Bath­room Boo: An erotic per­spec­tive on mod­ern pol­i­tics

GA Voice - - LGBT Military -

The fire-eater out­rage over trans­gen­der ac­cess to toi­lets makes me grate­ful that con­ser­va­tives don’t know about some of the things I’ve done in pub­lic re­strooms, oth­er­wise there’s not a gay man in Amer­ica who would be al­lowed to piss in­doors. There’s an im­ma­tu­rity in the main­stream per­cep­tion of pub­lic bath­rooms, a pre­tend­ing that they haven’t al­ways been places where peo­ple can do things other than uri­nate, that makes it hard to en­gage in the cur­rent de­bate.

I don’t worry about trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als in­tro­duc­ing per­ver­sion into pub­lic re­strooms, ei­ther di­rectly or in­ad­ver­tently, since an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of them, like most straight, gay and les­bian peo­ple, sim­ply want to re­lieve their blad­der and/or bow­els. I imag­ine some of them, like some straight, gay and (maybe?) les­bian folks, in­dulge in an oc­ca­sional mo­ment of naugh­ti­ness in those re­strooms – with a con­sen­sual part­ner, and un­seen by those not in­volved.

No one’s ar­gu­ing for the right of trans­gen­der folks to fuck in the re­stroom that matches their gen­der iden­tity, but it feels ab­surd to dis­cuss pub­lic re­strooms with­out the base­line recog­ni­tion that they’ve never been chaste. De­spite the lust that’s been ex­changed in them over cen­turies, Amer­ica’s pub­lic re­strooms are not breed­ing grounds for pe­dophiles and sex­ual preda­tors, and it’s densely big­oted to sug­gest they will be made less safe or san­i­tary if trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als aren’t screened be­fore pee­ing.

This month (or maybe early June) is the 20th an­niver­sary of the first time I had full in­ter­course with a guy, which, as I’ve writ­ten be­fore, oc­curred in the bath­room of a pub­lic li­brary. I had been hav­ing sex with girls for three years prior to that – in my fam­ily’s apart­ment, the locker rooms of pub­lic pools, and friends’ bed­rooms – but knew all of the tra­di­tional venues for teenage ex­plo­ration were off lim­its for he and I, so I pen­e­trated him in the only locked, pri­vate cham­ber ei­ther of us knew.

Our pub­lic in­de­cency lasted no more than a minute, which I’ll blame on ado­les­cent adrenaline, and we prob­a­bly spent more time clean­ing up than hav­ing sex. I’ve thought about that

“De­spite the lust that’s been ex­changed in them over cen­turies, Amer­ica’s pub­lic re­strooms are not breed­ing grounds for pe­dophiles and sex­ual preda­tors, and it’s densely big­oted to sug­gest they will be made less safe or san­i­tary if trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als aren’t screened be­fore pee­ing.”

ex­pe­ri­ence, and the sum­mer of ’96 in gen­eral, as the song “My Boo” has been res­ur­rected via the Run­ning Man Chal­lenge meme.

“It’s weird be­cause I re­mem­ber how it ab­so­lutely sucked be­ing a clos­eted gay teenager,” I wrote on Face­book. “But ‘My Boo’ al­ways fills me with a fond nos­tal­gia for a time of secret de­sires, pri­vate li­aisons, and sim­ply be­ing a fast/man­nish child try­ing to find his way in this so­ci­ety.”

The sta­tus up­date led to a pri­vate mes­sage from a child­hood class­mate who is ca­su­ally un­big­oted to­ward LGBT rights, but who ad­mit­ted be­ing dazed by the ex­plicit re­minder that I was gay dur­ing that era. For him, a ho­mo­sex­ual is some­thing I be­came when I grew up, rather than some­thing I was, some­thing that reg­u­lated who I could be, when we were in first, third or tenth grade; when we bragged or teased about ju­ve­nile ro­man­tic ex­ploits and in­ter­ests, or show­ered with our team­mates after prac­tice.

I wish I could’ve been more of my­self through­out child­hood, that it wasn’t so clear to me that I must be some­one I wasn’t in or­der to be loved, liked or even ac­cepted. I re­sent hav­ing been forced into in­com­plete friend­ships and mod­i­fied rites of pas­sage, although there are worse sto­ries about los­ing one’s vir­gin­ity, I’m sure. Ryan Lee is an At­lanta writer.

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