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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Craig's arrest increases sexual literacy

The arrest of Idaho senator Larry Craig has increased our knowledge of how to solicit sex in public restrooms in airports. You should read the police report that was excerpted in 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.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

Our own sexuality education minister, Debra Haffner, thought this was a bit too much detail.
For those of you, like me, who may be unaware of the intricacies of such male bonding rituals, read the description of the incident at Roll Call. It's not for the squeamish; in fact, I'm surprised that the editors of staid Roll Call printed it. It was a bit too much sex education even for me at this early hour.

Oh come on reverend Haffner, are you intimidated by this little bit of knowledge about gay male sex? Don't you love the fact that republicans teach us about these things? I find the irony too delicious. Of course, I am a little bit disturbed that publicly active sexuality educators like Debra Hafffner, get squeamish just when we start talking about gay sex. I have seen that before. Liberal allies can be fickle friends.

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  • I'm not squeamish about gay male sex, Neils...I am first surprised that Roll Call would publish the step by step details of the encounter, second wondering why this is just coming to light three months after the arrest, and third, yes, uncomfortable about the idea of men soliciting anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Call me prudish, but this fails my criteria for a moral, ethical sexual relationship -- criteria that can be applied equally regardless of gender, sex, or sexual orientation.

    By Blogger Debra W. Haffner, at Tue Aug 28, 09:33:00 AM PDT  

  • Worse than fickle. They can be lethal.

    You used Craig's failure to indict his politics Dr. H.

    It wasn't the public sex you condemned, but instead it was Craig's opposition to same sex unions.

    Most religious conservatives focus on the personal failure, but liberals have a nasty way rigidly linking the personal and the political as you did here.

    The sword that link creates can slice many ways and in this instance more than likely against gays.

    By Blogger Bill Baar, at Tue Aug 28, 11:52:00 AM PDT  

  • Indeed, why did this not come out until now? Good question. I know that Debra Haffner is a supporter of gay men (and lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders for that matter). One has to only read the Open Letter on Sexual and Gender Diversity. Yet, Roll Call did not in fact write anything about sex, only about what could have been leading up to sex. Nothing to be squeamish about. I don't disagree with the possibility to have criteria for a moral, ethical sexual relationships, but I don't think they can be applied so easily on anyone, especially without regard for the history (and presence) of the closet. Applying criteria for moral and ethical sexual behavior from the outside on the behavior of someone who is dealing with oppressed sexuality does reinforce sexual stigma against gay men. We have a responsibility to take history of oppression into account. The fact that Craig has a vile voting record and political history does not diminish his sexual oppression. It highlights it (as it did in the case of Ted Haggard).

    I would like to think about criteria for moral and ethical sexual behavior as a potential of hope for those who are oppressed. Let's let people know that the oppressed sexuality they are experiencing is not the only option they have. And I am not only talking about gay men now. How many women and men stay in abusive relationships not fully accepting that other options exist for them. But I really disagree with using criteria like these as yardsticks, in particular when we know so little about the actual circumstances. In this case, we only know what lead up to the arrest, nothing more. Anonymous gay male sex cannot be seen as amoral and unethical in any simple way, without repeating the oppression their sexuality has sufferred from. That is not the reason to think about morality and ethics.

    By Blogger Niels Teunis, at Tue Aug 28, 12:50:00 PM PDT  

  • Indeed, why did this not come out until now?

    Because most Americans prefer to keep the political and personal apart.

    Check Romney's response to Craig.

    It's wrapping the personal and the political going the other direction than Haffner would want.

    It's the way most Americans will go if they have to mingle the two and it's not gay friendly.

    By Blogger Bill Baar, at Tue Aug 28, 01:50:00 PM PDT  

  • We should mention, however, this type of "lewd behavior" is not what gay sex is all about. I find it interesting to label this particular case of the solicitation of sex "gay" although I have never seen the headline: Politician Arrested for the Solicitation of "Straight" Sex. I suppose the lesson that can be learned is how NOT to go around searching for sex. Oh, the irony. How delicious.

    By Blogger Dan, at Tue Aug 28, 10:19:00 PM PDT  

  • It's like that old saying: "He's so far ahead in the polls that the only way he'll lose this race is if we find him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

    A live girl wouldn't be enough...

    By Blogger Isaac, at Tue Aug 28, 10:31:00 PM PDT  

  • Debra, you *say* you're not squeamish about gay sex, but the same behavior in the airport bar is going on every day. You probably pass it without even blinking.

    Of course, if two gay men hooked up in a bar the way straight couples do, they'd potentially be threatened. On an airplane, if two gay men, even ones in a long term relationship, kiss, other passengers will request a seat change, or the flight crew might ask them to stop. Not so for heterosexual couples.

    None of this matters, of course. you expect gay men to behave exactly like straight people despite society treating them in a severely different way.

    I don't think you're prudish. I think you have one standard for straight couples, and one for gay couples.

    You may well be able to educate straight people on how to have healthy relationships and sex lives, but you're woefully uneducated about gay people, and imposing your straight mindset on them is patronizing and dull-witted.

    By Blogger Someone's Boy Unit, at Wed Aug 29, 04:05:00 AM PDT  

  • Please note, like the Foley case, this is a sex scandal with no sex.

    By Blogger Bill Baar, at Wed Aug 29, 04:28:00 AM PDT  

  • Clearly, Senator Craig is tormented. Apparently, a lot of people demanding that everyone conform to their narrow “morality” are conflicted. This is old news. In fact, reasonable people are asking, “is anyone who rants on about morality NOT afraid of their own impulses?”

    But what we should be asking is, why is it against the law to offer a quickie to a stranger? What kind of sick country criminalizes an adult’s non-coercive, non-commercial offer to another adult—-just because it’s about sex? Everyone who plays tennis has gone to a public court, walked up to a stranger, and asked, “want to play?” Everyone with a telephone is periodically asked, without invitation or warning, if they want to buy something, or listen to something, or reveal stuff about themselves.

    The proper response to a single, non-coercive invitation to do something—anything—is “no thank you.” Not “you’re busted.”

    There is nothing immoral or unethical about offering an adult stranger sex in a gentle way.

    The lewd, obscene, disgusting behavior is busting someone for an invitation. Our nation has again exposed its horrendous ambivalence about its own erotic impulses. In doing so, it has shamed itself, and explained its obsessive concern with enforcing “morality”—i.e., limiting sexual fantasy and behavior.

    Yes, Senator Craig should be thrown into the Potomac—-not for expressing his sexuality, but for preventing the rest of us from doing so.

    By Blogger Dr. Marty Klein, at Thu Aug 30, 12:36:00 PM PDT  

  • Hmm. I thought Haffner, like me, was squeamish about the venue. Public restrooms are literally one of the least hygenic, most depersonalized, least accomodating and (as Tucker Carlson illustrates) frankly dangerous public spaces imaginable.


    By Blogger figleaf, at Wed Sep 05, 11:41:00 AM PDT  

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