Lgbt lives

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A presentation that formed part of the ESRC LGBT Lives series. This was presented in May 2009.

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Lgbt lives

  1. 1. Private Acts in Public Places? Socio-Legal Constructions of Public Sex Identities in the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ Scotland Chris Ashford Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Sunderland
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Public expressions of sexuality </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Cottaging’ (‘Beats’/’Tearoom’) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Cruising’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Dogging’ – ‘lovers lanes’ </li></ul><ul><li>Internet and the virtual self </li></ul>
  3. 3. Motivational and Behavioural Factors <ul><li>Premise remains, to criminalise is to stop. </li></ul><ul><li>Humphreys – Chess like moves – roles of players. </li></ul><ul><li>Delph – commuter spots </li></ul><ul><li>Debates around public/private divide </li></ul>
  4. 4. Motivational and Behavioural Factors <ul><li>Construction of space – Skeggs and Moran – Manchester/Lancaster </li></ul><ul><li>Role of ‘Glory Holes’ etc, cubicle doors, transient nature of the space </li></ul><ul><li>1993 – Church et al study </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoying the activity sexually, excitement and the thrill, anonymity </li></ul>
  5. 5. Queer Space <ul><li>Growth in designated ‘Queer Space’ in the UK </li></ul><ul><li>Manchester’s ‘Gay Village’ </li></ul><ul><li>Newcastle’s ‘Pink Triangle’ </li></ul><ul><li>Continued development – Liverpool and Middlesbrough </li></ul><ul><li>Skeggs and Moran – hetero-normalisation of Queer Space </li></ul><ul><li>Whittle – ‘beautiful people’ syndrome. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Criminal Law (Consolidation) Scotland Act 1995 <ul><li>13.— Homosexual offences. </li></ul><ul><li>(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of [sixteen] 1 years. </li></ul><ul><li>(2) An act which would otherwise be treated for the purpose of this Act as being done in private shall not be so treated if done— </li></ul><ul><li>[...] 2 </li></ul><ul><li>(b) in a lavatory to which the public have, or are permitted to have, access whether on payment or otherwise. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Scottish Law <ul><li>Public access… </li></ul><ul><li>Templeton (Paul William) v HM Advocate [2008] GWD 40-593. </li></ul><ul><li>Public indecency/shameless indecency </li></ul><ul><li>Lewd practices </li></ul><ul><li>Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 </li></ul>
  8. 8. England & Wales <ul><li>Sexual Offences Act 2003 – England and Wales, and relevant provision extended to NI but not Scotland. </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Public Order Act 1986 </li></ul><ul><li>Common law – outraging public decency </li></ul><ul><li>Rose v DPP [2006] EWHC 852 </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>(2008) Public Inquiry into the Provision of Public Toilets – Communities and Local Government Select Committee </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Anti-social behaviour’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ We recommend that local authorities can and should exercise existing legislative powers to prevent anti-social behaviour’ (pg13). </li></ul>
  10. 10. 8 Police forces in Scotland
  11. 11. Internet and the Police <ul><li>One site – England and Wales forces –no Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>ACPO Guidance (NB – not ACPOS) </li></ul><ul><li>3 cruising/dogging websites provided </li></ul>
  12. 12. ‘ Cyber Cottage’/Virtual PSEs <ul><li>Ashford 2006, 2007, Mowlabocus 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>A) Information and advice </li></ul><ul><li>B) Warnings and law enforcement </li></ul><ul><li>D) A meeting forum </li></ul>
  13. 13. Etiquette – Aberdeen (Dec 2007) <ul><li>Note to the guys in cars : Remember that we are not the only people that frequent [this public park] after dark, theres guys parking there to get stoned, theres straight couples haveing sex and theres gay couples lookin for a quiet place to have some fun. When u sit in ur car it annoyes me, u sit there waiting for someone to approach u, when u should be getting out of ur car and approaching us. We dont know who is in the car, we dont want to approach incase theres a bunch of young lads in the car waiting to beat the fuck out of us or some straight couple with nowhere else to go. Its not really safe for us to approach u. It would also help if u put ur lights out and turned on the inside light if ur wanting company, we dont have xray vision, we cant see in the dark and we certainly dont want to get attacked by irate neds out for a fight, so do the right thing and STEP OUT OF THE FUCKIN CAR. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>‘ havent been here for years, used to be great. Im not surprised the council are cutting back all the bushes, they obviously have an anti gay policy in force at the parks dept in glasgow. Ive noticed this happening in a lot of other gay cruising areas- cathkin for example. There isnt any horticultural excuse either as they never plant anything new there & its often ( as in cathkin braes) gorse bushes or rhodys well away from any picturescue view or similar. Just pure and simple anti gay discrimination! Shame on you!’ (Glasgow, March 2009) </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>138 listings of towns and cities in Scotland. </li></ul><ul><li>Inverness (Northern Constabulary) 15 locations (parks, bars, gym, cottages, cruising ground) </li></ul><ul><li>Most active – a cottage – 100 (May 2008-May 09) </li></ul><ul><li>Second most active - cottage- (70 posts) (May ‘08-’09) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Inverness, April ‘09 <ul><li>‘ POLICE RAIDED THIS PLACE TODAY. SAW THEM TAKE COUPLE OF GUYS AWAY IN THEIR CARS. THERE WAS FOUR POLICE VANS AND A GUY TAKING SNAPS...AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ That's a shame, but pretty inevitable the amount of attention this place has been getting lately.’ </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>August 2008: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ I would be ...VERY carefull about police activity...they monitor this sght as well....be on your guard at all times...’ </li></ul><ul><li>August 2008: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ visited twice today 1st time wanked 2 guys off 2nd time wanked 1 guy who wanked me nobody wanted to go into cubicle or for a walk and on both visits there was a dhl van parked up and my visits were 3 hrs apart and botrh times as i left police arrive now i onder ! but will be there again tomeorrow so let me know if your going as i luv 2 suck cock and be fucked’ </li></ul>
  18. 18. Cottage, Inverness <ul><li>‘ The security guys are keeping an eye on this place. They have a camera outside and will enter the toilets if they area suspicious. They will look over the cubicle top and will call Police. Be aware.’ (Jan ‘09) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Gym/Sports Centre <ul><li>‘ Hey guys, I have been advised by email from a representative of this location to advise that it is a family facility and not a cruising area. Illegal activities are not permitted and will be reported to the police. Ed’ </li></ul>
  20. 20. Glasgow <ul><li>121 locations </li></ul><ul><li>Glasgow Park </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Heaving with Police tonight, around 10pm so didn't stay. Saw 2 vans & a car heading around the park.’ (Mon) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Was told police were there last night 2 guys beat up another up who were down there cruising scum bags that they are. Told guy is in the western with severe facial damage.’ (Mon) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Visibility/monitoring <ul><li>‘ I have to agree with kinkkruise be vauge in all descriptions, we would all be foolish to believe that cruising sites are not monitored, it`s in our own interest to be discreet. That said, obviously outdoor,risky, fun sex is good & to be enjoyed. But sadley we have to be responsible as well and not upset others who really don`t like seeing it or tacking part.... mmmm enough of my natter, what do you think?’ (Feb ‘09) </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>‘ I stopped using this site as someone described me and the specs of my car in the main forum. See it is still happening to lads eg DOG WALKERS etc Not everyone is out or wants their description to be broadcast on an open forum. Please lads talk/describe other guys in personal messages not where partners/police/friends ANYONE could see.’ (Feb ‘09) </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>‘ police activity in the park tonight people should start going to [name]park the bit up the stairs of [name] road the police dont know about this place and its as safe as [name] park.’ (Feb ‘09) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Commercial Store – private enforcers <ul><li>‘ hey guys, this place is a huge no no...security are well aware of this place and I was caught and escorted off the premises by them...I wasn't even cruising but in a cubicle, security were in pretty much straight after me and waited for me coming out and told me they knew why I was here and told me to leave...not without giving me a lecture about how they had my cctv images and so on so on. Very very embarrassing situation and to be honest I won't be using the place again...so heads up guys, there are plenty of other places very near here!’ (Glasgow, Jan 2008) </li></ul>
  25. 25. The Insider <ul><li>Council worker </li></ul><ul><li>‘ yeah Glasgow City Council (who I work for) is closing these toilets because of the (and I quote an internal circular here) &quot;COTTAGING PROBLEM&quot;. The loo's are to be replaced by four modern plastic outdoor cubicles you will have to pay 20 pence to use. They will be separate and will prevent cottaging. Bummer eh?’ Nov 2008. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Conclusions <ul><li>Use of the Internet by the different ‘players’ </li></ul><ul><li>Contrasts to England and Wales? </li></ul><ul><li>Police use? </li></ul><ul><li>ACPO/ACPOS future strategies? </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://sunderland.academia.edu/ChrisAshford </li></ul>

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