What shall we discuss, though, in the meantime? “Oh, GayProf,” I hear you saying, “It doesn’t matter what your write. We are just so glad that you have returned to us! It is as prophesied in the holy texts.”
Now you are saying, “Don’t you ever get tired of that joke, GayProf?” Shut up, voices in my head.
“Hey, GayProf, Let’s talk about bathhouses.”
As Mike Prov 1 mentioned in the pervious post’s comments, Albuquerque police raided a local gay
According to news coverage, more than a dozen police entered the gym wearing bullet-proof vests. Once inside, they found many men in the “play area” engaged in sexual activities.
According to my many videos, the police should have then joined in on those activities. Under this totally realistic scenario, the police would end the evening by thanking the bathhouse patrons for showing them how to be proud gay men through intense man-on-man action. Clearly these police officers did not know the logical order of events.
Instead, they harassed and handcuffed the patrons, forcing them to lay on the floor. Tell me that you want to lay naked on a bathhouse floor. Yuck! Let’s be honest. Cum is like confetti – it’s only fun and exciting at the very instant that it’s tossed. After the party, it’s just an annoying mess. -- What? The Center of Gravitas is not a blog for children.
Allegedly, the gym served liquor at Friday and Saturday evening parties, a violation of state liquor laws. Now, I may not be the smartest man in the world – just in the United States -- but it seems to me that a gym serving flat beer would not really require this type of police mobilization. I kid you not -- I have been to video stores that had happy hours. They dished out beer from a keg as you browsed for your Friday-night flick (No, I am talking about adult video stores – those served a tasteful Chianti). In this instance, of course, the key bit of the story was that the gym served flat beer to dehydrated naked gay men.
GayProf does not partake of the bathhouse scene – trust me, it's just not me. Why, though, in 2006 are we still having an issue with their existence? If some consenting adults want to gather, get naked (except for totally sexy shower-sandals (?!)), and enjoy each other’s, um, company, why do people care? Poverty, unequal access to education, pollution, and disease strike me as much more important issues to think about than a sticky-group of groping men.
Even within the queer community, we hear claims that bathhouses “make us look bad” or “are indecent.” To those queers who suggest such things, I say, “Kiss my ass. Why do you want all queers to ‘fit in’ so badly?” If you imagine yourself as being more sedate than a bathhouse, great! Rules that dictate your sexual behavior, though, are all self-imposed. Let others explore what works for them.
Don’t get me wrong. I think bathhouse owners have clear responsibilities to give out an ample supply of free condoms. One should get a towel, a key, and a dozen rubbers upon entering the door and plunking down your money. Condoms should be in every corner of the joint. Hey, if you want to turn a profit on customers’ lust, you need to pay to keep them safe. That’s the price of doing business. Of course, I also think that the bathhouses should provide free Lamisil as well.
Likewise, bathhouse patrons sure-as-hell better play safe. GayProf needs his queer brothers and sisters alive and well to foment revolution. Getting yourself killed through some thoughtless hook-up ain’t going to help me.
All of this ties into another comment from Anon, who questioned New Mexico’s ranking first (along with New York) for GLBTQ issues and reproductive freedom in the U.S. Three advocacy groups, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Ipas and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, reviewed existing laws, pending legislation, and political campaigns. New Mexico ranked highly because of its long history of anti-discrimination laws covering gays and transgender people. The Land of Enchantment declares equality based on sexual orientation a basic human right. New Mexico is just one of a handful of states with neither a law nor constitutional amendment explicitly restricting marriage to heterosexual couples. One of only a few to do so, New Mexico also explicitly requires unisex restrooms in all public buildings.
Anon, though, rightly pointed out that New Mexico’s courts recently sent a group of vicious and depraved gay bashers home with a slap on the wrist. Remember that New Mexico and New York competed with the other United States. That’s not really tough competition to achieve a moral high ground on GLBTQ issues. Did we really think that Texas, South Dakota, Ohio, Mississippi, or Indiana can compete with New Mexico’s “live and let live” mentality? If, by the way, you have only ever lived in New Mexico, the rest of the U.S. really is different.
New Mexico decriminalized private adult consensual homosexual acts in 1975; but, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways of harassing the community. Legal protections mean little if we don’t demand that they are enforced. One of the greatest dangers facing the queer community is complacency, particularly from those in the middle class.
Perhaps the local gym owner did violate state liquor laws. If so, he was dumb as dirt. The state always gets its cut of money on liquor. The government learned from prohibition. Drunks spend money and the state wants a slice. Always.
What should concern us, though, is the way that such raids can be (and have historically been) used to keep the queer community immobilized and panic stricken. Call me ParanoidProf, but it’s not that far a jump to go from saying that a group of gay men can’t have sex in a private club to saying a couple of gay men can’t have sex in a private house.