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Who Is In the Loo?

Timothy Kincaid

August 27th, 2007

The Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale is concerned about a “health crisis” of sex in public bathrooms (eight arrests in two years within the county). And he brought in the parade of anti-gay crusaders to decry the evils of the “homosexual lifestyle”.

But just what is the lifestyle of those who are caught doing the nasty with total strangers in a public potty? Well, from another city, a profile is beginning to emerge. Perhaps it’s something like this:

  • Married with three children (adopted) and nine grandchildren
  • Member of US Senate since 1991, Idaho
  • Board of Directors, NRA
  • Voted for Federal Marriage Amendment
  • Endorsed Idaho’s anti-gay marriage amendment
  • Consistent conservative “values” voter
  • Arrested June 11 for lewd conduct in the bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport

Sen. Larry CraigAh, Senator Craig. You really should know by now that a sex scandal is all the more delicious when it screams of hypocrisy. And since people have been talking about this for years, you’d think you’d have the sense to be a bit discreet.

From Roll Call:

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could … see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

This isn’t Craig’s first brush with sex-scandal. There was some concern that the page scandal in 1982 would include him. He held a preemptive press conference to deny any involvement and quickly married a staffer. And in 2006, blogger Mike Rogers announced that he had witnesses of Craig’s tearoom activities.

Slow learner, that Craig.

In his defense, Craig says:

I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty.

Well I can’t disagree with that.

But Senator Craig, here’s my problem with you. If you have a penchant for hanky-panky with the fellas in the men’s room, you can hardly object when long-term, devoted, caring and committed same-sex couples want the same recognition and rights that you get from your beard, uh wife.

Update: Sen. Craig has just resigned his position as Senate co-chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.



August 27th, 2007 | LINK

As someone who has never gone for the anonymous sex in public bathrooms – I sometimes wondered how they figured out who to partner with…

Emily K
August 27th, 2007 | LINK

Yeah, me too.

Jim Burroway
August 27th, 2007 | LINK

And here I thought the guy tapping his foot was just groovin’ to his iPod…

Lynn David
August 27th, 2007 | LINK

Whatever happened to the old hanky code? Eh, I never could remember whether I was supposed to where my navy blue/gray gingham on the right or the left.

August 28th, 2007 | LINK

Before you rush to conclusions: Mr. Craig is NOT a Mormon.

Also, I had a question from a sibling about the: “recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.”

I have never heard of such a thing. Were those pages missing from my handbook from the good folks at

If I saw a man moving his fingers on my side of the partition in a restroom I would
1) give him a spare roll of toilet paper
2) find something to smash his little pinkies

one or the other.

Ben in Oakland
August 28th, 2007 | LINK

Though I am as pleased as anyone that yet another right-wing, family values, religiously hypocritical Republican has been brought down AND hoisted on his own petard (mixed metaphors cheerfully acknowledged!!!) So, Larry Craig hates gay people because he hates that part of himself, and he gains personal and political advantage by oppressing gay people to fight his own demons. Big whoop. No real news there– we have Ted Haggard, Lonnie Latham, Mark Foley, Jimmy Swaggart, David Vitt, among a veritable host of others, who did exactly the same thing. Hypocrisy IS the homage that vice pays to virtue, as someone else famously said. What Rochefoucauld did not mention is that it is also more profitable, as the host of hypocrites has demonstrated repeatedly.

But I don’t think it is a good thing beyond that one more of them has been exposed. We gay people all scream “hypocrisy”, because it is so obviously that– at the absolute minimum– so it is just preaching to the choir here. But in one sense, it is NOT hypocrisy. (I’m not making excuses for Craig). He is demonstrating self-hatred privately and very clearly, just as he is demonstrating his homo-hatred in the public arena. I mean, what kind of an idiot (pace Bob Allen) who has this kind of position, power, and wealth, does this sort of thing, except for someone blinded by self-hatred and the delusion that he is not really that way? He just slips once in a while. That is why he is not a gay man, and he hates those who are. Ted Haggard is another one.It is very consistent–and very sad.

As for the he haters screaming “see how all those fags are, and here’s another scuzzy queer in a pyublic toilet.” I don’t think it matters at all. From their point of view, everything they know about us is true– look at Larry Craig and Lonnie Latham and Ted Haggard–and so changes nothing for them. At some level, this is an acknowledgment that Larry and Lonnie and Ted really are straight men– who fell. That they and the people who think that way have a great deal of responsibility for this less savory aspect of gay life does not dawn on them, nor would they care. As we have all pointed our repeatedly, this is not about morality, the bible, marriage, the family, or any of it. It is only about prejudice and hatred, whether disguised as sincere religious belief or admitted for what it is.

The people I am concerned about are the ones in the middle. Who knows how they will take it? I am afraid they will blame homosexuality instead of homophobia for the Larry Craigs of the world. This underlines yet again the terrible, destructive, corrosive nature both of the closet and of the homophobia that creates it, which twists and distorts and sullies and perverts everything it touches, whether it is in the gay world or the straight world. The costs to the Haggards, Lathams, and Craigs are just as important as the costs to every family that has broken up over a gay relative, or every gay couple that can’t get married, or every soldier that has been kicked out to the detriment of our armed forces. Because of the prejudice and the homophobia and the closet, Larry Craig and Ted Haggard and pedophile priests are seen and being in the same class as Joe and Sam or Mary and Ellen, who just want to live their lives free of harassment, with the same rights and responsibilities and respect as everyone else.

The closet twists and distorts, dirties and perverts. That is it. And this is the poison that the right-wingers and the christo-hetero-supremacists are feeding our society. It may strangle us.

The right-wingers claim that homosexuality causes the downfall of civilizations– no evidence, but it sounds right to the ignorant. The irony is delicious and unfortunate both, because it well may be that the fear of homosexuality and the hatred of gay people is what brought this current batch of idiots and moral degenerates to power. And that may well be seen one day as the cause of the downfall of the american empire.

Ben Janken

Ben in Oakland
August 29th, 2007 | LINK

Just sent to the SF Chronicle:

So many gay people are calling Sen.. Craig a hypocrite for seeking out gay sex and then voting against any equality for gay people because we are “immoral”. Truly, that would be a hypocritical “wide stance” if he were gay. But he says he isn’t, and really, we don’t want him. No self-respecting gay man I know would be caught dead cruising in a public toilet. That’s really for closet cases like Craig, and it exists because of the homophobia of people who believe as he does– truly a delicious irony.

No, the real hypocrisy lies in “protecting the sanctity of marriage” by preventing gay people from marrying when he is out there intending to commit adultery by seeking out anonymous sex with someone who is not his wife.

As with Ted Haggard, Bob Allen, Lonnie Latham and a host of others, the sanctity of marriage applies only if we’re not talking about HIS marriage.

August 30th, 2007 | LINK

C’mon guys, pretending you’d never heard of this stuff before. It was all laid out in “Dr.” David Reuben’s “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex*But Were Afraid to Ask”–the foot tapping, the reaching under…as well as the fact that public restrooms were where *all* homosexuals prefer to have sex, in our sad and furtive lives, and that we male homosexuals all really want to be women.

And it must all be true, since it was printed in a real book that you could buy in a store, a book I furtively read in my teens while babysitting.

I’ll admit I enjoyed some encounters in public restrooms and parks in my early 20s–when I had lots of hormones and few sexual outlets. But by the time I hit 30, I pretty much left it behind. So, yeah, taping, the whole bit, that’s true.

I’m afraid I can’t get on the shaming bandwagon for Mr. Craig. A truly humane society would set apart places for men to enjoy quick anonymous encounters free from hassle and arrest–spaces that allow expression of this very real and legitimate human desire that the unwitting an unwilling are not likely to stumble on our observe what is going on–so they wouldn’t be compelled to use public restrooms.

But the fact is that there are fewer and fewer such places–the infamous Christopher Street Docks in New York, the bushes in Lincoln Park in Chicago, and quite a few others are now long gone. Read Samuel Delany’s book “Times Square Red, Times Square Blue” (whose focus is adult theatres on Times Square–but the idea is pretty much the same), and one can’t help but think that the loss of such places is harmful to society as a whole. And the Internet is only partially adequate as a replacement.

(BTW: You are all usually such careful writers/editors here that I was surprised to note that no one noticed the misuse of “discrete” for “discreet” and fixed this common error.)

Timothy Kincaid
August 30th, 2007 | LINK

(BTW: You are all usually such careful writers/editors here that I was surprised to note that no one noticed the misuse of “discrete” for “discreet” and fixed this common error.)

Thanks Steve. I completely forgot about discrete and discreet. My bad. I fixed it.

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