Foot Tapping and Anonymous Gay Culture

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Republican U.S. Senator Larry Craig pleaded guilty to a charge involving lewd public behavior in a restroom at a Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The incident happened in June, the report came out Monday. What does the story say about anonymous gay encounters, and why do these meetings still happen in the internet age? New York magazine writer David Amsden and William Eskridge, a law professor at Yale University, look at the issue and hear listener's stories.


David Amsden and William Eskridge

Comments [12]

Harry from Brooklyn

As a gay man almost exactly as old as Senator Craig, I can understand why he could convince himself that he was not gay, just a regular guy who liked sex with other men. The social pressures when he and I came of age were enormous. To make matters worse, he began his political career when a nationally publicized call-boy scandal was rocking the Idaho legislature. It's sad that he was forced to live a lie, and to seek sex only in tawdry circumstances.

Aug. 29 2007 11:12 PM
Scrivner from New York

This seems to be part of a trend: It appears that those members of the conservative right who lobby most stridently against gay rights are damning publically what they most loath privately in themselves.

My primary concern--apart from Anne's comment about her fear for her two boys, reflecting a spurious predatory/pedophilic intent on the part of gay men--is that, in scratching his libidinal itch, Mr. Craig may be bringing home to his wife more than mere guilt. The unfortunate price for anonymous public sex is the increased likelihood of transmission of known and unknown pathogens.

I believe Mr. Craig would be doing himself and his family a favor by making his sexual preferences clear--particularly to himself, since homosexual denial is frequent in public office--and acting on them in a more responsible manner.

Aug. 29 2007 02:31 PM

An irony of this situation is that it makes the closeted guy most likely to be busted and publicly humiliated.

Aug. 29 2007 12:03 PM
Al from Lisbon

Indeed solicitation "per se" should be legal, in its heterosexual and homosexual "form"! A simple "no" will end the problem.

I agree with Erin's comment on "shared bathrooms", as for Mark C, it should be noted that there's merit in this discussion because considering the act described as a crime is symptomatic of homophobic policy. At the very least, the norm "helps" indirect discrimination.

As to the "real question" as posted by hjs, why should the discussion "big government vs. small government" be above gay people?

Aug. 29 2007 11:47 AM
Robert from Montclair, NJ

What could be illegal, is, of course, attempting to bribe an officer. The "What to you think of this?" comment as he showed the officer his business card, as reported in the police report, could easily lead to such an offer. So far as I know, such an offer was not reported.

Aug. 29 2007 11:37 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

I don't understand what he did that's illegal...if men and women shared bathrooms this kind of solicitation would be normal and something women would have to endure daily!

Aug. 29 2007 11:01 AM
mark c from manhattan

Brian, i am amazed this is even a discussion, tea-rooming or cottaging (as it called in the UK) its so old school!

Aug. 29 2007 11:00 AM

He didn't "just tap his foot" he reportedly moved it under the wall into the next stall, something that will get anyone's attention. As a gay man, I've seen this stuff go on a million times and I'm not at all interested in stuff like this so it doesn't surprise me that someone into this would do this.

Aug. 29 2007 10:58 AM
Emily from Brooklyn

Isn't part of the point that anonymous encounters are anonymous, hence "safer" to engage in for a high profile public official?


Aug. 29 2007 10:57 AM
Alan Bitwith from Bronx

This is nothing new to gay men. It still goes on. In Manhattan check out Macy's bathroom at Herald's Square or Port Authority upstairs bathroom..

Aug. 29 2007 10:57 AM
Anne from Redding, CT

If the bathroom in the airport is indeed a "Hot Spot" for gay sex, as a mother of two sons I would want to have it stopped.

Aug. 29 2007 10:57 AM
hjs from 11211

the REAL question is why does the republican party attact so many homosexuals

Aug. 29 2007 10:56 AM

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