To Clarence Osborne, Greek love was not only just a service but it was a social service. Frequently, in conversations with me, and throughout his own writing he referred to the way in which he was able to take a ‘troublesome’ youth, guide him like a father and show him the path to social stability and success.

Some boys I have met need my help and I have helped them. If you take a boy who would get into trouble and show him what the right way is it is amazing how you can change him. They have come up to me several years later in the street and thanked me for it.

The effect that Osborne had on the boys has already been discussed in past chapters. It is important, however, to emphasise again at this stage that Osborne was seen by many of these boys/adolescents as being a close friend. Senior Constable David Jeffries from the Queensland Juvenile Aid Bureau, one of the investigating officers in the Osborne case recalls:

It was not unusual for men, walking with their girlfriends and wives, to, when accidentally meeting Osborne in the street, rush over to him and shake him by the hands. When these men were kids they had known Osborne and looked on him now and then as being a really good guy. Some of the other policemen on the case just couldn’t understand this.

Greek lovers like Clarence Osborne have consistently argued that they do not wish to harm the youths they relate to, but instead desire to impart their experience and worldly knowledge to the boys. While they emphasise love rather than sex, Clarence Osborne’s manuscript and conversations were almost invariably centred on the physical adventures that he engaged in.

Osborne emphasised that the Greek love relationships he participated in were the epitome of non-possessiveness and openness. He was not jealous of the youth’s past or present sexual adventures and indeed, revelled in the detailed accounts of his young partners’ sexual adventures. In this sense Osborne characterised what Greek love practitioners see as the essence of the craft. The most widely read book on adult-boy/adolescent relationships is undoubtedly J. Z. Eglinton’s Greek Love. Eglinton defines such love in the following terms:

Greek love. Love between adult (or older adolescent) and adolescent boy, without prejudice to the other love relationships either party might then or later be involved in.

But both in this definition and in the life and deeds of Clarence Osborne we meet semantic difficulties. In the case of Osborne, and in the case of others who espouse the Greek love philosophy, there are numerous examples of the youthful partners being, in many cases, children rather than adolescents. Indeed, Clarence Osborne occasionally had partners who were aged anywhere between seven and ten years, which of course precedes what is generally recognised as the start of adolescence. And it is precisely because of the fact that the Clarence Osbornes of this world relate to children as well as to adolescents that they incur a public wrath from laymen and experts alike.

Eglinton considers the term paedophilia to be an erroneous one because under its rubric are lumped both what he defines as Greek love and sexual interest in pre-pubertal children of either gender. Eglinton prefers to use the term paidophilia to refer to sexual interest in adolescents, and pederasty to refer to sexual concern for boys. To confuse matters further we have another term commonly used in the literature—’ephebophilia’, denoting sexual preferences for adolescents .

As Osborne related to both pre-pubertal boys and to adolescents it is not unreasonable to describe his prime interests as ‘Greek Love’ and ‘pederasty’. The latter concept correctly encompasses most of Osborne’s activities and describes in general terms the phenomenon that has been explored in this book which is, simply put, the sexual interest in young boys and adolescents.

The use of this term in relation to Clarence Osborne’s activities and to other men with similar interests does not deny the emotional component in adult-child/adolescent relationships. Often, as we have seen, the amount of affection in these liaisons is great. It is, however, the physical component of such relationships that causes the basic controversy regarding adult and younger male contacts.