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September 24, 2009

Sexual health charity criticised for distributing condoms in gay cruising areas

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 6:32 am

By Jessica Geen @ pinknews.co.uk

A Yorkshire-based sexual health charity has been attacked for reportedly nailing bags of condoms to trees in gay cruising areas.

Litherop Lane is a popular cruising site

Litherop Lane is a popular cruising site

Residents near the Kirklees and Calderdale site say the Brunswick Centre is overstepping the line and making the problem worse.

Litherop Lane, between Clayton West and High Hoyland, is a well-known site for men meeting for sex and is listed on a number of cruising websites.

Earlier this month, local man Christopher Hartley was found shot dead in the area. He was alleged to be running a heterosexual sex tourism business.

Local councillor Jim Dodds told the Huddersfield Examiner he had tried to ask the charity to stop distributing condoms in the area but had been accused of homophobia.

He said: “If you put seed on the ground for birds they will flock to it. By doing this they are only attracting more people down.

 “We think people ought to do this sort of thing in the privacy of their own homes.

“They shouldn’t be offering facilities for lots more to do it.”

According to the newspaper, the Brunswick Centre was criticised two years ago for a link on its website which led to a pornographic cruising website. A former employee said it was encouraging men with wives and girlfriends to seek risky sex.

When PinkNews.co.uk approached the charity, it declined to comment.

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September 20, 2009

Gardening tops cruising

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 3:57 pm

by Hannah Clay Wareham @ baywindows.com

The recent news that’s come to light regarding gay cruising in the Fens (and what gets left behind) has spurned some interesting questions within the LGBT community and greater Boston. A recurring concern is that the Boston Police Department is targeting a minority group of people (the LGBT community; and more specifically, gay cruisers) in their efforts to keep the Victory Gardens clean and vandalism-free.

gardening tops cruising“Any time you ask the police to focus on an area that has a particular community within it, you have to be very careful of how that is handled,” City Councilor Mike Ross said. “My…goal here has been to make sure that legitimate work of the police is done so in a way that is very sensitive to the fact that this is an individual population, and it’s a population that was once and is still a targeted, protected class.”

Charles Martel, a Boston resident who is a plot-owner in the Victory Gardens and a gay man, recalled his neighbor finding a crack pipe and used needles in his plot. “We find not only used condoms, but people have defecated in the aisles. It’s a very gross situation, environmentally,” Martel said. He believes that the increased police presence in the Gardens is due directly to the littering problem. “The issue there really is about…the damage to the gardens. The effort is not about trying to stop the cruising. It is because we’ve had problems with vandalism, with finding drug paraphernalia in the gardens.”

Local attorney and chair of the Anti-Violence Project Don Gorton has been in contact with Dan Linsky, following a request filed by Gorton for a sit-down meeting to discuss the issue. “I received a call from Superintendent Dan Linsky and he assured me that they’re not trying to stop gay cruising,” Gorton said. He hopes to have representatives from Fenway Health and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) present at the meeting to help “resolve issues of perceptions of harassment.”

“As reports of masses of condom debris and extensive vandalism come to light, my hope is that the police are making some effort to differentiate the innocent from the guilty,” Gorton said. “It’s not consistent with due process to blame all loitering gay men in the Fens for wrongdoing and impose a blanket penalty, i.e., exclusion from public land. Yet that’s how police have typically handled citizen complaints of non-criminal gay cruising activity.”

Aside from the prevention of vandalism and illegal (not to mention unhygienic) waste disposal, the city has also undertaken an effort to remodel the Fenway Gardens, a project that includes the removal of the tall reeds, or phragmies, frequented by cruisers.

“The banks of the Muddy River are going to look more like the Esplanade than they are going to look like what they currently look like. There will not be giant reeds, there will not be phragmites, there will not be areas where people can hide out and be obscured from public view,” Ross said. “And that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. In the next couple of years, you’re going to see radical changes in that area, including the removal of the phragmites.”

August 24, 2009

Gay singer George Michael on BBC 24 News

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 7:37 am

gay singer george michael intends to sue the people who are behind his sex scandal allegations; he was spotted – and photographed – in the notorious gay cruising area of hampstead heath

August 19, 2009

Real (Gay) Men Don’t Cruise: Larry Craig, Gay Identity, and Ideology

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 3:31 pm
Larry_Craig_official_portraitMen having sex with other men in public (observable) places have always presented a challenge to advocates for civil rights for queers. On one hand, the LGBT rights movement in the United States has historically included a push to transgress social and cultural norms of sexual behavior, which are often used to repress alternative modes of sexual expression. On the other hand, the increasing legal and social acceptance of queer sexuality and the emergence of more private spaces to find sex partners has mitigated the need for cruising and other outlaw forms of sexual expression. Additionally, as gay rights advocates continue to press their cause in legislative and judicial fora, condoning public sex seems increasingly to be a liability. Recent highly visible controversies involving men who are looking for sex with other men in public places reveal sharp ideological divides in queer communities over issues of sexuality and identity, as people argue about the role of sexual behavior in constructing gay identity and the place for unconventional expressions of individual and group sexuality in an increasingly mainstream social movement. This paper analyzes the discourse in queer fora surrounding public sex for the ideological rifts and ruptures it reveals.

Get the paper here

 

August 18, 2009

US columnist suggests using attack dogs to stop gay cruising

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 10:57 am

By Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk • August 12, 2009

parkCREDflickrusermeredithA newspaper columnist in Georgia has suggested using attack dogs to prevent men meeting for sex in public spaces.

Dick Yarbrough, a conservative columnist in the Marietta Daily Journal, proposed a “doggone solution” to the “boy-boy problem” of public sex in two suburban parks.

He wrote: “With a little instruction, dogs could be taught to severely dislike the gay lovers in Burruss and Wildwood and bite them in the fanny and do what City Council should have done years ago – chase them off to Atlanta where they belong.”

Yarbrough’s rancour also extended to smokers and mobile phone users, who he suggested could also come in for the dog solution.

“Assuming that works,” he added, “we will then tell the canines that cell phone users are really just possums with bad attitudes. The dogs will take it from there and then maybe the rest of us can have a little peace and quiet in Glover Park.”

Anti-cruising website publishes uncensored photos of faces and car registrations

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 10:38 am

By Jessica Geen • July 9, 2009

pinknews.co.uk

cruisingcarsThe Information Commissioner is to investigate an anti-cruising website after an exclusive report by PinkNews.co.uk.

The website, set up to raise awareness of the “disgusting” practice of gay men meeting for sex, publishes uncensored images of car registration plates and faces of men allegedly involved.

Cruisingscene.co.uk focuses on the Haldon area of Devon, near Exeter. Local residents have previously complained about finding used condoms and tissues in the area.

It warns: “All over the country there is a disgusting underground world that most decent members of society have little or no knowledge of. This world is one where outwardly heterosexual men with wives and families at home go out ‘cruising’.

It adds: “Many of these men partake in unprotected sex with each other, indeed their preferences are advertised for all to see on the websites referred to above. They then obviously go home to their families and will resume ‘normal sexual relations’ within that home, passing on goodness knows what disease to these completely innocent people.”

Several PinkNews.co.uk readers have voiced their concerns about the website. One reader, who wished to remain anonymous, said the site was “vile” and “homophobic”.

He told PinkNews.co.uk: “What is really worrying is what … this sort of vigilantism can lead to. The Sexual Offences Act of 2003 was supposed to mean that we can now meet in public, but if we have to tolerate this sort of one-sided behaviour, then no real gains in our freedom has been achieved.

“Cruising areas, in rural areas especially, mean a place where gay and bisexual men can meet, as usually the surrounding towns and villages are poorly served by gay bars.”

Although the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was initially unsure whether the site was breaching data protection laws, it is now launching an investigation.

An ICO spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk: “We will be investigating this website to establish if it is processing personal data and if so, whether it is in compliance with the Data Protection Act.”

One company, whose van was featured on the website with its registration number and company details clearly visible, said its vehicle was not in the area for cruising, adding it would be contacting the ICO to have the image removed.

Stephen Loughrey of Carter-Ruck, a law firm which specialises in libel and privacy law, told PinkNews.co.uk: “In my view this is a gross invasion of the privacy of the people whose photographs have been published. The activity being reported upon here is consensual sex between adults. While it is distinguishable from the circumstances of the Mosley case (in that the activity being reported upon is happening in public), there is no public interest in publishing unpixalated photographs showing the car number plates and faces of those purportedly engaging in this activity.

“Although the individuals involved may not have a reasonable expectation of privacy while engaging in the activity, they have a legitimate and entirely reasonable expectation that photographs of them doing so will not be published to the world at large.

“While the activity may potentially constitute a minor public order offence (if for example local people have raised complaint), the degree of the intrusion into the private lives of those pictured is not proportionate to the public interest supposedly being served by the publication.”

The website’s domain name is listed as belonging to the cartoon character “Scooby Doo”. But 123-Reg, the company that processed the domain name registration, told PinkNews.co.uk that they believe the name belongs to a Mike Rowland. The rest of the information they have on file is fake so it is difficult to trace him.

Professor Peter Sommer, a well-known expert in privacy and data protection at the London School of Economics, told PinkNews.co.uk: “If the pictures were taken in a public place, there is probably no protection the Information Commissioner can give. But there is possible protection under privacy rights in human rights laws, such as those used by celebrities who have been photographed with their children or worse for wear coming out of a nightclub. Whether there is a public interest is arguable.”

Local residents have previously complained about the issue of men meeting for sex in the woodland area.

In March, one woman told the Express & Echo she had documented more than 150 vehicles in one of the most popular sites.

“It happens at all times of the day and night and the litter left behind is disgusting,” she said.

“There are used condoms, soiled wipes and inappropriate literature all over the place.

“It should be a pleasant area where children can run around freely, but it is being spoiled by these people. I think the police are too afraid of being labelled politically incorrect to deal with it.”

Superintendent Richard Baker, in charge of policing the area, said it was a “complex issue” but added it was a low priority compared with violent crime.

In May, Lincolnshire man Colin Haw, 47, was given a four-month suspended prison sentence for a Section 4A Public Order offence.

He had filmed a motorist urinating at a cruising spot while shouting homophobic abuse and threats at him. Haw later posted the footage on a website.

PinkNews.co.uk contacted Exeter police but have yet to receive a response.

August 14, 2009

Dutch park unveils signs to ‘warn visitors’ about gay cruising spots

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 6:54 am

By Henrietta Ronson • April 29, 2009

pinknews.co.uk

parkCREDflickrusermeredithA park in the southwest of Amsterdam has put up signs indicating areas where gay men are allegedly known to have sex so no one will be caught unaware.

Manon Koffiijberg, a municipal spokeswoman, told Agence France-Presse: “There are various groups of users of the park; people with small children who bathe on the beaches, those who walk their dogs, gays cruising and nature lovers.

“Things are arranged so that each group can relax in their own area without intruding on each other.”

“The signs clearly indicate what is happening in each zone; also those where gay men are known to practice ‘cruising’.”

“If you don’t want to be confronted by a vision of that sort, the signs allow you to avoid specific areas,” said Ms Koffijberg.

The De Oeverlanden park in Slotervaart, is known as a popular spot for gay men from all over the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe to find sex partners.

Ms Koffijberg maintains that though public sex is indeed illegal, the park had turned a blind eye for so long that it has become “gedoog”.

Gedoog is a Dutch word for tolerating unwanted behaviour.

Cruisers tend to keep their sexual activities to the confines of the bushes in the park and the new signs have been erected to ensure that unwitting visitors do not accidently stray into the areas.

Recently there have been reports of gay bashing in the Slotervaart area, which is populated by a large group of Muslim immigrants. Reports of robberies and violence against gay men in De Oeverlanden park are rife.

August 11, 2009

DiFatta twice detained for lewd conduct in mall restrooms

Filed under: Gay Cruising, Gay News — Tags: , , , , , , , , — cruisinggay.com @ 3:18 pm

Posted by The Times Picayune, October 04, 2007

By Christine Harvey St. Tammany bureau

05nw.difattaSt. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta, who on Thursday withdrew from the 1st Senate District campaign, has been stopped twice since 1996 for suspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms in Jefferson Parish, records obtained by The Times-Picayune show.

DiFatta, 53, acknowledged that reports he had been stopped are true, but he denied any wrongdoing in both cases. He said he was not prosecuted in either case and has no arrest record.

“If I had done something wrong, I would have been arrested,” DiFatta said Thursday afternoon. “I was not. I will deny that I was involved in any activity of that nature.”

Earlier Thursday, DiFatta called reporters to announce that he planned to withdraw from the Senate race. He said he has been having chest pains for a few weeks, and elevated enzyme levels indicate he might have had a minor heart attack in the past few days. As a result, his doctor advised him to slow down and make some changes in his life.

DiFatta, who has served on the St. Bernard Parish Council since January 1996 and is currently its chairman, denied he is stepping down from the Senate race for fear that the reports would become public. In fact, he said he did not know the reports had surfaced when he made his decision.

Kenner police issued a misdemeanor summons to DiFatta in September 1996 in connection with a peeping Tom incident in a men’s bathroom at the former Mervyn’s department store at The Esplanade mall, according to a Kenner Police Department incident report obtained by The Times-Picayune.

The report states that DiFatta watched a man use the bathroom while peering through a hole in a bathroom stall. The man held DiFatta until police arrived, at which time he was issued the misdemeanor summons and ordered to appear in court.

DiFatta said the man eventually withdrew his complaint, and the case was dismissed. A spokeswoman for the Kenner Police Department said the record was expunged.

Tapping foot in stall

In the second incident, Jefferson Parish deputies working an undercover detail in a men’s bathroom at Dillard’s at Lakeside Shopping Center in March 2000 stopped DiFatta after he indicated a desire to engage in sex with an undercover deputy in an adjoining bathroom stall, according to an interoffice memorandum written by Sgt. Keith Conley, one of the deputies involved in the investigation.

The report said DiFatta slid his foot into the deputy’s stall and tapped the deputy’s foot. In the report, Conley noted that such activity is common among men to indicate a willingness to participate in sex.

The deputy inside the stall, Detective Wayne Couvillion, responded by tapping his foot, and DiFatta reached under the partition and began to rub the deputy’s leg, the report states.

The detective asked DiFatta, “What do you want?” according to the report, and he replied, “I want to play with you.”

DiFatta also used a hand signal to indicate that he wanted to engage in sex and used language that indicated the same, according to the report. Conley, who is now the Kenner city attorney, confirmed the report’s authenticity Thursday.

The incident did not culminate in an arrest because the deputy in the bathroom with DiFatta terminated the investigation after several children entered the bathroom, the report states. Conley noted in the report that DiFatta appeared well-versed and comfortable with the routine.

Conley wrote that had the investigation been allowed to continue, it likely would have concluded in DiFatta’s arrest on obscenity charges, including a possible attempted crime against nature.

Conley confronted DiFatta outside the bathroom, and DiFatta apologized and said he would not return, according to the report. DiFatta also said he has a problem with such behavior and had sought counseling for the addiction in the past, the report states.

In both instances, DiFatta produced his commission from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office identifying him as a captain. DiFatta said Thursday he did not show his commission either time until officers asked him for identification, all of which he keeps in his wallet.

Struggling after Katrina

When he chose to run for state Senate, DiFatta relinquished the opportunity to run for re-election to the St. Bernard Parish Council. His term ends in January.

DiFatta said he has enjoyed serving the parish and its people and thanked his supporters.

A jeweler who had received several political endorsements in the Senate race, DiFatta also noted that the stress from enduring Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath might have gotten the best of him. He lost his Chalmette home to Katrina, and it took him almost 14 months to rebuild.

In the interim, he has been a strong voice for his constituents, traveling often to Washington, D.C., to fight for recovery help.

DiFatta has notified the Louisiana secretary of state’s office that he intends to withdraw from the race, but his withdrawal won’t be official until he files the paperwork, said Jacques Berry, the office’s spokesman. Regardless, DiFatta’s name will remain on the ballot for the Oct. 20 primary, as the state already has printed the ballots, he said.

Any votes to be invalid

Poll workers will place signs in the precincts where DiFatta’s name is on the ballot letting the voters know he is no longer in the race and that a vote for him will not be valid, Berry said.

DiFatta’s latest campaign finance report shows that he has almost $69,000 in the bank. DiFatta said he will use the money to pay some outstanding bills, though he noted he can hold onto the money to use later.

DiFatta’s abrupt departure from the race leaves two candidates — Reps. A.G. Crowe and Ken Odinet — fighting for the 1st District seat, which includes St. Bernard Parish and parts of St. Tammany, Plaquemines and Orleans parishes.

Odinet, who lives in Arabi, said Thursday that he was saddened to hear DiFatta has been ill. Crowe, a Pearl River resident, said he wishes DiFatta a speedy recovery.

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