Jack Pollock
Sex in the Park

In early May, Portland Police received a complaint (one, that is) that gay men were meeting to have sex in the park. Concerned about so-called deviant behavior, predatory males and community safety at large, police have "stepped up their monitoring efforts" at the park, according to Asst. Chief Mark Paresi--which basically means that they just patrol more often (da-dum, da-dum, enter the theme from "Jaws"). As yet, there have not been any arrests.

Police say they are hoping to solve this problem "on a community level," meaning that they brought the problem to the attention of the Sexual Minorities Roundtable, an advisory group to the police consisting of--you guessed it--queers.

Always on the alert for the uneven hand of police brutality, the Mercury had questions: Are the police muscling in on gay territory? Are these gay men truly threatening public safety? Whose public are they serving anyway?

What did our crack reporting team discover? Mostly that, if this is the best place to have anonymous sex in town, then we really need to give those fags a lesson on how and where to fuck. The park--wide-open baseball fields, low cut grass--is lit to land a spaceship. For God's sake, men, mood setting: stick to the places where the sex is dark, fast, and dirty. Hide in bushes. Go in the shadows where the cops CAN'T see you. DO NOT, in any circumstances, sit in your car and masturbate! Shady looking men, with hard-ons, in cars, are not sexy. (Yes, we're talking to you, Mr. Macho Truck Driver). And, above all, no port-a-potties.
KATIA DUNN



Legal Briefs: Homocide

Proving that Americans don't have a monopoly on homophobia, a court in Zimbabwe sentenced their former president Canaan Banana (say that five times fast) to one year in jail on 11 counts of sodomy. Homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe.

In other news, last week, a Texas appeals court declared the state's sodomy law unconstitutional. Two Houston men were fined $500 in 1998 for having sex with each other. Texas has a sodomy law on its books since 1860; but since 1974 the "crime" was penalized only by fines (they didn't want those boys in their jails). In a 2-1 ruling (yes, some hillbilly judge voted to uphold the law!), the Court of Appeals said that the law violates equal protection guarantees.
PHIL BUSSE