Thursday, September 22, 2005

Outed

I was reading an article in the New York Times the other day, called A Sex Stop On The Way Home. It's about covert meeting places among both openly and closeted gay men, in parking lots and parks around New York. Not a new concept at all. In fact, in the past two places I've lived, I've been right around the corner from such pick-up scenes. Where I live now, pretty boys pretend to be waiting for buses, lounging sexily on benches, all around the perimeter of a nearby park. Those are the prostitutes. Or you'll see -- just as is mentioned in the article -- quite a number of men waiting around for other men in their cars, checking each other out, eagerly hoping for that afternoon hook-up. To me, it's sort of an interesting social situation to observe, but ultimately I don't really care what people do in private. (Although, I do admit I will openly cry "ewwwww" when I accidentally step on a used condom while walking in the park.)

Now, while the subject matter of the article wasn't earthshaking, I found it pretty insensitive that the New York Times, without identifying anyone by name, nevertheless gave the precise addresses where these hook-up spots could be found. Spots that the article itself mentioned were only known to the gay community. You can imagine what's going to happen.

First, there'll be gawkers who'll travel to those spots just to satiate their curiosity and see it for themselves. I'll admit that when I read an article about the "heroin hotspots" of my town, what did I do? Yes. I went for a stroll through one -- a very quick stroll -- but I couldn't help myself. My curiosity was piqued. How embarrassing for these guys to have to endure an audience.

But worse, what happens when anti-homosexual religious freaks get a hold of the article? Does anyone doubt that they'll draw up some offensive placards, place themselves all around the hook-up spots, and launch ugly protests or patronizing candelight vigils? I don't care how Blue of a state New York is, you know they're in there somewhere. And while I understand that the New York Times would not have liked to print an article that entirely failed to mention any names or places (leaving them with only the what, why and how), I'm troubled by the storm that may follow. I wonder if anyone will end up reporting on that...

4 Comments:

Anonymous tequilita said...

to me, the locale IS the news of the story. everyone knows these places exist...the news is where they exist. and frankly, if they're in parks or anything near where my children play (i don't have kids), i'd be glad for the information. nothing excuses hate crimes and i can understand your concern, but what's the point of printing the story if you don't tell the where when why how, etc. etc.?

1:45 PM  
Blogger Natalia said...

Well, we had a visit from some freaks on Duke's main West campus yesterday. They held up signs that said "Embrace Jesus or perish" and yelled abusive stuff about homosexuality. These things can pretty much happen anywhere. I just hope that nobody is harmed.

5:09 PM  
Blogger M. Fresh said...

I agree with you, Tequilita, that the story could not have been told without the "where." It's those darned consequences -- the foreseen and unforeseen, the good vs. the bad (however one interprets that) -- that intrigue me and keep me awake at night...

5:36 PM  
Blogger Joseph K said...

I think the harm of some homophobic sickos causing these men in the park harm outwieghs any value in knowing where the parks are.

7:31 PM  

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