Tuesday, October 25, 2005

When I attended graduate school (1988-1992) at Arizona State University I didn't have a car, I rode my one-speed bike everywhere. My social life sucked- there were no gay bars close by, no internet, the only way to meet other gay people was through the GBLT student group. My second year there I ended up being the co-chair of the group.

The ASU police started to arrest men having sex in bathrooms. One day I went into the anthropology department restroom to pee and there was a man washing his hands, staring at my cock as I tried to piss. I got totally weirded out and left. An hour later I returned and he was still there, still washing his hands. I waited until I got home to pee. The next day the student paper announced that two men had been arrested in that same bathroom. What a set up- the police officer's word against yours.

The student newspaper had a policy of printing the names of felony suspects. Getting arrested for bathroom sex was considered a misdemeanor. However, the newspaper published the names, majors, and addresses of those being arrested. At the same time an athlete or frat guy was accused of rape (which is, after all, a felony) and the paper declined to print his name to "protect him." I called up my GLBT co-chair, Janice, and we went to visit the newspaper editor. I read him the paper's policy and asked why the men being arrested for misdemeanor bathroom sex were being exposed while felony rape suspects protected. I casually mentioned we were getting ready to file a lawsuit, which was bullshit since I couldn't afford a lawyer. It worked. The next day the editor called me to apologize and ask me to write a cover story for the weekend magazine on gay life at Arizona State. It was the first positive article ever published in that paper about homos.

At about the same time it was the annual Student Group Fair on campus. I was one of two people willing to man the Fag Group table and so I sat there (next to the woofy ASU Rugby Team) and handed out literature. When my replacement arrived I wandered about. I stopped at the Anti-Abortion group table and looked at their pamphlet. A perky brunette girl asked me my opinion on abortion. I told her that it should be up to each woman to make a choice.

"You support killing babies!?" she cried out. "Well, I really don't think it is my business to tell other women what they can do with their own bodies. So, if you were raped you would want to have the baby?" "Of course!" she replied. She paused and then said, "I suppose you would support aborting babies if they had a test to see if they were homosexual!"

Oh. My. She was throwing out her supposed liberal attitudes to me. Except ASU in the late 1980s-early 1990s wasn't liberal. I had already sat through a student Senate meeting and had been called a sodomizer in front of everybody by the vice president. I had been called Fag more than once because I rode a nerdy Peewee Herman-like bike. Everyone was so closeted and afraid.

I looked at the perky brunette and smiled. "You know, I find your saying that really offensive. I'm a gay man and I don't believe you have ever met a homosexual in person, have you?" Her mouth dropped open and she stepped backward. Here she was spouting her crap and suddenly a real-live faggot was standing in front of her. She turned to the other person manning her booth and blurted out, "He's a homosexual!" That person looked equally horrified. I looked at them and laughed. I think I freaked them out, a real-live homosexual.

Times have changed Since then the greater Phoenix area has become homo-central. Tempe had a gay mayor, there is a gay city council man for Phoenix. They even shoot porn movies there. The internet has made life so much easier for gay people. I sometimes wonder if younger gay people understand how much life has changed in the last 20 years.

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