Towleroad has this video from CNN up; it’s an interview with Major Darryl Tolleson of the Atlanta Police Department on the kind of folks his unit has busted for having sex in public restrooms — they’ve busted CEOs, bank presidents, law professors, you name it…but most of them are straight identified, with wives and children in the dark about their netherworld activities.

“The majority of these men, they have families…You would think that it would be a gay issue but overhwhelmingly more and more, we’re seeing that these are people with families.”

Yes, it’s these pathetic hetero-identified closet cases making their way to these restrooms to engage in their same-sex desires, regardless of the impact on those families that they prize for social acceptance.

Meanwhile, those of us out here fighting to obtain our civil rights stand vulnerable to the political activities and judgment from Larry Craig and others like him. Sara Whitman at Huff Post nails it:

He claimed a higher moral ground while he was cruising for sex in bathrooms because… well, because his fundraising clearly depended on it. It’s doubtful that a gay man in Idaho would get elected Senator but I might be wrong about that. Regardless, if he wanted to be in the closet, still stay married, be a Senator, well, I can understand all of that. It’s not easy to be out, it means job discrimination, it means physical harassment and sometimes violence, it means not being able to have your loved one be your legal spouse or any of those benefits. It means, often, losing your family and friends. It’s not an easy path. I can respect anyone who chooses to live in the closet on one condition:

They don’t actively fight for laws in an elected office that allow for discrimination, hate and bigotry. If Senator Craig needs a pick me up every now and then from the men’s room, I think that’s pathetic, but … to each his own and understand, you’re going to get caught.


National Black Justice Coalition on Larry Craig

In a similar vein, Alexander Robinson of the National Black Justice Coalition has a thoughtful piece on the Senator Larry Craig’s “dilemma” — it’s particularly relevant because it raises the issue of the fluidity of sexuality and the phenomenon of men who identify as heterosexual engaging in sex with men, something often brought up in discussions about the Down Low (usually associated with black men in popular culture).

The Craig incident shows how colorblind the phenomenon is — there are a lot of “family men” cruising restrooms, parks and other public areas where illicit sexual encounters take place because these men cannot accept their same-sex desires as moral or legitimate. They act out inappropriately.

Since Sen. Craig clearly attempted to engage in gay sexual behavior but publicly denies a gay sexual identity does this mean that he is in sexual denial or perhaps deeply closeted?  Not necessarily.  Often men who engage in the underground culture of public restroom, rest stop, tea room sex do so as an act of sexual titillation, sexual release, and an immediate sexual gratification.

They are fueled by the sexual thrill of getting caught, doing something that is taboo and the potential danger of seeking out homoerotic encounters with men who otherwise would strictly identify as heterosexual.

So in every sense and definition of the word, the sex that these men have is truly, utterly and exclusively recreational.  It is void of emotional value, love, respect, intimacy or an expectation of a romantic relationship to come.  For them having male-to-male sex is truly a sport, a hobby, a distraction and a pastime or rebellion against convention with no emotional attachment or desire for more.

He covers the differences on how black and white DL men are treated in the media, as well as the reasons why many blacks refer to themselves as same-gender-loving (SGL) because of the media-driven image of what “gay” is. This is also the case for Larry Craig, who finds no identification with “gay.”

Today for an individual to self-identity as gay, they seemingly must take on an image created by the media that is based upon societal stereotypes.  For men, we must be either feminine or super gym macho bunnies.  We must be either florists or hairdressers or super witty, smart, affluent and overly-successful. But all too often, the gay identity most exclusively seen and portrayed is that of white men and their lives (i.e. Will and Grace, Queer as Folk).

Sen. Larry Craig rejects this identity, because simply this is not who he is. He is a conservative, married man who has very little in common with America’s gay identity. In fact he is perfectly valid in stating that he is not a gay man.

I urge you to read the rest and comment.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding