Toronto Police Charge 65 Men In Major Public Sex Crackdown


Is this a reason to be outraged or a reason to be relieved? Toronto police have launched some sort of sting at Marie Curtis Park, and it’s hard to determine whether they’re targeting the real sex creeps or just any gay man who happens to flirt.

They’ve definitely arrested some people who should not have been doing what they were doing: a sex offender who exposed himself near children, some guys having sex alongside a public bike trail, another couple having sex in a car that was visible enough the police could see them.

Related: It’s OK, Mom. You Don’t Need To Understand Public Cruising.

But they also arrested a guy who was just naked, which seems borderline. (Legally, it’s not; Toronto prohibits nudity. But morally, just taking off your clothes to enjoy a nice day in the park doesn’t sound so bad.)

And then there are the other dozens of men arrested, about whom few details are available. This is a worry because police have historically gone after gay men in parks just for a wink and a hello. Many of the early LGBT civil rights organizations that formed in the 1970s existed to help gay men deal with potentially life-ruining arrests for something as innocent as a friendly word. It’s hard to tell if that’s what’s going on here.

Related: 12 Angry Men: When Public Cruising Goes Very Wrong

Anyway, neighbors are also getting more involved in the park now, with a cleanup scheduled and some community events. That’s swell. Parks should be for everyone. Including gay people.