Did San Francisco’s coroner’s office once lead seminars on S&M safety to gay men? According to a 1985 report written by the conservative group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the answer is yes.
The bizarre 12-page investigation, titled Homosexuals: Just Another Minority Group?, was originally discovered by the liberal watchdog group People for the American Way, and makes a number of outrageous and often comical claims about the gay community.
In the document, ALEC (not to be confused Mr. Baldwin) details six categories of gay people: “the blatant,” “the secret lifer,” “the desperate,” “the adjusted,” “the bisexual,” and “the situational.” (The “blatant” homosexual “is the obvious ‘limp-wristed’ individual who typifies stereotype of the ‘average’ homosexual.” Meanwhile, the “desperate” homosexual is known for frequenting “public restrooms, massage parlors, and bathhouses in his or her quest for immediate sex.” We consider ourselves a hybrid of those two categories. So maybe that makes us “blatantly desperate”? Or perhaps “desperately blatant”?)
The report also states that gay people speak in their own secret language: “The homosexual’s vocabulary is another part of their culture that separates them from the heterosexual mainstream.”
Uh-oh, they’re on to us!
The document then goes on to describe some of the lingo used by gay people in riveting detail: “For example, ‘cruising’ means to go out looking for sex, a ‘nellie’ is an effeminate man, a ‘butch’ is a virile one, and a ‘chicken hawk’ is an older homosexual that lusts after young boys.”
But the real kicker comes when the report links gay homicides in San Francisco with S&M accidents: “The city coroner of San Francisco conducts workshops for the homosexual community on S&M safety, or ‘how to engage in sado-masochistic sex without permanent damage.'”
We can’t help but ask: Why would a city coroner be leading sex workshops?
“These workshops,” the report continues, “were formed in response to statistics that report 10 percent of the city’s homicides are a result of S&M accidents among homosexuals.”
We’d be interested in seeing those long lost statistics… Almost as much as we’d be interested in attending the coroner’s “how to engage in sado-masochistic sex without permanent damage” safety class.
There might be something of a point to this.
Get yourself of copy of Robert Maplethorpe’s Pictures:
When I show this book around, the common reactions are shock, horror, disgust, and involuntary clutching of the genitals (and this among the most self-proclaimed sexually experienced). The photos cover knives, nails, blood, and scat, among the more pedestrian S&M subjects.
I understand that the models were not paid. Supposedly Mapplethorpe found them in local bars and photographed them in action on his expensive furniture.
San Francisco in the ’70s was a different world, and in the ’80s that world was locked in a desperate collapse.
…so, judging by our current prudish standards, this seems overblown. At the time, desperation was likely the mother of invention.
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