Bil broke the story earlier tonight that Larry Craig, a Republican Senator from Idaho, was arrested in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport in a men's room. He pleaded guilty, paid a $500 fine, and is serving a year's probation.
But what did Larry actually do? He fidgeted, put his bag down, tapped his foot, took a "wide stance", touched another man's foot, and waved his hand around. He just happened to do these things next to an undercover cop who appeared to be encouraging him (by waving his foot around as well and sitting in the stall for fifteen minutes without a paper or anything), a cop who was already looking to capture a fag, a cop who actually knows far more about trolling for sex with men in public restrooms than I do. This is all we know from the Roll Call story.
Sure, we can all speculate about what Larry was actually doing, in my book there's a 90% chance the officer was correct, and since this is a blog I'm sure that we'll all have some fun with that. But doesn't this seem like very little evidence and a whole lot of speculation on the part of the cop?
Sure, Larry pleaded guilty. I'm going to speculate that that's because he actually did want to get a little somethin' somethin' from the cop, felt like the state had a good case against him because of his guilty conscience, and wanted to make the whole thing go away.
If Larry Craig were anyone else, he probably would have just called the cop a liar with a dirty mind. Hell, that's what I was thinking when I read his words from the police statement in the Roll Call story: That's a signal for wanting sex? Really? And your "experience" tells you that people wanting public sex leave their bags in those positions? What sort of "experience" are we talking about here? It's not like police officers always tell the truth - they're probably about as honest as Senators. And there have been a few homophobic cops in history....
(Caveat: I've never had public sex nor do I have any desire to. I am also incredibly dense when people flirt with me. I was once in a boy's bedroom, alone, and he asked me what I thought about having sex with boys like him, and it took me a year and a half to figure out that he was hitting on me. Yup.)
But wanting the whole thing to go away, he pleaded guilty and gave the cop what he wanted and what he'll use when he's out to entrap someone else - vindication that standing and fidgeting mean that someone wants to have sex in a bathroom. Watch out, fidgeters.
And then there's his office's reaction to the story, that this is a case of "he said/he said". (Note to Larry Craig's chief of staff: don't let the guy who likes to quote from Queer as Folk answer the press about this sex scandal.) If we lived on another planet, the office of a conservative Republican from Idaho could have responded that Larry Craig is fighting for prosecutions relating to public sex to require multiple witnesses, instead of just the word of one police officer who could be motivated by Lord knows what, so that the public solicitation is actually public, for police to stop entrapment stings and instead focus on public sex that's actually happening without police encouragement, and for an end to homophobia, materialism, and sexophobia that motivate many men to seek this sort of sex.
Of course, after a statement like that, he'd never win another election in Idaho.
So we're left with a gay man who was picked up for soliciting public sex. The whole thing is sad - from the fact that he has spent a lifetime with his wife trying to maintain a public image of heterosexuality, including voting for anti-gay legislation, to the internalized homophobia that fueled his guilt and guilty plea instead of trying to fight the system, to the fact that he has a criminal record and might just lose his family, a family who I'm sure he loves, because of our fucked up culture that imagines swarms of men having sex in public, no, forcing men, not just men but children as well, to have sex in public so much so that the police is instructed to go into those public spaces, encourage that type of behavior, and then divine someone's motivations from a few gestures. If I were a bigger person, I might stop making fun of him.
But he's not, it's not, and I'm not, so I'm just going to try to laugh at Larry Craig's need for a "wide stance". Hmmmmmm..... I can't think of anything that you'd need that for!