Toronto
2 min

Gay sex terror

The bottom line is that sex is not indecent.

Unfortunately, gay people often go to great lengths to distance themselves from discussions of cruising and sex. Credit: Xtra files

The roads and trails along Lake Ontario are deserted – save for one small dirt road leading to a sailing club near Cherry Beach. It’s a brutally cold Sunday in February – unfavourable sailing conditions, despite bright sunshine – yet a steady stream of vehicles flows to and from the club parking lot, which is full. A few men brave the cold and stroll around, but most sit in their cars, waiting for someone suitably sexy to come along, so they can fool around.



Into this little cluster of humanity strides a cop on horseback. She halts her horse smack dab in the middle of the hub of cars, and remains there, motionless like a sentry, until one by one, the cars begin to leave.



Cherry Beach appears to be her beat. I’ve seen her down there before, in the summer. She manoeuvres her poor horse through the intricate pathways, interrupting the men who traipse them and have sex in the bushes as bladers and cyclists zoom by, oblivious.



Her job, basically, is to spoil people’s fun. I wonder if she takes pride in her completely negative function in the universe, or if it takes its toll on her soul. During her tenure, has she humanized the men who come here, or does she revile them? Does she ever get turned on, sucked into the depravity, like Al Pacino in the film Cruising?



I’ve heard she’s quite friendly, though this may be just a rumour. Perhaps it’s a no-hard-feelings antagonism, like that of Sam, the sheepdog from the old Looney Toons cartoons. He spends his days beating up Ralph, the coyote, because that’s his job. But when the whistle blows at 5, Sam and Ralph are all palsy walsy.



I remain irritated by the cop as I cycle along, and I decide to grill her about her work. I want to make her feel bad. But when I return to the parking lot she is gone. A new fleet of cars has replaced those she chased away. She must feel like Sisyphus, who was doomed to roll a boulder uphill, only to have it roll back down so he could start all over again, for eternity.



Public sex, like dancing or laughing or breathing, is unstoppable because it is basically human. Efforts to stomp it out are futile – and their consequences can be grave.



In Ohio, a man spent six months in jail for propositioning another man in a park. Ohio has an importuning law, which makes it a crime to proposition someone for homosexual sex. (There’s no corresponding straight law.)



Most tragically, one of several men charged while cruising in a Rhode Island adult video store killed himself on Jan 20. Suicide is a recurring theme in the wake of cruising arrests.



Closer to home, police busted two men in a London, Ontario, public washroom last month. The head of the police force’s criminal investigations unit likened the sight of gay sex to domestic violence. He called it “psychological terrorization.” He is an idiot.



We’re not so smart ourselves if we think we can detour around the fear and loathing of gay sex, and ride to public acceptance on the tails of smiley celebrities and snuggly couples.



Unfortunately, gay people often go to great lengths to distance themselves from discussions of cruising and sex. They think it’s embarassing, sordid and enforcing of negative stereotypes.



You don’t necessarily have to understand why men choose to spend their Sunday afternoons in remote parking lots. All culture, all human behaviour, is odd. That’s what makes life interesting. Consider other, more mundane Sunday activities. People gather in churches, directing chants at invisible forces controlling the universe. People sit before televisions for hours on end, watching men toss footballs and tackle one another.



The bottom line is that sex is not indecent. Surely if there is any public indecency deserving our ire, it is that committed by the likes of the horse-riding cop.



* David Walberg is Xtra’s publisher.