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Savage Love 

Hey, Faggot: I read your recent Q&A with the guy who said he was attracted to amputees. I'm another "perv" who has the same interest. You start out by comparing amputee-lovers to pedophiles. Well, maybe there's a parallel of sorts, but here's a big difference: The guy didn't say he was into amputee children, he didn't say he was into raping amputees, and he didn't say he was into making people into amputees. The guy said he was attracted to amputees. Why do you bring up criminal activity as a parallel? Sex between consenting adults isn't a crime anymore, if you haven't heard. There's an organization for amputees and the folks who love 'em called Fascination. It's run by a woman named Bette Hagglund, who's an amputee. You can call her or write.

Hey, Joe: First, I didn't compare amputee-fetishists to pedophiles, my mother did. If you recall, I compared pedophiles to Roman Catholic priests. My mother's comparison was unfair, and I must admit, it was equally unfair of me to imply that all pedophiles are Roman Catholic priests. Let me just state for the record that some pedophiles are productive members of society.

Secondly, sex between consenting adults is illegal in roughly half these United States -- or hadn't you heard? Go look up the Hardwick decision, doofus. In 1986, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia's sodomy law, ruling that, at least as far as gay sex is concerned, the state has every right to regulate what consenting adults get up to in their own bedrooms. While having sex with amputees, or wanting to have sex with amputees, has never been illegal -- SO LONG AS THE AMPUTEE IS OF ONE SEX AND THE DEVOTEE IS OF ANOTHER -- outlawing sex between consenting adults is one of America's pastimes.

Thirdly, on your suggestion, I did give Bette a call. And what a nice woman she is! Bette founded Fascination in 1984 to fill a need: Through a support group she was running for amputees, Bette came to know men who were attracted to amputees (amelotatists), but were having a hard time meeting them. "So we created an atmosphere where people with these feelings can meet," says Bette. In addition to organizing social events, Fascination produces a quarterly newsletter that's "a combination of fiction, nonfiction, and comments relating to the attraction." The newsletter features photographs of amputees, but it is not pornography. "Oh, no," says Bette, "Definitely not."

According to Bette, most of the men and women involved with Fascination are looking for partners. Has anyone met their soul mate? "We've had several quad-amputees who met men at our meetings and are now married to them, quite a few triple-amputees met their husbands at our meetings, and double-amputees."

How did Bette meet her husband? "When I had surgery, many years ago -- I'm not going to tell you how many [laughs] -- there was an article about me in the paper. He saw the article and wrote me a letter asking if he could take me to dinner when I got out of the hospital. My roommate at the hospital knew him -- he was her neighbor -- so I went to dinner with him."

How did Bette lose her legs? "I was born with deformed legs. As an adult, I decided to have them amputated. That's why there were articles written about me."

Hey, Faggot: A poke in the eye with a prosthetic device for "AMP Fan." I'm a young woman with a myriad of attributes -- some very desirable, some not. I am also an amputee. I have worked very hard to cultivate my positive natural qualities, to help define myself as a strong, whole person. "Amputee" is not high on the list of my "qualities." Yet it is a daily fact I've spent many long years trying to surpass. I could just kick the hell out of some guy who is either jokingly or seriously seeking out young women who have lost a limb for the very fact they've lost a limb. He's targeting and fetishizing what a young woman may be missing at the possible expense of her long climb toward wholeness. You're an insect, AMP Fan; spare me your parasitic shenanigans.

Hey, RSB: I shared your letter with Bette, and she leapt on your thoughtless ageism: "Why does she think only 'young women' are pursued? It's not true: The women who attend our meetings are 21 to 75 years old." And the Fascination boys, presumably, are in hot pursuit of all of them, from the very young amputees to the AARP amps.

But Bette wanted you to reconsider your take on men attracted to you because of your stump: "All relationships begin with an initial attraction, and as far as men are concerned, the initial attraction is usually something physical -- whether it's blue eyes, nice legs, fannies, etc. You can't base a relationship on being an amputee. But there is nothing wrong with it sparking the initial attraction."

Hey, Faggot: "AMP Fan" can rest assured that a whole community of fetishists shares his interest in amputees. Although most amputee fans are straight males, some gay males share this interest, and there are even a few women. Some fetishists are attracted to other disabilities: crutches, plaster casts, braces, deformations, birth defects, scars, and other medical conditions.

Amputee-fetishists, called "devotees," hold several annual get-togethers, to which amputees are invited, all expenses paid. Your reader should check out discussions on the Internet newsgroup to get in touch with the larger community.

Above the Knee
Hey, ATK: I checked out the newsgroup on the Internet and, frankly, it wasn't all that interesting: an ad for a hand lotion that supposedly kills HIV, a non-amputee-specific pitch from a company organizing a mail-order-bride excursion to the Philippines (now that's creepy), and a few dullish postings from amp-fans, including one from a guy complaining that a picture sent over the net of an "amputee" was actually a bad airbrush job. Has anyone else noticed how even the most outlandish stuff becomes crushingly dull when filtered through the Internet?

Fascination does hold an annual get-together for amputees and devotees. The '95 convention was the first week of June, and it was a big success: "It was our 11th annual meeting; we had 75 people. The convention was at the Ramada Inn, and it was wonderful." There were meetings, outings, and a dinner-dance. But do amputees really attend Fascination's convention all-expenses-paid? "Yes," says Bette, "including travel expenses."

Amputee fans can write Fascination at PO Box 34265, Chicago, IL 60634. Or call Bette at (312) 583-3949. And, hey: Any amputees interested in a free trip to Chicago for Fascination's '96 convention should call right away.


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