Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cruising: Sex the Way My Foresisters Sought It

In the last couple years I've really developed a fondness for cruising. There's something empowering and thrilling about finding anonymous sex in outdoor public spaces under the cover of darkness.

Cruising had originally come about as a means to discreetly have sex with other men.  At the time homosexuality was a mental illness and homosexual acts illegal in most jurisdictions.  Such laws and societal bullshit drove men into the scandalously sexy cover of darkness.  However, I'm sure at the time the sense of risk was much greater than it is now, not to mention risk to personal safety.

Some would argue that the advent of online dating/hookup sites and the various mobile apps have taken a toll on cruising. As these mediums have gained popularity I see that argument having validity--the creepiness and safety risks seem reduced with the exchange of photos and digital meaningless messages prior to sex.

My search for cock at 19 saw me scouring the internet.  It was a scary endeavour.  A couple years later I had began hooking up in bars and clubs as I became more sexually secure with myself.  Following being raped at one of my favourite clubs I took a bit of a hiatus to reflect.  Through this reconciliation process I grew stronger than before and really understood what it meant to own my sexuality and stand up for myself and those I love and care for in any situation. My views toward sex had obviously been heavily influenced by the rape.  Not negatively, I will add. I am now more open about sex (the act itself and discussion) because I want to have as much sex as possible but also to create an open space in which all sex, sex acts, and sexual bodies are normalized.

In the last couple years I find myself having more sex than ever and really enjoying it. Cruising, bathhouses, club/bar hookups, online/mobile apps, and even the night bus. Cruising, however, has the most luscious allure. It's one of the oldest forms of anonymous gay sex and is still practiced but also heavily stigmatized.  Those in opposition to it often fear it perpetuates gay stereotypes of promiscuity and a lack of safe sex. But, I refuse to allow someone's fear of their community being seen as promiscuous to change how I have sex. As a sexual minority, gay men have always had their sexuality policed and controlled through legislation and hate (note: I realize all groups/peoples have similar realities to different degrees). It's almost an obligation gay men have to continue being as promiscuous as they want however they want.  Submitting to heteronormative sexual values will compromise our collective sexuality and the rights we've fought for.

Cruising is exhilarating. You go to what's usually a dark place just off the beaten path with little other traffic. A parking lot, path in a park, alley way, or washroom. Men are usually fully clothed while they walk around glancing at each other.  If a glance is returned to you accompanied by body language welcoming engagement you're pretty much guaranteed to have sex with the man.  Very few words are exchanged.  At most it's to see what all parties are looking for sexually and to set any boundaries. Sometimes there's not even any words exchanged.

Busy cruising grounds on a weekend evening can easily have 20 or more men present.  Group sex is common. In my experience I've had a couple men state clearly that they're straight. It's not actually anything I really care about as I'm only there for sex.  But, for whatever reason this is necessary for them. Cruising, therefore, is also an activity to engage in by the MSM-curious.  Anonymity is empowering.

For myself, cruising is about getting what I want with no knowledge of the other partner(s).  Not having any history with a sexual partner is liberating.  You owe nothing to them other than to respect their body and safety.  You're there to enjoy them and yourself, as are they. Any inhibitions or insecurities can be cast aside. Likely, neither party will be able to recognize the other in any other setting.

Cruising is probably here to stay for a long time. Other mediums for sexual interactions work for many people.  But, the raw anonymity of cruising will always draw certain people.  Cruising is also much more efficient to have sex. You see a figure who may be attractive and approach them. Upon closer examination and possibly hearing their voice you make a decision: yes, I want your cock/mouth/ass; or, no, I'll pass. Online media and social situations such as clubs have requisite discussion and formalities that we've come accustomed to engaging in.  Ultimately, we're engaging for one thing: sex.  The rest is relatively unnecessary. Engaging in what should be anonymous physical enjoyment of bodies is becoming a bit more cumbersome than need be.

With anonymity comes safety concerns. Yes, men have been brutally murdered in the cruising area I frequent most. However, I long ago made a commitment to myself that I will not let fear for any reason hinder neither the expression of my sexuality nor my sexual orientation.  Living in fear is akin to living in a jail cell. I do however take safety precautions.  I usually tell someone where I'm going and why and generally I leave my wallet locked in my car.

My advice to you: go cruising with a friend or two who are experienced before going out on your own (it is a fun group activity!).





Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HIV stigma and safer sex

Through my experience online with gay dating and sex sites I've noticed that people often specify "safer sex only" and also specify that their partner should be HIV negative.  Yes, on the surface this can make some logical sense--you're both supposedly negative and using a condom so you'll hopefully stay negative. But, what's the purpose of the condom?  If you're going to use one (properly) either way it shouldn't actually matter what anyone's status is.

What does come into play though is stigma.  Stigma towards HIV. People are scared shitless of it. It's still seen as a death sentence by many and infection rates are still on the rise in many areas.  But being scared of HIV is not going to solve the problem.  Remember the SILENCE = DEATH message HIV/AIDS activists were screaming from the rooftops in the 80s?  Well that still applies but so does STIGMA or FEAR = DEATH. We're not going to get much further ahead if we're still making HIV positive people feel less-than, othered, different, diseased, or deadly.  In fact, I would go as far to liken this stigma with bullying which, as we've seen more so in recent years, can lead to suicide.

So, FYI, when a condom is going to be used the guy's cum who's fucking will not enter the other guy's ass, therefore no potential HIV virus will either.  Condoms are 99.9% effective against HIV infection.  The only reason they're not 100% effective is because people use them improperly sometimes--not enough lube, too much lube, old condoms, two condoms, improper wearing of it, etc. You can also check the condom half way through to be sure.

For more information on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and other sexual health topics please consult a professional and/or see these websites:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bullying: Casey Haynes, Richard Gale and my story


Casey Haynes, an Australian boy, stood up to bully Richard Gale who repeatedly teased him for being fat and, as you'll see in the interview, began to physically attack Casey.  Casey had enough and fought back to defend himself.  Richard responded to Casey's interview in his own, seen here.

Why did Casey have to defend himself like this? His school, teachers, community, and other public institutions failed him.  Youth everywhere face bullying both in and outside of school.  Bullying is often thought of as a school problem which results in some campaigns within educational systems to raise awareness of it.  Yes, in some instances some schools might help the situation; however, in too many schools, parks, busses, trains, rec centres, back yards, and alleys bullying is ignored.

Only recently have anti-bullying campaigns began to reach beyond the confines of schools.  In the last couple years here in Canada has Pink Shirt Day become widely supported.  The idea is that everyone who is against bullying wears pink on one day.  Yes, this is great and it raises awareness.  The problem: almost everyone is aware of bullying and knows it should stop.  The very very few who might be in denial or not completely understand the situation are ignorant idiots.

What needs to happen, it would seem, are incidents where bullying goes viral and people become enraged to the point of mass public outcries of support.  This troubles me.  This means that millions, if not billions, of youth are still being bullied, bullying, battling depression, dropping out of school, feeling like shit, and/or committing suicide.  I was a victim of bullying growing up.  I know how it feels.

To quote a friend in reference to Casey's standing up for himself, "I'm a fat man who was a fat kid bullied in school."  It's hard.  Being called every horrible hurtful name imaginable.  Not being welcomed to any events, tables, groups, or anything.  Feeling like you shouldn't even be in school.  At times feeling like you shouldn't even be alive.  Having your stuff stolen, being pushed into lockers, having your car vandalized.   All these things really took a toll on me emotionally.  Of course, I wasn't just bullied for being fat, I was bullied for being gay.  I didn't even attend my high school graduation ceremony because of it.

What could have been done to help me?  Support.  Support so that I felt comfortable getting help to stop the bullying--help that would actually help.  Teachers, adults, and people in the community who cared would have helped.  It felt as though no one cared and that the bullies had all the protections.  Every time I stood up for myself I was punished.  Every time I complained to a teacher about a bully the bully only got a talking to.  I got suspended for standing up for myself.

Elected officials in all levels of government need to respond.  The federal government needs to support community programs for public safety both within and outside schools with a focus on the highly vulnerable such as the elderly, youth, women, and disabled.  Provincial legislators need to implement educational system reforms which include strict, effective guides for punishing repeat bullies and teaches diversity.  Civic governments needs to ensure their community centres, schools, police, business, and citizens will all support the equitable treatment of all.  The most significant change will come when each and every individual does their own part to stop bullying.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bill C-389--Transgender and Transsexual Rights



Wow.  What a week in politics here in Canada.

Bill C-389, a private member's bill tabled by Bill Siksay (NDP, Burnaby/Douglas), seeks to include the rights of transgendered and transsexuals in the Canadian Human Rights Act.  It has passed through the Commons with much support from the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc and almost complete non-support from the minority Conservatives.   The next struggle is to have this bill pass the Senate.  Here's what needs to happen:

1) Harper needs to not meddle in democracy and human rights
2) YOU need to write your MP in support of the Bill (especially if they voted in favour for it, if not wring them out!) and also write a couple MP's who have supported the bill and ask for them to support it through the Senate
3) Express to Harper that human rights are a non-partisan issue (James Moore (Conservative MP, PC) voted in FAVOUR of the bill!)
4) Write Senators!  Write! ASAP!  The bill has passed the first reading in the Senate yesterday and is set for its second reading on Monday and third VERY shortly thereafter which is when  its most likely to be killed.   Here is a list of Senators and their contact info.

I've sent a letter to James Moore (my MP) in thanks and support of his vote to pass the bill in the Commons and urging him to express to Harper that human rights are a non-partisan issue, see it below and feel free to send it yourself (with your contact info, of course :) ).


---

James Moore, PC MP 
House of Commons 
Ottawa, ON 
K1A 0A6

Re: Bill C-389, an addition to the Canadian Human Rights Act

Your Name
Your Adress
Your City
Your Postal Code

Dear Mr. Moore,
Iʼm writing to express my thanks and support for your vote in favor of Bill C-389 for the inclusion transgender and transsexual rights to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

My concern is with the billʼs progression to the Senate. The Conservative dominated Senate has a history of quashing bills presented to it which run contrary to the Conservative Party of Canadaʼs ideology. Your vote for the bill in the Commons shows that human rights should be considered a non-partisan issue and that you acknowledge such.

We sexual minorities need your support and assistance. Please urge the Prime Minister to allow this bill to pass through the Senate. Many transgender and transsexual people face a barrage of discrimination in the workplace, home, school, and many other institutions. Please stress to Mr. Harper that human rights are a non- partisan issue and that he should not meddle with the Senate regarding this issue.

Mr. Harperʼs history of having bills quashed in the Senate are an affront to democracy. Should this bill not pass the senate this could very well be the beginning of a slippery slope seeing the degradation and deterioration of our human rights.


Sincerely,


Your Name 

--- 



Feel free to use this letter as a template to send to your MP and/or Senator--just make sure its relevant to him or her.  I will be writing a letter to all Senators sometime today and sending it addressed to each one individually via email (TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!).


<3

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bathhouses





Bathhouses are maligned by many both within and outside the gay community.  With the realities of HIV/AIDS and STIs there are many legitimate concerns people should have about bathhouses.  Their chief purpose, after all, is to serve as a semi-private venue for gay male sex, often anonymous sex. The concerns are obvious.

What I've never heard of in the arguments against bathhouses are the purposes for their existence.  Bathhouses serve many different functions for different people.  Some patrons go to seek anonymous sex, some for the atmosphere, others with their partner's, and some people actually use them as cheap accommodation when travelling.  The main concern is with sex.  Bathhouses provide the perfect venue for closeted, married, or shy men to fulfill their sexual desires or express and enjoy their sexuality.

To deduce, the problem is then not with the bathhouse but with the closed minded, ignorant, homophobic asses in the greater public. If society were accepting and encouraging of diversity and sexual expression the need for bathhouses would be far less than it is now. Gay/bi men married to women would no longer have to live their lives in the closet in fear of any consequences they feel may occur should anyone find out--they wouldn't need to cheat on their wives with men.

Bi men married to women should have every right to have sex with men too.  Why?  Because their wives should be accepting of their sexual orientation.  And gay men married to women should feel safe enough to be themselves and pursue a relationship with the gender and sex of their greatest liking. However, I'm sure most gay/bi men married to women aren't open about their sexual attractions to men with their wives for various reasons (fear of divorce, job loss/issues, image, cultural expectations, etc.).  These women wouldn't need to worry so much about their husband's health if they accepted their lust for cock and allowed them to openly have safer male sexual relations.

So, to those who hate bathhouses: it's probably your own damn fault they exist.



P.S. -- I'm an openly gay man in a wonderful relationship (coming up on two years!)... and I've been to a bathhouse with my partner.  It was fun.  Not ALL people who go to bathhouses are seeking a secret sexual outlet.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Speaking Out Against Homophobia

About a week or so ago my partner and I were swimming at our local community pool.  We were enjoying each others' company in what one of my best friend's would call a "disgustingly cute" way when a lifeguard approached us asking us not to kiss.  He said he received complaints of us kissing so we must stop immediately.  I pointed out to him that there were other couples (straight couples) also engaging in the same activity who were not approached by neither him nor any other lifeguard.   He just stated that we have to quit kissing and walked away. 


I was left under the impression that the lifeguard was not only an agent of homophobia but quite possibly homophobic as well.   He would not discuss the matter and restated that we're not allowed to kiss. 


The next morning I wrote a well penned letter to the manager of the facility and CC'd it to the mayor and council.  Within twelve minutes I received a reply from a concerned councillor, who it turned out also has a gay son.  She took up the issue and met with the pool management and ensured I received a letter in reply.  Both myself and the councillor found the reply to be sterile and bureaucratic-sounding while not addressing the nature of the incident.  


Today I met with this councillor over coffee where she discussed what the outcome is and how my writing this letter will affect future policy and decision making.  She stressed that me voicing our experience and displeasure to management and council has started a dialogue on diversity and inclusion.  


Most the time when I write letters I do receive form letter-esque or dismissive replies, such as in this case.  I tend to follow up again, like I did here.  But the difference with this situation is that a councillor took the time to take up this issue, follow it through, and follow up with me in person to let me know how seriously the issue was taken.  What a wonderful feeling to know that I've made a difference!




Just for fun...






Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Big Move and Graduation!

Wow.  Life can get insanely busy and feel like a roller coaster!  In the short few weeks that I haven't blogged so much has happened.   The most important development is my move back home to British Columbia, only this time I'm in Metro Vancouver (sure beats Edmonton!).   Another quite-possibly-equal-in-importance development is that I've finally graduated with my BA in Sociology.  Now I just have to land an awesome job!

The contents of my blog will most likely change slightly as I'm in a much more liberal city.  I've frequented Vancouver many times in the last couple years and fell in love with it.  The beaches, parks, mountains, temperate climate, and fabulous gaybourhood make it an amazing place to live.  I hope to do the odd review of local GLBTQ establishments, as they're all new to me we can explore together!  I will begin with the quintessential gay Vancouver experience, Little Sister's.

If you haven't heard of Little Sister's, you've been living under a rock.  Little Sister's isn't just a cute store selling giftware, Pride paraphernalia, sex toys, and books its a GLBTQ mecca and institution for gay rights nestled in a strip mall on Davie Street.  Jane Fuller, manager, spearheaded a battle with the Canadian government over censorship regarding the import of GLBTQ oriented literature and has seen amazing success.

Little Sister's is always actively involved in the community through presence in the Pride Parade, activism, advocacy, and offering a community oriented retail store.   Their vestibule features all the local rags, flyers for events and activist projects, and classifieds--its fun and informative to browse around for a few minutes.