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US: California city officials sued for sting operation targeting gay men for cruising

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  1. Be an interesting case, good luck to the pair and I hope that they are successful.

  2. Philip Breen 13 Jun 2013, 4:59pm

    It is a pity they don’t take note of this in the UK, where gay men are still stigmatised for cruising because of the recent ‘filtering’ regulations published by the Home Office and DBS which declare ‘soliciting by man or persistently importuning for an immoral purpose’ to be a sexual offence that can never be filtered. Like the story above, these stings targeted only gay men & there was no prostitution involved. It is time someone challenged the DBS for retaining as non-filterable all of the old gay offences. They are not relevant to ‘safeguarding’ issues but are retained on the list of ‘specified offences’ because those of the prejudices of those who made the choices having decided the old gay offences to be “sordid or not nice”.

    1. Philip Breen 13 Jun 2013, 5:01pm

      In the last sentence the first ‘those’ should have been omitted. Sorry.

  3. There are more than one issues involved in this article.

    1-The issue of press releases before any trail or conviction which I agree is wrong.

    2-The issue of the police in S.L. not pursuing heterosexuals involved in lewd public behavior.

    This would certainly be easy to prove if
    this was being done by State police or a very large city. But in the relatively small area of a city like San Leandro,, the fact that police are involved with gay behavior in a restroom does not prove discrimination.

    3-Should police look the other way, or just tell people they should behave better? What about people, including children who want to use the restroom?
    Should the police just expect the people who are acting out in the restroom to be polite and give up their stalls and or stop their behavior until the users leave?

    4-If the gay press can’t support laws against public sexual acts, how will this influence the debate in countries which
    ban all gay sex and or free speech?

    1. Its not that doing things in public toilets should be legal – of course, that’s not what they’re for at all, and its especially wrong seeing as children use them – what this is about is how the police force were ONLY arresting gay people for committing this particular crime.

      Police shouldn’t look the other way for this crime, but that’s exactly what they are doing – but only when straight people commit the crime.

      As for publicising arrests of these random members of the public in this way, that is just homophobia – can anyone really claim that these men’s faces would have been plastered all over the press if they’d been committing the exact same crime but with a woman?

  4. Philip Breen 13 Jun 2013, 6:02pm

    In response to Jean above, point 2, historically the situation has been different in the UK where police were agents provocateurs persecuting gays until the 2003 Sexual Offences Act. The ‘soliciting’ conviction in the UK did not require one be acting out but merely looking for someone. The crime ‘Gross indecency’ was for acting out with someone. Nobody would prosecute a straight guy looking for a woman if prostitution or minors were not involved. Response to point 3. Most gay convictions have never involved children nor would do. This is an emotive argument used to link homosexuality and paedophilia. Most gay men are not interested in children or underage young men. Of course police should react to lewd behaviour. The question is what is appropriate. Prosecution is normally not necessary. Response to point 4. The old gay convictions in the UK were homophobic & victimless. Some countries are more in up to date than others but we cannot tolerate injustice anywhere & especially in the UK.

    1. To be fair on Jean, his third point had nothing to do with paedophilia. What he was saying is that it’s wrong for people to have sex in public toilets when young children will be using them.

      He wasn’t making any point about the men being attracted to children, what he was saying is that children shouldn’t have to listen to two people having sex in the cubicle next to them while they’re using the toilet

      1. Philip Breen 13 Jun 2013, 10:22pm

        Indeed, gay men shouldn’t have sex in public toilets and children mustn’t have to hear/see it happening, I agree. The ‘soliciting’ and ‘importuning’ convictions did not comprise such. Such was ‘gross indecency’. Those who picked men up, generally, in fact, took them to private places for sexual activity. These were, for the most part, gratuitously anti-gay arrests that were easy to make for the reasons outlined above. In any case, life has changed. It is so much easier for gay people to meet other and absolutely discreetly. It is unfair to stigmatise gay men for ever, on the basis of what they would not have/want to do, in the same way, nowadays. Most gay men would not choose to meet people like that these days, & yet they are stigmatised for ever, as if, the social conventions of a different time for gay people, obtained nowadays. Such a view is indiscriminate and unfair. Behind the prejudice, is the idea that gay men are not safe around underage males, clearly.

        1. All very true. Of all the stereotypes of gay men, paedophilia is definitely the worst one. The fact that people take the automatic assumption that gay men are all attracted to teenage boys is vile, and it’s not even seen as a controversial idea – I know many liberal types, some of whom even are pro-gay marriage, who see it as an accepted fact that gay people are very often paedophilic.

        2. But there are an have always been people who gain pleasure by having sex in these ‘tearooms’. In the past it was the only outlet especially for teenagers, but today I am sure the anonymity and convenience attract some men (especially married men) as always and there is for some a degree of fantasy. All that said today there isn’t a real justification for it. How you end it is not with arrests but with exposure, surveillance, visible police presence.

  5. The homos have a human right to infest our public toilets where there are young innocents apparently. As for discrimination’ I am sure they would have arrested any perp’ gay or not.

    1. Typical homophobic bigot completely misrepresenting the article. It doesn’t say anyone should have the right to have sex in public toilets, what it’s saying is that only gay men are prosecuted.

      If there were an article saying that murder prosecutions were only ever brought against men and never women, we could all agree that that would be sexist – and to point that out wouldn’t in any way be legitimising murder committed by men. Stop being childish and get over yourself

  6. I don’t think I fully understand the objections. I don’t see how you arrest many heterosexual couples in a same sex bathroom. I have never heard of a heterosexual tearoom, if such exists its news to me.

    Police operations using undercover officers to make arrests are wrong; if they really want to end the practice in a notorious ‘tearoom'; and that is a legitimate end; the solution is a visible police presence on a random but consistent basis. After a while a facility will have a reputation as unsafe for sex.

    Tearooms were and probably are a fact of life, and they are patronized by gay and ‘straight’ men and perhaps closeted teenagers who see no outlet for sex partners. When gay people lacked legal alternatives they may have been justified, but today they are a mixture of habit, fantasy, and opportunity for those whose inclinations run that way. It’s not a gay rights issue per se in my view…

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