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Gay Men Arrested for Public Sex on Fire Island

At least three people have been detained or arrested and charged with lewd conduct on Fire Island for activity taking place between Cherry Grove and Fire Island in the area familiarly known as the "meat rack" since June 13.

LmpcRadar Online reports: "Few details are known—the National Park Service has not yet confirmed the arrests or said why they have now begun patrolling the land. On the weekend of Friday, June 13, at least one gay man was detained in the small wooded area popularly called The Meat Rack, which is both a cruising ground and also a thoroughfare between the two gay towns of Fire Island, Cherry Grove and The Pines. The following weekend, at least two were arrested. In the first event, an eyewitness said he saw five or six rangers with a gay man (described as somewhat overweight and clad in khakis and a polo shirt) on his knees and in handcuffs. The men were searched after their arrests. In the other event, a man was stopped and 'panicked and tried to get rid of the drugs,' according to a second-hand report by one Cherry Grove resident; that man was either charged with possession or detained further and charged. The man arrested with him was given a citation for $125 for engaging in lewdness, that resident said."

According to Choire Sicha at Radar, the arrests are the first of their kind on Fire Island.

Last week I reported that the National Park Service had announced it would be cracking down on public sex in the dunes outside Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.

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Comments

  1. Good gawd, is public sex the issue that will finally divide the gays?

    This is our Great Schism... it's the Great Jism.

    Posted by: crispy | Jun 24, 2008 2:10:31 PM


  2. Charles:

    One more time. If gay sex was illegal AS IT WAS JUST FIVE YEARS AGO IN SEVERAL STATES, would you abstain until it was legalized?

    The point about gay marriage was not that they are the same (though the rights are intertwined, as Lawrence has helped contribute to the marriage arguments), but that many of the folks who want marriage (and picket fences and kids, etc) are ready to throw sex-positive gays to the police to achieve their own acceptance.

    (And not all, of course -- I write this as a potentially married gay man coupled for 17+ years who also enjoys, sometimes with the boyfriend, the occasional frolic in the bushes.)

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Jun 24, 2008 2:12:25 PM


  3. OK, Will stop with the psychoanalysis about me. It is trite and does not lend anything here.

    Why do so many gay men think they know another person so well? Just because some of us spent years in the closet does not mean an advanced degree was worked on while in there.

    Your own space: gay bars have to abide my certain codes as it is a building with a city, bathhouses fall under the same category. The outdoors is not "your" space (no matter how many guys you suck off there, if that were true I know some guys who own half the world) unless you have bought the property for example: your home.

    Again I state: start changing the laws Will because bitching at me (and others) is not going to get you or anyone else any closer to sucking, fucking or rimming a guy in a public place that is illegal.

    I am OK with the law as it stands again I say if you are not, what are you doing and/or going to do about it.

    Posted by: Charles | Jun 24, 2008 2:12:40 PM


  4. I'm bitching at you Charles because you are the problem. You, another gay man, is ready to condemn other gay men just because you don't care about a certain harmless activity. Instead of saying how horrible, why aren't you simply saying "what's the big deal, no one harmed, no issue."? We are not talking about blocking traffic in front of the White House to do it doggy-style.

    Why don't you answer the question posed above, did you have gay sex when the anti-sodomy laws were still in effect?? If you did, what makes you think that you alone can decide which laws are worthy to be followed and which are not? Are you a hypocrite, ready to do what you accept but happy to deny to others what you don't like???

    Your last comment really makes me wonder, what does a building code have to do with sex??? By all means, let's keep the building from collapsing, but having sex isn't going to make it collapse. What is your objection to a bathhouse or a sex club? Do you think it right that they should be closed down? No fear of anyone seeing something they don't want to see there. If so, then we are done. Like I said, you can't tell a moralist much.

    Posted by: Will | Jun 24, 2008 2:39:16 PM


  5. "...is public sex the issue that will finally divide the gays?"

    Don't laugh, CRISPY. One of the last major LARGE gay protest we had here in Philly was concerning police raids on "Judy Garland Park" (the white gays' area) and "Gay Acres" (the black gays' area). Both are located along the railroad tracks beside the Schuykill River. Well, anyway there was a massive raid one summer night (about 1998, I guess). Cops were arresting "children" up and down the railroad tracks--and with no racial bias: they were hittin' both black and white gay asses, honey. For the next two days, gays held protest marches from the Gayborhood to the Schulkyll River. There was a short documentary made by oru local PBS station.


    Ofcourse, Philly's Gay community was split. Some moral gays(like Charles) complained, "out of all the issues plaguing the gay community--what do y'all choose to fight over? Having sex in the park."

    Well, we immoral homos countered that it wasn't so much the right to have sex in the park as it was a protest against police abuse (selective abuse) of power.

    And the actual name of "Judy Garland Park" was "Schuykill River Park." I'm not sure the Great Garland would be too proud of that unusual honor...but then again, Judy had a great sense of humor.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 24, 2008 2:39:24 PM


  6. Derrick, I resent you calling Chalres a moral gay in that context. He is no more moral than you or me. I would hope Charles and I can at least agree on that.

    Posted by: Will | Jun 24, 2008 2:51:20 PM


  7. While I understand the public access issue in this instance, let’s perhaps think about just what would happen to an individual who witnessed two (or three, or more) people having sex in a park. Would you really be that traumatized? The people who think the answer is yes to my mind have a very specific view of the sexual act and what sex means, one with which I happen to disagree strongly. I love all the gays invoking the “But it’s the law!” argument, as if the law is always correct and has never been abused in American or any other society. Let’s broaden our horizons a little, please.

    I could argue that my walking upon a bible discussion group in a public park is obscene, but it wouldn’t get me very far.

    Posted by: jmg | Jun 24, 2008 5:45:40 PM


  8. Hey Will, I just got back from an extensive urban hike if you have not done it trust me it is a worthwhile excursion here in Seattle it is made more strenuous due to the hills

    To answer your questions Will, I live in Seattle and before that Chicago, I have reviewed the map at the link below and I can say that I did not break the law in any state that I may have even visited during this time frame.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodomy_law#United_States

    Am I more moral than someone else that is not likely? I strongly feel that the vast majority of us balance out on the scale of life with the exception of someone who has taken a life or done another heinous crime.

    I do not think it becomes an issue of morality; I am all for public sex if it is the law. Now if I felt really strongly about and started some actions to get the laws changed that would be another matter all together. If a group of people get it repealed then GO FOR IT; until then it is the law. Now I am sure someone might say have I ever driven without my seatbelt sure but not often and if I get pulled over and fined well that is the law. Yeah it sucks but it is the law.

    These statements about it being a conservative gay against those "sex positive" gay individuals is stupid and divides the issue that it is a law. Also it does not allow for any TRUE conversations, you can talk about what you want but if you are NOT going to get out there and change it you are just talking. There is this notion that there is a right to SEX as a gay man under any conditions well that is not true. If you ask me should public dollars be spent somewhere else other than picking up gay men who are having sex in the state of New York, “FUCK YEAH".

    Here are some issues that I am or have worked at changing:
    Working Mothers Having Adequate Medical Care in Illinois and Washington
    Teacher’s Union Issues regarding salary and medical compensation
    AIDS widows receiving Social Security benefits
    Minorities having more of a selection to enter college than the ACT or SAT
    Building schools in 3rd World Nations with Room to Read, changing and/or starting policies in a foreign country to ensure 20% or more of the students are females.

    Just this weekend I was on the Aurora Bridge here in Seattle and I encountered no less than 4 motorcycle cops trying to snare people who were speeding. My only thought (as I drove with no wallet or license because I changed my jacket and forget to get it) was this is a waste of funds when at least 3 of them could be patrolling some neighborhoods. What did I do? I called my local precinct and I emailed them as well. Did anything change? I do not know.

    My point is the speeding, seat belts, J-walking, public sex, is all a matter of law. As with sodomy laws from state to state if you CARE about this start making waves for a change. Do not waste your time trying to decide who is moral or immoral, that is a non issue for me.

    For example when the AIDS epidemic started to emerge it seemed responsible to close city bathhouses, laws or citations were put into place. Many people in subsequent years protested and things changed. I can live with that, as I am not going to picket a business that has a legal right to exist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_bathhouse

    Posted by: Charles | Jun 24, 2008 6:18:35 PM


  9. Sex positive vs. sex negative is not a stupid divide and is the reason such laws are on the books. I have never advocated sex anywhere anytime, but there have been spaces, especially fire island that was our own space and we were left alone and in peace. Now this is changing.

    Your comparison to speeding and seat belts, laws having to do with safety is not a smart comparison. Sure cops can be placed in areas with more crime, but speeding hurts others since you are more likely to have an accident. Not wearing a seat belt costs us all in terms of unneccesary medical costs. Gay sex hidden in the dunes hurts no one and the only reason the cops see it, is because they are out there looking for it knowing that they can arrest the participants and get them to pay a lovely fine. Such laws are being used to target gays and I hope you realize that.

    Posted by: Will | Jun 24, 2008 7:04:05 PM


  10. "Do not waste your time trying to decide who is moral or immoral, that is a non issue for me."

    Oh, please, Charles . . . if your comments weren't so full of moral judgments it might be easier to swallow, no pun intended, your assertion that you only disapprove of public sex because it's illegal: Outdoor sex is gross and sordid, anyone who engages in it is a sex addict, anyone who disagrees with you about it is silly and immature and trite and stalling the conversation, missing the picture, illogical, banal, truly pathetic, stupid, and probably a few more non-moralistic terms I'm missing.

    You disapprove of all public sex and defend laws that seek to prevent it. Good for you. Some of us disagree for all the reasons stated above. Spare us more self-righteous thunder.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 24, 2008 7:38:08 PM


  11. I would condemn gays having sex there because it is "illegal) if the law was applied equally to straights. It isn't it. So therefore, entrapment and discrimination must be used as a defense.

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 24, 2008 8:09:11 PM


  12. From the mind of CHARLES...

    http://www.towleroad.com/2008/06/queens-of-the-s.html

    "I was on a subway years ago in Chicago and a black guy was aggressively shoving people to get to another car; a white guy said clearly and loudly, "stupid fucking black bastard", because that is what he was. Just as this guy who threw the shoe is a "chicken shit fucking faggot".

    'nuff said.

    Posted by: Chicago Blues | Jun 24, 2008 8:18:22 PM


  13. I was caught by the cops four times for having sex in public. They always let me and my boyfriends go. Once they even watched and cheered us on. All my girlfriends have done it before. The cops were always good to us. I don't know what gays are doing wrong that they are getting arrested.

    Posted by: megan | Jun 24, 2008 8:39:34 PM


  14. You can say what you want here on the internet; if you are having sex in the woods the police have every right to arrest you.

    What I think is not going to change the laws for anyone. No one here is going to change my mind. There are countless numbers of people who are for and against this. We do not all have the same views; that is what makes things interesting...am I going to care of this issue in the next 24 hours, the answer is NO. If you are a person who has public sex, this issue may stay with you longer so do something about it.

    Yes, it is unfair if straights are not being equally targeted: do something about it.

    If you get arrested in the woods are you going to just pay the fine; or are you PROUD of your behavior enough to stand up and make a VOICE be heard. Get all your friends together who like to public sex and get arrested in a massive group to bring attention to this issue.

    My entire point which I should have conveyed without my feelings is this: work damn hard to change the laws instead of bitching about it. The police departments see this as easy revenue as far too many gay men who are SO PROUD of their sexual behaviors here online would rather pay the fine than appear in court.

    I guess that is the hypocrisy of the sex positive people take a stand and here on Towleroad is NOT the place for it.

    Alright I am off to make a turkey burger, with avocado, tomatoes and spinach. While it is sort of warm here in Seattle, I am going to bake a few sweet potatoes fries (Alexia brand check them out http://alexiafoods.com/product_info.html?product_id=20#) to go with it.

    Posted by: Charles | Jun 24, 2008 10:02:10 PM


  15. i'm as liberal as they come, but come on. Public sex is illegal. Either convince people to change the law or deal with it. Isn't part of what makes people enjoy it the risk?

    are there large public places where straights do this? it's not unfair targeting if we're the only ones doing it on a large scale.

    grow up guys. if having sex in public is the only way for you to get off, you might wanna talk to someone.

    Posted by: chrisnyc | Jun 24, 2008 10:38:43 PM


  16. i'm as liberal as they come, but come on. Public sex is illegal. Either convince people to change the law or deal with it. Isn't part of what makes people enjoy it the risk?

    are there large public places where straights do this? it's not unfair targeting if we're the only ones doing it on a large scale.

    grow up guys. if having sex in public is the only way for you to get off, you might wanna talk to someone.

    Posted by: chrisnyc | Jun 24, 2008 10:38:55 PM


  17. i'm as liberal as they come, but come on. Public sex is illegal. Either convince people to change the law or deal with it. Isn't part of what makes people enjoy it the risk?

    are there large public places where straights do this? it's not unfair targeting if we're the only ones doing it on a large scale.

    grow up guys. if having sex in public is the only way for you to get off, you might wanna talk to someone.

    Posted by: chrisnyc | Jun 24, 2008 10:38:59 PM


  18. CHARLES...I'm curious...exactly how many cable knit cashmere sweaters do you own, in what colors and are they all monogrammed?

    WILL is right...Western Europe has a waaaaaaaaaaaay healthier attitude about sex than the majority of America. I wish I had the option to move to Germany.

    Posted by: peterparker | Jun 25, 2008 4:45:02 AM


  19. Sex in the meatrack is a victimless crime. The rangers would do better to issue citations to people who walk on our dunes, which DOES damage the ecosystem on Fire Island. In any event, they will be very busy, particularly at night, should they choose to mount a campaign to end the decades long tradition of men having sex in the rack.

    Jim Kelly
    Cherry Gorve, NY

    Posted by: Jim Kelly | Jun 25, 2008 7:53:27 AM


  20. It is a shame to see all of the attitudes of the 1950's back again. It is bad enough that the "straights" are attacking us...things just never change. But to read some of the comments from ones own "gays" brothers is so disheartining. I guess I fall into the Daddy type, being 51 and remembering all to well the pre-AIDS era in not only Fire Island, but in P'Town it was a given that certain areas were for sex, The dunes in P'Town and the Meat Rack in Fire Island being some. Used to be able to get some awesome "quickie" sex in Rest Stops and Truck Stops as well but there were some that felt it was there right to advertise it to everyone. i.e. used condoms, lube, underwear, etc everywhere. AnNd in the Rest stops and truck stops the glory holes and grafetti everywhere, as if anyone needed to advertise to anyone what happend in these places. Sometimes we are are own worst enemies and forget the long struggle for equal rights we have fought for from Stonewall in New York to the present. It is sad to see a total turn around, and not for the better, that is taking place. The young guys feel that anyone older then 40 is a troll, what a joke. Would love to revisit them when they hit over 40 and realize most of us, that have survived the AIDS epidemic, are hotter and have more to offer then some 20 year old Twink does. I just wish our hard earned tax money was being used to arrest real criminals, like rapists and drug dealers instead of 2 consenting adults who chose to have sex in the woods and give into there animal side and have a quick matting and go back to there wives or partners and no one hurt. I speak as a man in a 30 year relationship with an older man that started the Stonewall Riots in New York and introduced me to the "gay scene" in the 70s and 80s when it was WILD! Anyone wishing to discuss anything else with me can contact me at my email address.

    Posted by: Robert | Jun 26, 2008 9:31:21 AM


  21. Those of you who are thankful for this or feel this is a good thing, need to take a personal inventory on your own needs, likes and wants. Somone else might not like what you do or where you do it. They will be knocking on your back door. Every one has always known about this on the gayest land in the free world. The danger is that someone decided that this was going to change. We are gay. We come with many different variations of our sexual side. If you want it there it is, if not get out. The gay ghettos are gone, the gay bars are almost all gone and with the fab Bush in office, fag bashings on a rise. Wether you like scat or hand holding we are becoming exstinct. Remember when all we had to worry about was AIDS. Now we have to change more. We have to be intigrated and we have to disappear. So sad.

    Posted by: Zander | Jun 26, 2008 10:56:53 AM


  22. Once again, the people here who are referring to the Meat Rack as a public "park," obviously do not know Fire Island. Sometimes known as The Bette Davis Memorial Forest, the rack is a half mile forest/swamp between two of the gayest communities in the world. It is just a lot of trees and uneven dirt paths and deer tracks and occasionaly sandy spots and swampy areas. Outside of sex, it's just a quick route from one community to the other if you don't mind mosquitos.

    It has absolutely zero attraction for anybody not interested in a bit of slap and tickle. I have never seen one straight person in the Meat Rack. It's not exactly a garden spot.

    Get it?

    So why are park rangers or police or whoever is arresting people bothering to waste taxpayer money on supervising this area which is historically notorious. It's not exactly as if anyone has been keeping it a secret since the 30's.

    The gay towns of Cherry Grove and the Pines have been virtually crime free until the breeders started buying up property and moving in with their rugrats. Why, I ponder, do straight people want to live in a flagrantly gay community and expose their children to that lifestyle unless they are seriously twisted? There are 33 other communities on Fire Island that cater to straight people and range from puritanical to whoopie.

    What I find unconscionable is straight people taking advantage of the AIDS epidemic to snatch up houses of dead gay men and women and then attempt to "gentrify" the last bastion of gay seclusion. It's not as if anyone can casually get to Fire Island. You have to drive all the way out to Long Island or take the railroad and then take a taxi to the ferry and then take a 20 minute ferry ride there. Nobody just wanders in; it's definitely a destination. So if you brave all that travelling to get there, stop bitching about what happens in a remote wooded area that you wouldn't visit on a bet.

    Personally, I found the sign amusing. If you don't like drag queens and gay bars and booze and outrageous people doing outrageous things, just don't go to Cherry Grove or the Pines. Go the Yellowstone National Park and maybe, if you're lucky, you can see wild bears sucking each other off.

    Posted by: Julian | Jun 28, 2008 11:54:18 AM


  23. I have to agree with Charles, the public sex thing is an excuse to stay in the closet and/or cheat on your spouse with a person who is probably cheating on their spouse. It creates a spiraling situation where all this is okay, and real comitted relationships are made a mockery of.
    Some people can't even have love-sex and need every encounter to be annonomous. The lesbians don't engage in this activity and are therefore accepted into society better than gay men.
    By engaging in public sex, the closet cases are able to get off and live their gay fantasies, only to go home to their wives and vote republican. We are enabling a group that is voting against our interests, all in the name of harmless fun.
    If the sex is between two single guys, fine, but it rarely is and that is a shame.
    For me, i can't get an erection in those situations, and i don't need queens gossiping about my low hanging balls at the club later that evening.

    Posted by: Ty | Jun 28, 2008 3:23:18 PM


  24. I personally resent the gays who claim that illegal, anonymous outdoor (or even public bathroom) sex is a tradition or that everyone does it. Well I don't, never have and never will. These guys are either closeted, tweaked out or unable to hook up in the normal fashion. Ever see the guy George Michael met in the woods? Exhibit A.

    In civilized society one does not exchange bodily fluids in public. Straight or gay. Have some class.

    Posted by: Steven | Jun 29, 2008 9:51:50 AM


  25. So many uptight people here... it seems that there is going to be an upswing in medical procedures here in the USA... all those broomsticks that need to be surgically removed from uptight asses!

    Posted by: CK | Jun 30, 2008 9:45:01 AM


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