On the early hours of May 28th Patrick Boland's dead body was found apparently due to two stabbings to the chest. Specific details are not yet being released. However, his tragic death is being handled with a level of hypocritical insensitivity which turns my stomach!
As reports of his death circulated, the common statement was that he should not have been in the park at 2AM. Strong inferences were that he deserved what he got for cruising the park at night.
The fact that it was illegal to be in the park at 2 AM is not in question for me. The fact that he was cruising for sex is not in question for me. I draw the line when people begin judging him as if he deserved to be murdered. And to hear it from people that I have personally seen in dark indecent places makes me wanna slap some of them in the face for being so hypocritical. Now some people might slap me for spilling this REAL TEA!
Having sex in the park is not exclusive to same gender loving men. Heterosexuals have done it throughout the test of time. Does anyone remember the song "Rock Creek Park" by The Blackbyrds? The lyrics were plain as plain could be: "Doing it in the park, doing it after dark, oh yeah, doing it awfully hard (oh yeah), doing it awfully hard". They weren't talking about two men, they were talking about a man and a woman. The whole double standard about it was that the Blackbryds were able to make a hit record out of the declaration of this behavior and it was accepted. But had it been about two men, I'm sure the Blackbryds would have been stoned!
Because the situation involves a same gender loving person, it plays into all the prejudices that is associated with what straight people think about what gay men do and who gay men are. When straight men do it, it is usually met with a badge of honor while gay men fall into the ditch of shame.
Anonymous sex and cruising for sex has been a part of the gay male culture for centuries and will be for more centuries to come. It may not be cute to admit, but it is what it is. Gay men cruise WHEREVER and WHENEVER they can. They cruise in the streets, the malls, park, trains, public bathrooms, movie theaters, gyms, department stores, CHURCHES...WHERE EVER! For a majority of gay men cruising is sort of a rite of passage. When two men find themselves attracted to each other they will inevitably cruise each other until something happens. Whether the end result is a quick nut or an exchange of numbers, the first step is to cruise each other. For a gay man to say that he has NEVER cruised another man is in my opinion...A LIE!!!
In other words, it is okay for me to go to the local bar and cruise men 4 nights out of the week, but it is not ok for me to go to The BATHHOUSE when I am horny and don't have a steady man to give me my release. It is okay for me to have 6 different steady sex buddies, but it is not okay for me to find someone at the park and take them home. It is okay for me to go to the club and meet someone and have sex with them in the parking lot but it is not okay for me to go cruising in the park. It is okay for me to spend four hours on the gym floor and talk to all the cuties and take their numbers and sleep with them after a good workout, but it is not okay for me to pick someone up in the sauna. Can we say... H Y P O C R I T E S?
Now if we are going to be really honest, there is no one to blame but society. CRUISING IS A BY-PRODUCT OF HOMOPHOBIA! Yeah I said it! People want to judge and place blame but the real truth is that gay men started cruising because they were not allowed to love openly and publicly. At one point it was deemed illegal for two men to be together (even during an innocent act such as holding hands). This country has a long shameful history of having laws (both civil and religious) that prohibited same gender loving people to express themselves. Yet society will be the first to blame Same Gender Loving people for finding alternative ways to find their "freedom" in spite of all the obstacles.
To be clear my stance is that grown people are going to do what they want to do. Who am I to judge when I know that there are skeletons in my closet as well. It reminds me of JOHN 8:7 where it says: So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone at her". I'm not condoning sexual acts in public. That is not what this "blog" is about. I will write another blog about that in the near future. What I am saying is that NO ONE'S life should be devalued or diminished because of a personal choice that they have made. None of us are perfect. And some of us continue to do the same thing Patrick Boland did, the only difference is that some of us continue to get away with it while on the night of May 28th, Patrick Boland did not!
Rest In Peace Patrick.
Jon Ortiz Jon Gabriel Ortiz is native of New York and has been living in Atlanta for 5 years. Jon has been working as an HIV prevention specialist and a community activist for almost 25 focusing on issues facing same gender loving people of color. Listen to Jon speak about this issue on Atlanta's Alternative Perspectives, a podcast for the Atlanta LGBT community here.