Cruising is nothing new. It’s been going on for hundreds of years, and its history is a part of the history of our cities and public spaces. As cities grew and populations became more anonymous, new opportunities for chance encounters arose, for straight and queer people alike, and the figure of the stranger took on an erotic allure. Parks have always been places where strangers meet for overlapping and divergent reasons. By day, children play, families picnic, tourists take respite, neighbours walk their dogs, joggers jog. By night, teenagers hop fences to snog, hookers and rent boys ply their trade, lovers admire the moon, addicts shoot up, and gay men fuck, jerk and suck
These encounters are embedded in our cultural history. Thanks to Mark Turner for reminding us of that, it’s a worldwide phenomenon.
So valued are these outdoor spaces and the need for pleasure that the slightest adjustment, aesthetically or otherwise shakes up the mind of the experienced cruiser, imagine my surprise when I got a frantic call from a member of that active community expressing shock, some outrage and near rage that his stomping ground has been bulldozed, the cruising community in 2010 had a tumultuous year with spot after spot being literally changed or totally annihilated right before their eyes with some fallout in the process some of which I dare say look rather psychologically troubling as persons seem to just be lost or in some sort of shock knowing they cannot act out their fetishes or desires in these former active open year concealed to the public spaces. The death of one of their members also sent shock waves for months as many of the men refused from visiting the areas namely in West Kingston and onwards. Multiple near misses by inexperienced newcomers were also a cause for concern for some of the more elder statesmen.
Of course as the previous administration, the JLP were the representatives for that area it was not surprising to see infrastructure development taking place after decades of neglect. It is safe to name the spots now seeing they are now defunct, the old railway station and its environs was one spot for decades used by generations of cruisers young and old alike, thugs and effeminates alike, gay and bi-curious alike including gay for pay or trade members as well. These members are not exposed to the rest of the LGBT community and subsequent advocacies that exist and most are not keen to come forward to present their grouses except to persons they feel won’t humiliate them due to their tastes in sexual contact outdoors preferably.
The frantic caller this morning was a long time friend and he insisted I came to Kingston for him to show me the new look of the wooded area now turned a backhoe and dumper truck parking spot as renovations continue in that part of town by the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, KSAC and with the former active mayor of Kingston Desmond McKenzie crossing over to representational politics and winning the sure JLP seat in the constituency there is bound to be far more adjustments to the area knowing his style. We met in Kingston early this morning along with another younger thug he introduced me to, he again expressed his frustrations of the missing spot as he did on the phone prior to my arrival. We walked to the section leisurely and as was told to me the spot was indeed gone but the reaction of the gentleman is still puzzling to me, it’s a public space, there is bound to be changes in the long run so why this attachment to it along with the need for cruising in that specific area could affect someone so much? There must be an explanation for this. The other spots across town have also been disappearing fast and with no serious LGBT spots available with dark rooms etc for this kind of intense sexual release what are cruisers both active or secretive ones to do?
When the thug friend of the troubled cruiser suggested renting an overnight room for pleasure he expressed the refusal of many of the cheaper priced motels do not allow same sexed guests so easily these days and the more affluent hotels who do not question guest’s gender before booking are too expensive, typical four star Kingston hotel room is at $8000/night average he also made a very important acknowledgement to the whole world of cruising where he said it takes away from the thrill when one rents a room for sex, there is no excitement knowing you may be caught but gets away with it anyway.
There has been an ongoing discussion with some influentials to provide some more sexually charged entertainment to offset some of the wants of some of these brothers whether they will absorb these proposed offerings is another matter seeing that the erotic elements maybe missing and that thrill factor our brother alluded to, plus they may not have the money in all cases to pay the admission fees.
Repeating a section of a previous post - Some sort of intervention is needed I feel but if we can’t even get any honest moves to deal with issues directly infront of our eyes especially with the least amongst us that being the homeless msms then how are we going to deal with a population that is for the most part clandestine even to the rest of the LGBT community’s eyes. My few interactions with these men has also revealed that these aren’t the typically profiled brothers but are men who sometimes are bisexual or have the occasional female partner or that male from the lower economic strata who uses the Kingston proper region to earn a living near the market district but are same gender loving or willing to practice some sort of sexual contact with other men. Stealth is a crucial tool in this game as these brothers are mostly very masculine and it may not be known how they are in their natural state in a few instances.
Keep a cruising carefully brothers.
Peace and tolerance