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]


  1. wisebear says

    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?

  2. says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. AndyZ says

    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.

  5. Derrick from Phiily says

    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?

  6. Tread says

    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.

  7. um no says

    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.

  8. Beeeean says

    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!

  9. says

    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?

  10. Biffy says

    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.

  11. Derrick from Philly says


    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.

  12. jimbo says

    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

  13. thin mint says

    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.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    “…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.

  15. says

    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.

  16. thin mint says

    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.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    “…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?

    “…you’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.

  18. thin mint says

    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.

  19. Derrick from Philly says

    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.

  20. Logan says

    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.

  21. jmg says

    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.

  22. David D. says

    Haven’t gay men been having sex in the Meatrack for decades? It’s been written about and talked about as one of the features of Fire Island for so long, I’m surprised there aren’t bus tours. They should just put up a nice fence around it, describe it as a gay wildlife sanctuary, and leave everyone who wants to frolic in it alone.

  23. jason says

    This is not a gay rights issue. It’s a sleaze issue. Our community needs to stop confusing the two.

    When Lawrence vs Texas overturned the ban on sodomy, it wasn’t on the basis of us wanting to have sex in public. It was on the basis of our right to have sex in private.

    Memo to the gay community: don’t waste your time with this Fire Island situation. It is NOT a gay civil rights issue.

  24. DC10001 says

    I am a homeowner in Cherry Grove (Meat Rack adjacent) The ‘Meat Rack” is a part of the Fire Island National Seashore I’ve cruised and connected for years and I’m unapologetic. I’m aware it’s a risk and I accept it fully.
    With a clear head and a little finesse, there’s no issue of “offending the public”.
    Anyway there’s much more offensive sh*t going on in the world. So to all the old maid moralistic prigs on this site- stay out of my sandbox! I don’t trample the primary dunes like many clueless boys do, I don’t litter. The area has been traditionally unsupervised and I think it’s time for us to do a little penance. Not because of the sex, because we have really trashed the place. There is a group of volunteers who remove litter and they are to be commended. But too many drunk queens traipse through the rack, throw their bottles and cups wherever, and leave condoms and nasty debris all over. The whole rack needs a rest and a clean up.

  25. says

    “This is not a gay rights issue. It’s a sleaze issue.”

    For you, Jason.

    For other people it is in fact a gay rights issue because there is a long history of so-called morality laws being used against gay people. But, even if it isn’t a civil rights issue, one needn’t be confused or sleazy to object to, in our view, heavy-handed policing of public spaces. The issue runs deeper than an incident at the Fire Island Meat Rack, as is evidenced by the strong responses here. It gets to the heart of differing opinions of what it means to be gay now, choices about expressing sexuality, and the messy nature of “public.” Engaging with these issues is hardly a waste of time.

  26. Will says

    I cannot believe some gay men on this site are so pathetic that they are trying to argue they should be allowed to have sex in public simply because it’s on “their” island. Fire Island is a public place. You can pretend that having sex in public is part of your gay history but thankfully it’s not part of mine. This is strictly a generational thing that older gays are trying to couch as some civil rights, gay rights issue in order to bring in younger gays. Thankfully younger gays are already at the point in our evolution where they realize they don’t need to debase themselves this way. Maybe some of the older gays will realize it’s time to grow up. Over forty and sleazing in the bushes is not attractive, not a right and certainly not cultural.

  27. jason says


    I agree with you. It never ceases to amaze the number of dunderheads who think having sex in public spaces is a civil rights issue.

    The only situation in which this should be a concerning issue for the gay community is if the policing was based on discriminatory policies – if, for instance, the police were cracking down on gay public sex but not straight public sex. In that situation, a case can be made that it’s unfair.

  28. mike says

    Good! I hope the Park Service keeps it up. The time for gay men to think that public sex is a “civil right” is long over. It is disgusting to think that after 20+ years of the HIV epidemic, the loss of tens of thousands of young men in their prime or approaching it, and the still virulent homophobia that runs rampant in American (if not the world), some gay guys just can’t take their “sexuality” and keep it out of the public eye. Anybody who gets down on the Park Service for doing something that should have been done YEARS ago really needs to have their meds checked or else try and push their brain up from their dick and back into their head.

  29. mike says

    Good! I hope the Park Service keeps it up. The time for gay men to think that public sex is a “civil right” is long over. It is disgusting to think that after 20+ years of the HIV epidemic, the loss of tens of thousands of young men in their prime or approaching it, and the still virulent homophobia that runs rampant in American (if not the world), some gay guys just can’t take their “sexuality” and keep it out of the public eye. Anybody who gets down on the Park Service for doing something that should have been done YEARS ago really needs to have their meds checked or else try and push their brain up from their dick and back into their head.

  30. David says


    I am somewhat taken aback by all the incredulous shrieking about how disgusting “public sex” is for the gay community. It’s hardly “public” in the sense that it goes on behind the bushes. No onee sees it unless they choose to.

    The courts have ruled that, while there is no expectation of privacy in any part of the park, the offense were still NOT public lewdness because they were out of sight.

    The real question is: does the gay community want to be placed under surveillance and arrest by federal sex police?

    The Park Service report that “no arrests were made” was an obfuscation. They claim that a suspect can be handcuffed and detained, but if issued a citation they were never “under arrest”. Under law, those handcuffed are absolutely “under arrest”.

    The meat rack provides a rare opportunity for older men to meet and service many younger and more attractive men…or participate vicariouslyas observers. It is all consensual and almost always safer sex or mutual masturbation.

    I fully respect the right of people not to encounter public lewdness. I also respect the hard won freedom from surveillance and arrest that the mattachine society won for all of us 40 years ago.

    Parents who stroll with small children through the meat rack are being careless.

    Adults who fornicate in the open are also being inconsiderate.

    Reasoned compromise allows us all to enjoy a very special place.

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