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I think that men in small towns, especially those in traditional marriages and families, go to small-town bookstores and public places, or else travel to bathhouses or porn theaters in larger cities—Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Memphis, Dallas—to find what they're looking for. The Girls Who Use Grindr. Have any reviews popped up in places you wouldn't expect?

I've learned not to be surprised by anything. Military bases? Shopping center toilets in Guam or Manila? The man who wrote about taking his inch dildo to an adult bookstore and how he wanted to return with his Great Dane? I don't know if people are writing about factual experiences or the "true experiences" they wish they had, but generally you can tell from a pattern of reviews—just as with Yelp or whatever—what the character of a place is like.

I have vague memories of TV reporters using bathroom busts to stoke anti-gay hysteria during television sweeps week. Were you an active user of Cruising for Sex at the time? If so, what was it like to live through that?

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I had been using Cruising for Sex in the late 90s. I think we all understood that this type of publicity happened for ratings purposes, even before the site. How you behaved in a park or at a beach—I lived in San Diego County then—really involved having to have discretion and common sense anyhow, regardless of [whether it was] sweeps. This still goes on, although I don't know if it's specifically tied into the old Nielsen ratings periods or if there's some other criteria.

See the September 28, review , where TV reporters accompanied sheriff's deputies on a raid on a porn theater.

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This particular place has seen repeated raids and publicity, but it's unusual for reporters to be present at a raid. Given that cruising is older than civilization, do you think the site will survive in some form in perpetuity? I don't think we can forecast any site or particular media surviving in perpetuity, but I think this type information will still be created and disseminated and used.

Are there any listings that seem political, besides the Vatican? It hasn't had any reviews since then. I'm surprised no one has, shall we say, embroidered on that one. I've also deliberately kept a few [now-]closed places online on the site as part of documenting gay history. One example is the Bijou Theater in Chicago. Some men had shame, but many of us were often having the time of our lives, being transgressive, making our own rules, or simply breaking them all.

What do you think today's generation of gays misunderstand about the men who risked their lives to have sex in parks and toilet stalls? I'm not sure what the general consensus of younger gay men is, if there is one, but I imagine there might be a sense that the older generations were sort of hiding in shame when we did this. I'm 54, by the way. I remember Laud Humphrey's writings about the "Tearoom Trade," which was the generation before me.

The idea of having a difference between the "private self" and the "public self" seems old-fashioned these days, not just in sexuality but in so many parts of life.

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People broadcast themselves on social media now and have personal or intimate phone calls in public places, a genuine change from days past. Some men had shame, but many of us were often having the time of our lives, being transgressive, making our own rules, or simply breaking them all, although not necessarily all of the time. The shadows of that life provided a place for a lot of freedom and self-exploration, a "room of one's own" where you didn't have to identify or explain yourself or be some kind of example.

There were no cameras in every pocket and ceiling, and your acts could be as private as you wanted or on the edge of public display. I recall fucking someone at the edge of a park with a clear view across a canyon, and it was exciting, putting on a show where you were almost certain there was no audience.

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These days you might have more reason to wonder who or what was watching. In the late 90s, gay men looking for anonymous, public sex headed to CruisingforSex. I aimed to find out what, and to look for clues of a comeback.

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Today Bermudez is in his seventies and lives behind a colorful wall of flower beds in a quaint, antique-stuffed Cape Cod cottage with Bob Isadore, his husband and partner of plus years. But like many young men coming of age and coming out in the s, Bermudez once lived his life in the shadows. For most of the past century, gay bars largely remained underground. Many operated under the thumbs of mobsters, who paid off police to keep raids at bay and cash-dropping patrons drinking. From the start, Bermudez says, the bars offered refuge to a maligned minority beginning to test its social boundaries.

Dancing together was still illegal. To do so, especially under threat of police raids or beat-downs, was a political act. Then came Stonewall. Bermudez has the distinction of being one of a handful of living people who were inside at the time. Today, the clash is widely recognized as the first shots of the modern gay rights movement, and the Stonewall Inn is a national monument, the first designated specifically for its role in LGBT history.

Stonewall also kicked off decades of activism that saw bars emerge as thriving hubs of political and social advocacy, especially in Boston. Buddies closed in She held office in Massachusetts from to As the gay rights movement grew, agendas adapted. Milestone by milestone, the world slowly opened up to gay people—and one by one, the bars closed. Online Buddies would make a very bad gay bar.

Since its founding in , Manhunt has allowed 20 million users in countries to search for Mr. Right Now based on physical characteristics, kink-related criteria, and convenient geographic proximity. Office visitors expecting to find go-go boys dancing in the accounting department, however, would be sorely disappointed: Online Buddies looks much like any other major web developer. But he claims his critics miss a bigger point: Dating apps are the new singles bars for gay and straight folks alike, and especially for the younger generations. Eighty percent of the 1.

So what? Alon Rivel, director of global marketing for Online Buddies parent company of gay hookup site Manhunt. Even without the digital disruption, assimilation was already accelerating the decline of the gay bar scene, especially here in Massachusetts, which blazed ahead of the nation with legal rights and protections. Stepping into the light also means you can marry whomever you want. Some same-sex couples have always chosen to settle down in the suburbs and start families, but legal recognition of marriage—and the heteronormative values that were ballyhooed in the quest to attain it—probably spurred even more migration.

They went to larger places in J. Some of them wanted children. So as more LGBT people moved out of the city—or simply moved online—venues increasingly welcomed other crowds who could fill the fewer and fewer spaces left behind. Mainstream America, wrapped in pink feather boas, and carrying plenty of cash. The door of integration swings both ways, so as gay dollars left gay-specific spaces for mixed ones, straight dollars started rolling in like never before.

For spaces like this, which historically have been filled with gay folks, mixed crowds can be a blessing and a curse. They help keep the lights on, of course. But they can also come across as invasive, and drive out the already dwindling gay clientele in a destructive for the bars feedback loop. Brian McCook, a. Katya, a breakout star of that same hit VH1 reality show, once worked here. Now Katya gigs internationally, and Vice Media is producing a new show around her.

In other words, Boston is launching internationally famous drag stars, yet the scene still struggles to support consistent venues for homegrown performers who are working without the help of a TV contract. Michael Fay, who has performed in drag as Dusty Moorehead since age 17, is glad that drag art has attained greater appreciation and a higher profile.

The place is packed, and every eye is turned toward the overhead TVs. During commercial breaks, the place buzzes with chatter. But once the show starts, the hush is punctuated only by laughter and the sound of cocktails shaking. The first episode is uncharacteristically set in Washington, DC, and the show goes for timely political jabs. Despite his better judgment, Will, a gay lawyer, flirts with a conservative congressman. His best friend, Grace, an interior designer, is hired to give the Oval Office a makeover. In fact, an increase in business at gay bars may be one area in which Trump is actually helping the LGBT cause.

Veterans of the gay scene say the current conservative administration feels reminiscent of the Moral Majority era, and the changing climate is galvanizing renewed attachment to gay spaces, reinvigorating a certain kind of camaraderie, and reinforcing the need and desire for inclusive public spaces. According to a Boston Globe survey earlier this year, Boston Police stats show that LGBT people are the most frequently reported targets of hate crimes and bias incidents in the city—more than Muslims, Jews, Latinos, and Asians combined.

Partying also feels political again. I was there.

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It was spiritual, hours of arms held aloft in resolve and rebellion. We danced to prove we still would, and to exorcise demons of grief. At least for now, Boston still manages to support several full-time gay spots. In , Fritz Bar, a year old gay sports pub, transformed itself into the Trophy Room, an American brasserie with a bar scene that feels buzzier now than ever.