From: (Stephen Hopkins)
Subject: Throwing the riff-raff to the lions (fwd)
Date: 10 May 1996 22:36:01 +0100

The following article, written by David Thorstad, appeared in issue 2.2 of
Gayme magazine and is reproduced here, in its entirety, without permission.
I hope this will still count as "fair use" reproduction within the context
of the magazine.

GAYME Issue 2.2

Riff raff to the lions

By Tom Reeves

The new year reminds us that the more things change the more they stay the

In Nashville over Christmas, I was cruising a peep show when I heard German
spoken. Since I speak that language and one of those speaking was a hunk, I
joined in.

The hunk -- an atheletic nineteen-year-old -- was polite but informed me he
was after "big black cocks."

"The last time I had sex with a white man was when I was twelve in Berlin.
No dark meat was available," he confided.

The other German was a handsome but decidedly elderly man. He wanted to chat
in his native tongue. He'd been in Nashville since "fleeing" Germany in 1945
(a clue!).

"All that crap about the lavendar triangle and gays being persecuted like
Jews in the Nazi time is bullshit," he insisted. "I was in the Hitler Youth
and had a ball -- but of course we did it behind closed doors and with none
of this flaunting you see now. When I was a young army officer, you have no
idea how easy it was to get into the pants of enlisted men -- especially at
the front. I was in Russia, and those long, cold nights were made for love!"

I told him of my student days in Berlin in the 1960s when I visited one bar
reputed to belong to a cousin of Hitler's. The owner was a drag queen,
married to a butch lesbian. They lived as man and wife and kept the bar open
throughout the war. "I know that bar" (neither of us could remember its
name) "but that wasn't the only one. There were two others -- one was called
the Landlady's Table.

"The point was to be absolutely discreet. You dressed and acted like men! Or
if you had to dress up like a woman you just became one! Of course that
wasn't for me. The ones who got into trouble were the riff-raff, the real
perverts, like men who went for young boys, or hustlers or outrageous
queens. Of course queers got arrested in parks or toilets for offending the
public morals." I did not ask him whether he considered peep-show sex
offensive to public morals. "So the true degenerates were swept up as they
are today in America or as they should be in any society. Of course the
concentration camps existed, so some of them got burned in the fire along
with everybody else. But it wasn't persecution of homosexuals as such, you

We were interrupted by the entrance of a new cruiser. He looked fourteen,
but must have been older, though IDs were not checked and there were more
youths in this sex arcade than one usually sees. I tagged him "the Dutch
Boy" because of his rosy cheeks, blond hair and a neat sailing cap. He wore
a long coat under which he appeared to be jerking off.

My ageing German broke off in mid-sentence to follow him around the circuit.
So did just about everybody else. I was reminded of the time I was being
interviewed by Randy Shilts at a Castro Street outside cafe. Shilts had just
asked me whether man/boy love was really a "gay" phenomenon, when two
georgeous fourteen-year-olds pranced by, creating a chorous of oohs and ahs
and turning every head in the place.

Dutch Boy was an enigma. He just stood there -- not looking at anyone, not
responding to the nods and glances of the varied patrons -- from tall, macho
blacks and willowy white teens to truck drivers in sweatshirts, older
bankers in business suits, and a couple of ageing faries in make-up and
semi-drag. Breaking the usual protocol, I asked him what he was looking for.

"I don't know."

"Are you gay, bisexual, or straight?"

"I don't know."

"Why are you standing here so long?"

"I don't know."

He sighed audibly and looked as if about to cry.

"Would you like to join me to watch a movie?" I finally found a definative
"No." By this time he was trembling visibly. Yet he smiled and became more
relaxed when we talked about non-sexual things. He obviously did want to
talk. He wasn't afraid of me; he was afraid of himself.

Today America's gay movement is proud of its achievements. There are a
handful of gay elected officials. Gay rights ordinances in twenty or thirty
jurisdictions make discrimination in these areas theoretically illegal.
There are gay institutions from churches to legal aid societies and health
clinics in addition to thousands of bars and other commercial
establishments. The gay market involves billions of dollars, eagerly sought
by upscale corporations.

Meanwhile, suicide among teenage boys -- many gay, most "sexually confused"
-- has skyrocketed and is the leading cause of death in that gender/age
group. Admission to mental hospitals for youth has also soared, and health
workers say sexual issues and drugs are the main reasons. Most chilling, the
number of gay men -- and even gay youth -- incarcerated for long periods for
sex -- is at an all-time high in the US.

This is part of a general trend not limited to homosexuals. Mental ilness,
especially depression, is at epidemic levels. The treatment de jour is
Prozac -- which incidently also keeps down erections for millions of boys
and men.

The US now imprisions more of its people than any other country -- counting
jails as well as prisons, about three million at any one time.
Overwhelmingly, these prisoners are young and male -- and a very high
percentage is either exclusively homosexual or bisexual in practice. About
one third of all prisoners are locked up for "sex crimes", according to the
Law Enforcement Administration in Washington. Given continuing rampant
homophobia (and the devaluing of woman "victims"), men accused of sex with
boys or men are liable to be arrested, convicted and sentenced to longer
sentences that thoses accused of acts with girls or women. A recent trend is
to add "youthful perpetrators" to the list of devils -- with thousands of
boys between seven and twenty-one arrested in 1993 for sexual "crimes"
including such outrages as mutual masturbation with boys a few years younger
than themselves.

Of course none of this has anything to do with gay rights! These people are
not being persecuted for "homosexuality as such." The 1994 federal crime
bill, which effectively raises the age of consent in many instances to
eighteen, which mandates public registration of all sex offenders, inviting
vigilante attacks; and which would even hound people who engage in
consensual sex abroad, was heartily endorsed by the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign Fund. So-called "child pornography"
laws, which call for lengthly prison time for mere possession of photographs
of nude (and in some cases even clothed) persons under eighteen, also have
nothing to do with gay rights, we are told. It is only an accident that
many, if not most, of those arrested under those statutes will be gay men.

And gay teen suicides? Why, right-wing Governor Weld of Massachusetts has a
whole gay/les bureaucracy to help gay youth fend off suicide! Yet the
Quislings who run it can't offer explicit sex-positive sex education.
Meanwhile, the AIDS panic and the child-sex panic combine to traumatize
"sexually confused youth" everywhere. When they sit in elementary and middle
school sessions which warn about the henious crimes of "adult and youthful
perpetrators" and urge vigilance and squealing on these "riff-raff," their
own sexual urges and behaviours are demonized and repressed. It is possibly
harder today to come to grips with one's sexuality, or merely to play around
with sex than it was for almost all previous generations. The psychic terror
is enormous.

The hypocricy and self-hatred of the former Hitler Youth and the confusion
of the modern "Dutch Boy" in the Nashville peeps are nothing new. Perhaps
one thing is new: the ghettoized definition of "gay," coupled with the
absolute taboo about childhood sexuality extending into adolescence, has
labeled every same-sex act "gay" and every youth-adult interaction "abuse."
What in previous generations would have been unselfconscious playfulness has
become the brand of the queer and/or the molester. It is a pity that these
trends are growing today, not receding, and that the gay community is so
poorly prepared by its so-called leaders for the coming right-wing

The good news is that youthful lust will find a way and that sexual energy
is both resilient and resourceful. Just as threats of God's wrath could not
keep the altar boys and the priests away from each other, so also the new
morality of social workers and therapists will eventually lose its force.
Maybe a good dose of the old-fashioned American family values will do the
trick to shock the liberals out of their new Puritanism; orphanages, after
all, were were far more hospital to cock-sucking than today's closely-
monitored classrooms and isolated nuclear families.


This first appeared as part of "The State of Gay Liberation," in the March,
1995 issue of The Guide.

Stephen Hopkins  PGP 2.6.3i (ID 0x3602A619): finger or
"It has been my hideous fate to be born with an infinite capacity for love &
joy with no hope of using them." T. H. White - bio by Sylvia Townsend Warner
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