by Dan Savage
on Sun, Sep 6, 2009 at 11:17 AM
No one thinks less of park-and-toilet cruisers than I do. Seriously. I've slapped 'em around in "Savage Love" so many times that I'm probably on the enemies list at Cruising For Sex. And I don't have a lot of sympathy for out gay guys who have sex in public parks (or toilets) and get caught because the risk of getting caught is part of the thrill—right, guys?—and I don't have a ton of sympathy for "straight" guys who fuck in parks because the anonymity allows 'em to have their cock and their closets too. Still, I'm on the record opposing sex stings like the one in Pierce County that resulted in arrests of more than two dozen men who were having sex in a public park.
Investigators say the men have been hooking up in the woods at the park, 14905 Gus G. Bresemann Road S., after seeing notices on several Web sites, including Craigslist, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
These men saw notices on Craigslist—but who put those notices on Craigslist? I get the impression the Pierce County Sheriff's department did. The Seattle Times described the arrests as part of a "sting," and I don't see how it could be called a sting if there wasn't some sort of official subterfuge involved. It's a plain ol' raid if the police just show up, right? So... the two dozen men were arrested after the police invited them into the park to have what they thought would be consensual sex with strangers.
Um... guys? Lawyer up and fight the charges, guys.
And everyone else: posting ads to Craigslist and rounding up closet cases in parks seems like a pretty retarded use of police resources. The Dutch, as usual, have a better idea.
A park near Amsterdam has unveiled information signs pointing out spots where officials say gay men are known to have sex—so no visitors are taken by surprise. The signs "clearly indicate what is happening in each zone; also those where gay men are known to practice 'cruising'," municipal spokeswoman Manon Koffijberg said.
Cruising is a slang word used to describe the act of trawling for casual sex. "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.... 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," said Ms Koffijberg. "Things are arranged so that each group can relax in their own area without intruding on each other."