Fire Island | New York | News

Park Service: Fire Island Citations 'Not Part of a Targeted Raid'


An update on the earlier report of arrests on Fire Island, courtesy of Next magazine, which has kindly given us an advance of this info, which will be published in their Friday Pride edition:

"The big buzz on the beach last weekend was about the 'raids' taking place at the notorious Meat Rack. A call to the National Park Service that polices the cruisey passage between The Pines and Cherry Grove revealed that over the past two weekends there have been two incidents with park rangers and five citations have been given out — two on June 15, one for disorderly conduct and one for possession of a controlled substance, and three on June 21, all for disorderly conduct. Both incidents involve men having sex in the area properly known as Carrington Tract. A rep for the Park Service said that no arrests have been made and that this is not a part of a targeted raid, but that the Fire Island National Seashore received more funding for personnel this year than in the past so there are more patrols of all areas, not just the Meat Rack, and that no directive has been given by the superintendent to crack down on any illegal behavior in the area."

Gay Men Arrested for Public Sex on Fire Island [tr]

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  1. I'm not buying it. Most of these additional funds go to bring in more temporary summer cops - the rent-a-cops, we called them in ptown - and they are often young, stupid, homophobic, granted enormous power and largely unsupervised. Use your imaginations. The park service has already admitted the crackdown in the dunes in ptown. Why would fire island be any different?

    Posted by: wisebear | Jun 24, 2008 1:40:46 PM

  2. WTF? I am incredibly embarrassed that any of my fellow gays consider this a potential scandal of any kind. Since when do we have the right to have sex in public? Since when does ANYONE? It's illegal, it should be illegal, and the park service has every right to target it and crack down. They should not have to defend enforcing the law.

    If gays have any history of lewd behavior (and let's face it, we do, and that's what it is: lewd) we should be ashamed and we should work to improve our image in that regard. By trying to defend sex in public in any way, you're just proving right the bigots who say we're nothing more than immoral hedonists who can't control our "urges". Ugh.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 24, 2008 1:44:30 PM

  3. So what if it was a raid? No one, gay or straight, should be having sex in a public place. If you do it and get caught, that's your problem. You're knowingly engaging in an illegal activity.

    It would be entirely different if there were officers in the park posing as gay men and trying to elicit sex.

    Posted by: Daspion | Jun 24, 2008 1:52:18 PM

  4. It's not a public place like Times Square where gaggles of tourists are. It is a nature area between two predominantly gay retreats which for ages has been a rendez-vous locale away from all the hustle and bustle and bullshit of life.

    So quit being so sanctimonious and uptight. Everything has become so measured and restricted and dictated and PC and this dry, corporate-minded sterile mentality. Blech.

    No more fun or spontaneous thrills. How boring.

    Posted by: AndyZ | Jun 24, 2008 2:02:47 PM

  5. Do y'all realize that many gay men (and gay teenagers) arrested in these raids were often not having sex. They were picked up by over-zealous, anti-gay cops who often use anti-gay slurs when making their crusades of cleanliness.

    You know, gay guys often tell stories of cops that forced us to have sex with them in these parks and beaches. Well, I don't know how much force the cute cops had to use. We had a case here in Philly about 8 years ago where a cop was actually convicted of sexual assault. The gay guy had just arrived at 30th street on a train from New York--claimed he wandered down the railroad tracks into "Gay Acres", and that's where the cop sexually assaulted him. Yeah, that New York City "child" knew exactly where he was headed--the cop's sexual aggressiveness took the New York boy by surprise.

    Oh, BTW, it was the cop who "went down" on the New York City boy. Aint that something?

    Posted by: Derrick from Phiily | Jun 24, 2008 2:14:22 PM

  6. Hey Rich -- your last name is Tafel, right?
    Why don't you and the rest of the Log Cabinette KAPOS Fuck Off!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 24, 2008 2:38:33 PM

  7. Thank you, David. They can take their prude, self-hating, 'tudes and shove them where the su… Eh, they probably don't even understand that euphemism.

    Posted by: Tread | Jun 24, 2008 2:46:00 PM

  8. Not every cop that busts a gay guy for having sex out in public is a homophobe. Stop with the scare tactics, ladies. A law is a law is a law.

    I'm hardly conservative, but if I saw anyone - gay or straight, old or young, hot or not - jangling their bits in the woods, I'd want them to be stopped, too.

    Yeah, I'm a regular Nazi like that.

    Posted by: um no | Jun 24, 2008 2:47:37 PM

  9. David, Tread, like I said in the earlier thread, you can always tell a moralist, you just can't tell him much.

    Posted by: Will | Jun 24, 2008 3:08:36 PM

  10. Derrick wrote: "Do y'all realize that many gay men (and gay teenagers) arrested in these raids were often not having sex."

    Um, where did it say anyone was arrested. They were given citations. Which considering you were caught fucking in public is a pretty lenient penalty for breaking the law.

    We can't expect to be treated equally as straight people and then scream when we're cited for fucking in the woods as if that is the only refuge we have to do so. 20 years ago when it was far more taboo, I could maybe understand the outrage. But now? Get a damned hotel room or go back to the person's house in the Pines.

    At least when I was last at Fire Island, I had the decency to take my threesome to the treehouse in my own yard!

    Posted by: Beeeean | Jun 24, 2008 3:08:55 PM


    Posted by: WEStcoastkid | Jun 24, 2008 3:18:08 PM

  12. If you want to have sex in public, fine, but don't get mad when you get arrested for breaking the law. it doesn't matter if you're in "gay-friendly area" or the Isle of Sodomy, it's still against the law.

    I think this speaks to a broader problem within "gay culture," we condone, and often celebrate, deviant, illegal and often unhealthy behavior and say that it's part of the "fabric of who we are."

    But it's not. There are exhibitionists of every gender and sexual orientation, but for some reason the gay ones demand that their behavior be excused...

    Can we grow up, now? Please?

    Posted by: Cameron | Jun 24, 2008 3:19:26 PM

  13. If I were to see sex acts happening in any public venue, gay or straight I'm calling the cops and I hope they throw the book at the perpetrators.

    If you want a thrill do it in your own bathroom/backyard/whatever.

    Posted by: Biffy | Jun 24, 2008 3:23:40 PM

  14. BEEEAN,

    I wasn't just referring to the Fire Island story. I should have said, "these kinds of raids." My mistake.

    I'm talking about cops who hate homosexuals, and who have power to discriminate. And I am speaking about municipal police, I have no knowledge of the behavior of National Park Service Rangers. And I am not just speaking from personal experience but also from testimonials from gay folks over the years, and their experience with police.

    Being "treated equally as straight people" has to do with civil rights laws, not with the behavior of gay people who don't conform to society's norms. Intelligent straight people understand that there is diversity among gay people. The dumb straights are going to look down on gays even if we behave as saintly as a priest...ooops.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 24, 2008 3:26:53 PM

  15. This is BS they are saying they were cut back in Boston and can not patrol the Boston Espanola and that there will be no bike rangers this year BS

    Posted by: jimbo | Jun 24, 2008 3:29:11 PM

  16. Obviously if the police (or park rangers) are homophobic and express homophobia while dealing with the public -- in the context of ANY crime -- that's something that needs to be forcefully addressed.

    But it doesn't mean whatever you were doing when the cop called you a faggot ought to be legal.

    Posted by: thin mint | Jun 24, 2008 3:44:28 PM

  17. "...whatever you were doing when the cop called a faggot ought to be legal."

    Sitting in the park with other gay people ought to be legal. I don't have to be having sex in public to run into a gay-hating cop. There are many cops whose attitudes haven't changed much since 1969...many.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 24, 2008 3:50:27 PM

  18. um, people have been doing it in the meatrack for years and the world has not fallen apart. i don't get it. if you go to fire island and you're in the cruisy area of the meatrack, you know what to expect. one of the appeals of fire island is there is a free, liberated and hedonistic environment one can partake in if one chooses.

    this should be one of those laissez faire situations. who gets hurt by a two guys giving each other a blow job in a secluded area in the meatrack? absolutely no one. it's not like strollers (god forbid) are being pushed through there.

    Posted by: Alex | Jun 24, 2008 3:53:51 PM

  19. Well, if you've been harassed by a cop while not committing any crime, it seems to me you'd be have a much better chance of getting justice if you aggressively pursued a complaint on that basis.

    You'd be helping your community a lot more, and I suspect you'd get a lot more support FROM your community.

    I don't understand how you think a helpful response to police harassment of non-criminal behavior is to say "I can whip out my dick and have at it wherever I damn please!"

    That doesn't address the policeman's homophobic harassment, and it makes it sound as if you ARE talking about illegal behavior.

    Posted by: thin mint | Jun 24, 2008 3:59:45 PM

  20. "...better chance of getting justice if you aggressively prusued a complaint on that basis."

    You're assuming that your policemen, your assistant district attornies, your judges, are fair minded and believe in equal protection for gay people under the law.

    We have different experiences in this society, THIN MINT.

    One of the real issues here is whether these guys are really doing this in full view of the public, or are these raids actual planned crackdowns on homo meeting places. The latter has been the case over the years--why should it be any different now?

    "'d get a lot more support FROM your community."

    Who needs the community's support? All we're doing is responding to sanctimonious bullshit spoken by gay people against other gay people. I don't want to inflict my world upon any folks--straight or gay. Don't be following me out to secluded places when I'm tryin' to stay out of your sight.

    For some homo folks legitimate gay venues don't provide what we desire, and so we look for other avenues--avenues usually out of the sight of straight folks, children, and cops.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 24, 2008 4:15:57 PM

  21. No, what I'm assuming is that when you meet institutionalized homophobia you confront it, as a community.

    Which is what you need the support for.

    Clearly, police raids on Blowjob Grove are an absurd misuse of public funds. However, a park is for the public. A lady pushing a stroller -- or a modest gay man -- who wanders off the beach into the trees is probably not "following you" but has as much right to enjoy the park in a publicly appropriate way as anyone. If you have carved off a section as the personal territory of you and your sex buddies -- that anyone who doesn't want a cock in the face should know to avoid -- that's a problem of public access that the management of the park is right to address.

    Posted by: thin mint | Jun 24, 2008 4:33:33 PM

  22. All right, we disagree on this issue...I guess, the issue of responsible public behavior.

    I don't like "group responsibility" or "group guilt" . I don't like it for gay people, and I don't like it for black people.

    THIN MINT, I'm glad we were able to have this discussion without name-calling or demeaning insults.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 24, 2008 4:56:02 PM

  23. I see no group responsibility or group guilt here. There are perverts of every race, orientation, etc. I think if you can't find somewhere to fuck privately, you deserve to get arrested. Period. And I don't feel any responsibility as a gay man to defend your actions.

    Posted by: Logan | Jun 24, 2008 5:06:30 PM

  24. Whether or not you're having sex while visiting the Meat Rack, don't forget to check for deer ticks.

    Posted by: timothy | Jun 24, 2008 5:16:03 PM

  25. 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 5:52:18 PM

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