Last modified on August 27, 2023, at 09:02

William S. Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs (February 5, 1914 - August 2, 1997) author regarded as a "gay icon" and one of the founders of the American Gay Liberation movement. He was a drug addict and a pedophile, and was prosecuted for obscenity and manslaughter. His works include The Naked Lunch (1959), Nova Express (1964), and Cities of the Red Night (1981).[1] He is sometimes nicknamed "William Sewer Burroughs".

His life and writings demonstrate the close links between homosexuality, pedophilia and the LGBT movement in which the latter has always flourished.


Burroughs was born February 5, 1914.[2] He came from a rich family who sent him to private school where he started homosexual activity at the age of 13. He studied at Harvard University[3] and his parents were wealthy enough to pay him an allowance so he did not have to work. He spent the money on heroin, to which he soon became addicted, and on travelling to Berlin and Vienna, where he picked up boys in Turkish baths. A similar motive led him to travel through Mexico, and Colombia.

Joan Vollmer, a former asylum inmate, shacked up with Burroughs, and managed to have a child by him before he drunkenly shot her dead one day in Mexico. His rich family used bribery to get him out of gaol. Burroughs was a lifelong heroin addict and after his parents died he became a dealer to finance his habit. He was a disturbed and psychotic person who once cut off part of one of his fingers to give to a man with whom he was infatuated.[4]

He died on 2 August 1997. [5]

Links with Pedophilia

After shooting his wife, Burroughs escaped to Tangier in Morocco where he stayed with a pimp who supplied boy prostitutes for rich customers from Europe. The place suited him down to the ground especially as drugs were freely available. In Mexico and Colombia he found it easy to purchase the services of young rent-boys with his powerful dollar. “The Mexican boys cost Burroughs three pesos apiece.” [6]

His novels are full of allusions to pederastic behaviour and homosexual fantasies.

He was a close associate of the homosexual pedophile Allen Ginsberg who shared his tastes and activities. Some of the things they did to Arab boys are too horrifying to be described here. [7]

Works and Critical Reputation

Burroughs achieved fame more for obscenity than for literary merit. He wrote Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict (1953) and The Naked Lunch (1959). His novels are pornographic and incoherent, full of scatological obsession, crude pederastic fantasy and disgusting violence. An leftwing critic writes of him “For B, homosexuality is only revolutionary when it escapes the model of normative heterosexual love, which constructs the self as a subject by reducing the loved Other to an object”. [8] The truth is just the opposite. Lust of the degraded type Burroughs describes is what reduces the other person to an object, and in fact, everything in his writing degrades everybody below the level of human. If a disturbed sociopath is revolutionary, then he is certainly "revolutionary".

Other critics criticize Burroughs for his “neo-imperialist” attitudes. Brendan Nicholls comments that Burroughs mirrored his own experiences when describing how an American in Morocco buys boys as sex-slaves. The vendor describes the boys as if they are objects, used cars, even using the pronoun “it”. “One owner and he was a doctor, a once-over-lightly, twice a week type citizen. It’s young and it’s tender.” The critic admits that the boy is “monstrously commodified”. [9]

Sadism and exploitation are the hallmarks of Burroughs’ fantasies. He has been called a "dirty old poet" and "totally gross". [10]

Homosexual Activism

In the 1960s Burroughs and Ginsberg joined the “gay” liberation movement. They decided that they were being oppressed by all those sober, decent fathers of families who worked 60 hours per week for forty years and spent 90% of their earnings on their wives and children... yes, they were being oppressed by all those women who lived as faithful, devoted wives and suffered convulsive pains in childbirth to make life possible for others!

Son's Suicide

In 1981 Burroughs’ son Billy published an article in Esquire magazine stating that he had been molested in Morocco at the age of 14 by one of his father’s homosexual friends. He exposed Burroughs as a thoroughly bad parent, accused him of poisoning his life, and committed suicide shortly afterwards.


See also Allen Ginsberg Pedophilia


  1. The New York Public Library Student's Desk Reference. Prentice Hall, New York, 1993.
  2. "Burroughs, William S."
  3. "William S. Burroughs." Famous Authors
  4. Grauerholz, James. Introduction p. xv, in William Burroughs. Interzone. New York: Viking Press, 1987.
  5. "Burroughs, William S." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
  6. Naked Lunch @ 50: Anniversary Essays, edited by Oliver C. G. Harris, Ian MacFadyen, SIU Press, 2009 p.94.
  8. Wising Up the Marks: The Amodern William Burroughs, Timothy S. Murphy University of California Press, 6 Dec 1997,159.
  9. War-torn Tales: Literature, Film and Gender in the Aftermath of World War II, edited by Danielle E. Hipkins, Gill Plain p.232