Monday, June 27, 2011

N. Ireland's New Gay Bathhouse;
San Fran Ban Still in Effect

Earlier this month, in Northern Ireland, of all places full of political and religious fanaticism hostile to homosexuals, a gay bathhouse (shown above) with private rooms was approved to operate. From the Derry Journal:

The Cage, which houses a sauna, steam room, cinema, sling room, dark rooms, private cubicles and cafe, has been at the centre of a storm of protest from several Protestant ministers since Belfast man Barry McGonigle proposed it for Derry last year. It has been operating since the start of the year without planning permission, which was approved this week.

Despite the green light local Baptist Minister Mark Bradfield, from the Bethel Baptist Church in Campsie, has vowed to protest on to make sure The Cage shuts its doors. ...

BTW, there is another bathhouse in Northern Ireland. It's called the Pipeworks and is located in central Belfast.

Since the mid 1980s, the self-proclaimed gay mecca of America and sometimes the world, San Francisco, has banned private spaces in commercial sex venues and enforced monitoring policies at gay sex clubs. In all of San Francisco's sex clubs, there are no doors and no right to privacy, the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision be damned.

No other American city that I'm aware of followed San Francisco's misguided gay bathhouse prohibition.

Around the Bay Area, the Steamworks bathhouse in Berkeley and the Watergarden club in San Jose, neither of which ever faced closure by public health officials or anti-sex advocates, are thriving and both heavily promote safe sex practices, offer lots of condoms and not only encourage testing for STDs and HIV, they provide testing services on site. The Watergarden, also hosts nude yoga sessions.

But Podunk San Francisco doesn't even debate the potential reopening of the bathhouses. Our gay elected officials, political clubs and AIDS Inc groups are happy with the prohibition in place. With so many gay leaders and activists pushing marriage, unnatural  monogamy and white picket fences, sexual freedom and liberation are not even on the stove top, forget about being on the back burner.

The owner of Northern Ireland's new gay bathhouse, which promotes sexual safety, Barry McGonigle, opined about those who oppose his venture, with words I long to hear from gay politicians here:

And he rejected criticism of the business. “It is a gay sauna. If any sexual encounters happen within the rooms it is between two consenting adults. It is simply a place for gay and bisexual men to meet and socialise.” ...

Why can't the San Francisco gay community, heck, the national gay movement too, push for both gay marriage and bathhouses? Not every queer wants to be partnered or get hitched and walk down the aisle. Let's have a gay agenda that embraces diverse relationships and sexual venues for adults.

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