Will Sensitivity Training Make Palm Springs Cops More Gay-Friendly? Doubtful

Police in Palm Springs, Calif., will have to attend sensitivity training that teaches them appropriate interaction methods with LGBTs after cops arrested 24 men cruising for sex. What a silly solution for the real problem.

Enough already: Men cruising in public parks, that are open to families and kids, should be stamped out. Thirty years ago, it was more arguably an unfortunate necessity for gay men to find each other. These days, it’s unacceptable. But so too is the notion thees men should register as sex offenders, as prosecutors are trying to do, particularly when heterosexuals cited for the same violations have never faced such severe punishments.

And while it’s worthwhile for any police force to undergo sensitivity training when dealing with minorities, nothing will truly bring about change on the Palm Springs police force until Chief David Dominguez puts an end to raids on the gays, sends the message that derogatory language aimed at them is unacceptable — and the department starts hiring some queers. As it stands, in a city that’s a gay haven, only one lesbian cop sits on a roster of 99 cops; no gay men and, as we understand it, no trans or bi officers either.

The idea of sensitivity training, while admirable, is usually laughed off by anyone forced to go through it. It’s a chance to do crosswords and play Space Invaders. The message needs to come loud and clear from up above (with senior police leadership) and down below (with actual LGBT officers on the force).

Until then, we’ve got newspaper letter writer Barry Opdyke: “Let me see if I have this correct: The police force of Palm Springs has to attend “sensitivity” training because they targeted some gay men who were having sex in public. It seems to me that they were just doing there job by arresting individuals who were acting inappropriately and illegally in public. It seems to me the only people being insensitive here were the men who were exposing themselves and there inappropriate and illegal behavior to the public. Seems to me the “gay community” overreacted to these arrests. As a gay man, I welcome the actions of the Palm Springs Police Department in this matter.”

[SF Chron, Desert News]

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  • Kevin

    Did you ever consider the thought that there aren’t that many openly gay cops because openly gay people don’t apply for that job with anywhere near the same numbers as straight ones? It’s not like the department could just go out to a gay bar and force-deputize the first glitter-bound clubkid that they see…

  • RomanHans

    Huh? Gay people don’t apply for those jobs because they’re not crazy about going to work and finding “FAG!” spraypainted on their locker.

    As for those park arrests, I said it when a cop ticketed me for jaywalking after I left a gay bar at 3 am and I’ll say it again now: if cops don’t have anything better to do, it’s time to fire their asses.

  • Steve

    The police forces in almost all cities are “conservative” and usually “christian” institutions.

    There are few openly gay cops because so many straight cops are so openly prejudiced against gay people. Gay people are not recruited, are not granted licenses, and are not hired, and then if by some miracle they get through all of that, are openly harassed by the other cops.

    There are some towns were the cops are not openly prejudiced. There are some fair cops even in the bad towns. But, the stereotype of cops being prejudiced is, in my opinion, very well earned.

    This will change, after several things happen: The category “sexual orientation” is added to the list in the civil rights act; and, lawsuits cost a bunch of cities a few million bucks each. When discrimination costs the cities money, and costs some officers their jobs and badges, it will begin to stop.

  • Rob

    I live in Palm Springs part time and cannot stand to ride my bike through DeMuth Park only to see the cars parked with guys there waiting for a hook-up. Use the feccen internet dudes, that’s what it’s for! Public behavior of that nature should not be tolerated, however, it is conservatively estimated that 50% of home owners in PS are gay, so the police force make-up should be more reflective. We’ve had two gay mayors in a row for god sake.

  • Peter

    Gosh, gay cruising is so retro. I remember when you could not drive through several blocks of the Georgetown section of Washington DC Friday through Sunday or on any holidays, because everyone was out cruising.Eventually it grew to 7 days a week. Dumbartion Ave and N Streets, between 31st and 28th, were packed with the best looking guys from all over, “just out for a walk” until they made their connection. Of course, there was no public exposure going on, just walking until you found “MR Right” or “MR Right-Now.” I know several couples who met each other this way, and who have been together for many years. This was especially useful for guys who were not heavy drinkers and who did not like all the smoke in bars. The more closeted did not walk, but drove “The Block” until they caught the attention of their new friend. This went on daily during the summer, and began each day at sundown, lasting until 2 or 3 am. There was a period when Henry Kissinger lived on The Block, and everyone felt especially safe because of the protection posted nearby. It was a beautiful alternative to many of the seedier haunts to which gays were accustomed in those days.

  • Drake

    Georgetown DC’s “Block” was an incredible institution killed by AIDS. Let’s bring it back! (of course using safer sex). The excitement and electricity of this open cruising bazaar was a true phenoMENon. People used to rent apartments a short walk away so that they could roll out the front door and see who they could bring home for a tryst. Kew Gardens, just two blocks away, always had a mile long waiting list for renters who were looking for such convenience. Many high brow Georgetowners would also go out looking, and it was a fun and mysterious world to go home with them and see all the luxury and beautiful antiques. Members of Congress would drive around cruising in cars with tinted windows that they would roll down when they spotted “the one”. The Block was also a favorite of diplomats and World Bank types, who all claimed that “this is my first time”!

  • Zach



  • Michael

    This is OUTRAGEOUS!

    PALM SPRINGS IS *OUR* city! Not the bigoted hetros.

    All you stupid enough to believe these fraud cops don’t realize they are TARGETTING gays…they have video tapes of Palm Springs cops saying “let’s go get these cocksuckers!” and laughing.

    The Palm Springs police department is trying to jail as many gay men as possible simply for being gay. These gay men do not have sex in public. They are men who met offline for sex and met in public but were planning to take it into a private atmosphere. These homophobic, vile cops take them to jail for simply meeting.

    They are doing exactly what cops did in the 50s and this time they SHOULD NOT get away with it!

    The Palm Springs police department needs to be held accountable and I SINCERELY hope every single LGBT member in Palm Springs starts screaming! That is your city. Don’t let these foolish hetros think they can steal it from us.

  • Riley

    Who can we contact about this? this pisses me off as a former palm springs resident, who knows for a fact half that city, it’s investors, contributors all the way to city hall and mayors are gay, gay gay so this indeed is ridiculous. If they’re going to target gay public sex, they should do so with straight public sex which was ample in PS as well.

    please someone provide contact info of who to email regarding this matter

  • IononMusic

    The police did not observe anyone having sex in public. They entrapped the men, something police departments have a long history of doing to gay men, if you were really gay you would know that. The police wore tank tops and were drained by the department to “act gay” all while approaching gay men (which is roughly 40% of Palm Springs population) making a pass at them and then asking the gay men to “show their stuff”. Most all of them were reluctant to do so and many suggested to take it indoors but the COPS said “no, just show me your package” egging them on to show their stuff. As all the articles point out, straight people who do the same stuff, are not required to register as sex offenders and much less, are not even caught. Police in this city were instructed to act gay and go after gays….gay men who had spotless records, and who were provoked and all suggested not to have outdoors sex. Don’t be fooled by homophobia from this lazy, lousy police department.

  • IononMusic

    @Kevin: You’re an idiot. But worse; you’re a proud idiot. Get off our fort. This place is reserved for progressive homosexuals with brains, not ass-hats.

  • Ben

    @iononmusic – hahahaha – queerty a place for progressive people with brains – hahahahah….

  • Lane

    @Ben: Then whachya doing on here? Why do you homophobes bother coming on our sites and fixating on us? we couldnt give a sh*t you get cancer, divorce, die…lol is it cause our news stories are far more interesting and riveting than your tired FAKE GOD stories about religion? Exactly. Keep coming on here and giving us homos more hits which equals CHA CHING in the gay administrators pockets.

  • Kevin

    Never trust a cop. They’re just kis who were bullied in school and took this job (which requires eating donuts) to exert some power. They all have Napoleon complexes.

  • Ben

    hahahahahahaha blah blah blah haahahahha hahahahah – get a life……….

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