Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Can you be arrested for tapping your foot?
Like most gay people I've been enjoying the Larry Craig scandal as it unfolds. It's always gratifying to see an anti-gay Republican being exposed as a hypocrite. My friend Jeff though made me stop to look into this matter further. What did he actually do to be accused of a crime? I read the police report.
He looked through the cracks of a stall
He tapped his foot
He put his foot on the officer's foot
He moved his fingers around under a stall
I had to stop and think. Is this worthy of a criminal arrest?? He wasn't playing with his privates at the urinal or peeking at others. He didn't show his privates under the stall or something.
I had to think - would I be "dancing on his grave" so gleefully if it had happened to someone else. What if it was openly gay Senator Barney Frank? I'd probably think it was embarrassing for my people but much ado about nothing really. I'd probably think the same thing I thought when George Michael got busted "Why is he looking for sex in a public bathroom??? He has cash and could pay for it. At the very least chat someone up and take them home"
What if it was a celebrity who we truly loved? What if it was John Travolta? (not saying he's gay - ALLEGEDLY as Kathy Griffin would say) I'd probably think "Why doesn't he just come out?" and again he could afford an escort.
I'm not defending people having sex in public bathrooms. They are not intended for that. However I would think at least there should be something more suggestive than that.
I'm a gay man. What if an attractive officer smiled at me in the rest room, if I smile back and act interested can I be arrested? Where does flirting and soliciting for sex cross the line?
What if the officer is playing with himself at the urinal? Is that entrapment if a gay man responds to that action?
Part of the reaction to this scandal is very appealing - the hypocritical gay bashing Senator getting caught soliciting gay sex. Another part makes me sad - He is in his 60's so he was alive pre-Stonewall, maybe he is a victim of homophobia he was taught. A self hating gay man having public sex - that is sad.
The other reaction I have is defensive. Some of the people reacting to this scandal are not reacting negatively because he was soliciting for sex. There are people reacting negatively because he is Gay. There is lots of Homophobia swirling around this debate from the Republicans. (and the Press - Tucker Carlson was making Gay bashing jokes)
This is a scandal because he pleaded guilty, his anti-gay voting record and the past complaints leveled against him. But I ask you - should people be arrested for tapping their foot?