Thursday, April 30, 2009

Amsterdam Park Designates Areas for Gay Sex

De Oeverlanden park in Slotervaart in Amsterdam is posting signs designating the areas where "gay cruising" occurs. Apparently "gay cruising" includes both finding partners and engaging in sex acts. According to Agence France-Presse, the municipal spokeswoman Manon Koffijberg explained:
The sexual activities of cruisers, she said, kept mostly to the bushes in the park, and the new signs sought to ensure that they stayed there.

"There are various groups of users of the park; people with small children who bathe on the beaches, those who walk their dogs, gays cruising and nature lovers," said Ms Koffijberg.

"Things are arranged so that each group can relax in their own area without intruding on each other."

But this doesn't mean the law against having sex in public has been revoked:
Ms Koffijberg said that while having sex in public was against the law, the park has been used for this purpose for so long that it has become "gedoog", a Dutch word for tolerating unwanted behaviour.

This seems very coy. The word "cruising" is used on the signs and is commonly not understood to include actual sexual acts. So the park is not actually officially sanctioning illegal behavior with these signs. The park is not sanctioning gay sex, only gay cruising. But, the municipal official understands that the cruising will be followed by sexual activities "kept mostly to the bushes". The implied reason is provided at the end of the article:
There had been recent complaints of gay bashing in the Slotervaart area, populated by a large group of immigrants of Muslim origin, with reports of robberies and violence against gay men in De Oeverlanden park.


This reminds me of the Telegraph news article I read about on Stand Firm last year requiring dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes so the dogs would not disturb the gay men having sex.
Mr van Grieken stresses that tolerance to "cruising" gays, aimed at protecting homosexuals from violence, will have "strict rules attached".

"Thus, condoms must always be cleared away, it must never take place in the neighbourhood of children's playgrounds and the sex must be restricted to the evening and night-time," he said.

In both cases, it seems that public sexual activity is being permitted and facilitated with the motivation being to protect gays against violence.

7 comments:

The Underground Pewster said...

Unbelievable.

Perpetua said...

Looking at this sentence again:
"There are various groups of users of the park; people with small children who bathe on the beaches, those who walk their dogs, gays cruising and nature lovers," said Ms Koffijberg.

I am wondering what she means by nature lovers. I first assumed she meant people who enjoy going to the park to see the trees and birds. But now it occurs to me it could refer to the gay men having sex (lovers) in the bushes (nature). First they cruise and then the engage in nature loving.

The Underground Pewster said...

Or they have sex with the bushes.

Andy said...

This is what will ultimately lead to my aneurysm and subsequent cranial explosion...
I don't harbor any animus towards homosexuals or to the homosexual community. This said, I don't want to face the risk of stumbling upon two individuals engaging in sexual congress in a public place, regardless whether they be homo or heterosexual! I believe that this is the attitude of most healthy, mature folk.

The gay community has to come to an understanding that if it as a collective, continually batters down social conventions, it will incur the disdain of society.

Tolerance was never intended to imply wholesale affirmation, nor does it provide license for wanton, sub-civilized behavior.

karl.rosenqvist said...

I fail to see why you're all upset, the signs are there for YOUR protection.

These areas have NOT been "designated". They have been used for cruising for a long time, the city simply put signs up to warn people so they can avoid a nasty surprise.

Personally I think it's a great idea to put up signs. These areas exist in every city in every nation. Here in Gothenburg, Sweden, we had a cruisingarea, more or less official for almost 100 years, until the city decided it would make a great frisbeegolf-course a few years back. A very poor decision which has led to much frustration and anger and unnecessary confrontations between golfers and cruisers. There is plenty of room in the park so space is not a problem, it's a matter of tradition.

These signs are not giving an area away to some people but warning people like you so that you don't have to walk in on a couple.

These cruisingareas are open to both samesex and oppositesex couples and are used by both.

karl.rosenqvist said...

@@ Andy
The straight community has to come to an understanding that if it as a collective, continually batters down social realities, it will incur the disdain of society.

Tolerance was never intended to imply wholesale affirmation, nor does it provide license for wanton, sub-civilized behavior.

Perpetua said...

Hi Karl,

When you use the word "cruise", do you mean just strolling and looking for romantic partners or do you include the sexual consummation?

I don't mind people cruising, as I understand the term. My concern is with people having sex in the bushes. And with the change in the meaning of the word "cruising" to include people having sex in the bushes.

I remember that was a teenager, my boyfriend would sometimes take me and some friends out to a street where lots of teenagers were "cruising". It was driving up and down the street, chatting with friends and sometimes strangers. As well as just being teenagers, out to see and be seen, this was a way some people met romantic partners. This kind of behavior is immortalized in the film "American Graffiti". Some people just exchanged phone numbers but some got into the other cars. I think there was some heavy kissing, but I don't think there was ever public sex.

So, I am not upset that gays "cruise" on foot in a public park. I am upset that people are doing something that is acknowledged to be illegal (the law against sex in public has not been revoked according to the municipal spokesperson) but facilitated by the municipal government.