KTVB “Cruises” back to 1955. . .

Jody May-Chang©
July 2, 2009 PrideDEPOT.com

Photo by Milwaukee John

Cruising is not a Sex Act as KTVB Channel 7 recently reported. Cruising is an activity aimed at capturing the attention of someone of the same sex. It can lead to a sexual encounter, but it can also be a non-verbal way to communicate to others that they are not alone.

In the 1970s, gay men established a color-coded technique called the “hanky code” as a way to find a sexual encounter. Today, it is looked at as nostalgic since it has become mainstream.

Further back in time, certain word-phrases would be meaningless to heterosexuals, but would signal a possible encounter between gay men. Long before the Stonewall Bar riots, a simple question such as “Do you have the time?” would be a signal. Another was to ask someone if they are “a friend of Dorothy.”

The pre-AIDS era of anonymous sex with anyone, anyplace, and anytime has for the most part faded away. However, closeted gay men or men who to self-identify as heterosexual still seek out same-sex encounters.

The toe-tapping routine of former Sen. Larry Craig is pretty much considered old school, unless of course you’re fearful of being known as queer.

The information that KTVB Ch-7 disclosed about cruising techniques are considered laughable by many gay people today. But they still serve a purpose in places where being known or suspected as being gay is risky at best.

Channel 7 did its viewers and the LGBT community a disservice when it aired reporter Ysabel Bilbao’s piece that centered on a man who exposed himself to an undercover cop. This was a misdemeanor charge that amounted to, basically, a non-news story.

But because the location of the arrest had resulted in men being busted several years ago, KTVB saw an opportunity to make it into a “cruising for sex” story.

TheCruising is the consequence and a legacy of those living in a culture of fear where men have been beaten, jailed or killed if their same-sex orientation was divulged.

The dark days of 1955 was clearly illustrated in the book the “The Boys of Boise” where author John G. Gerassi describes witch hunts against suspected homosexuals being perpetrated by the police, the media, and judges.

The Idaho Daily Statesman (forerunner to The Idaho Statesman) ran the headline, THREE BOISE MEN ADMIT SEX CHARGES.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But when the local Boise media creates news by jumping on the arrest of a man who dropped his pants in front of a cop, then manufactures it into a “gay” fear story, the cold chill of 1955 comes back to haunt people here.

The local Boise media needs to just grow up.

Cruising Lesson (Part 1): Exposing ones self in pubic or having sex in a public place is not cruising. Cruising is the seeking of a clandestine liaison. Typically this occurs under the radar of others who might not be so inclined. Once a connection has been made, they leave the scene and go to a private location.

Cruising Lesson (Part 2): There is a cultural significance to cruising and how gay, bi, or men who self-identify as straight have historically found each other. Throughout history, and to a great extent even today, men interested in same-sex encounters must figure out ways to communicate with each other. KTVB would have viewers believe that this non-verbal form of communication is only about sex.