KTVB “Cruises” back to 1955. . .

Jul 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Editorial, Featured Articles, Idaho, National, News

Photo by Milwaukee John

Cruising is not a Sex Act as KTVB Channel 7 recently reported. Cruising is an activity aimed at capturing the attention of someone of the same sex. It can lead to a sexual encounter, but it can also be a non-verbal way to communicate to others that they are not alone.

In the 1970s, gay men established a color-coded technique called the “hanky code” as a way to find a sexual encounter. Today, it is looked at as nostalgic since it has become mainstream.

Further back in time, certain word-phrases would be meaningless to heterosexuals, but would signal a possible encounter between gay men. Long before the Stonewall Bar riots, a simple question such as “Do you have the time?” would be a signal. Another was to ask someone if they are “a friend of Dorothy.”

The pre-AIDS era of anonymous sex with anyone, anyplace, and anytime has for the most part faded away. However, closeted gay men or men who to self-identify as heterosexual still seek out same-sex encounters.

The toe-tapping routine of former Sen. Larry Craig is pretty much considered old school, unless of course you’re fearful of being known as queer.

The information that KTVB Ch-7 disclosed about cruising techniques are considered laughable by many gay people today. But they still serve a purpose in places where being known or suspected as being gay is risky at best.

Channel 7 did its viewers and the LGBT community a disservice when it aired reporter Ysabel Bilbao’s piece that centered on a man who exposed himself to an undercover cop. This was a misdemeanor charge that amounted to, basically, a non-news story.

But because the location of the arrest had resulted in men being busted several years ago, KTVB saw an opportunity to make it into a “cruising for sex” story.

TheCruising is the consequence and a legacy of those living in a culture of fear where men have been beaten, jailed or killed if their same-sex orientation was divulged.

The dark days of 1955 was clearly illustrated in the book the “The Boys of Boise” where author John G. Gerassi describes witch hunts against suspected homosexuals being perpetrated by the police, the media, and judges.

The Idaho Daily Statesman (forerunner to The Idaho Statesman) ran the headline, THREE BOISE MEN ADMIT SEX CHARGES.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But when the local Boise media creates news by jumping on the arrest of a man who dropped his pants in front of a cop, then manufactures it into a “gay” fear story, the cold chill of 1955 comes back to haunt people here.

The local Boise media needs to just grow up.

Cruising Lesson (Part 1): Exposing ones self in pubic or having sex in a public place is not cruising. Cruising is the seeking of a clandestine liaison. Typically this occurs under the radar of others who might not be so inclined. Once a connection has been made, they leave the scene and go to a private location.

Cruising Lesson (Part 2): There is a cultural significance to cruising and how gay, bi, or men who self-identify as straight have historically found each other. Throughout history, and to a great extent even today, men interested in same-sex encounters must figure out ways to communicate with each other. KTVB would have viewers believe that this non-verbal form of communication is only about sex.

Related Story: KTVB Ch-7 misinforms with “cruising” sex story



PrideDEPOT.com editor, independent journalist & LGBT media spokesperson,
Jody May-Chang now writes on "As I See It...Reporting from the front lines

As I See It Jody May-Chang.com Reporting from the front lines


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  1. [...] Story: KTVB “Cruises” back to 1955. . . Tags: Boise, Gay Crusing, Gay Men, Greenbelt, Idaho, KTVB, Mark Johnson, NBC, Treasure Valley, [...]

  2. Jody – Thanks for reminding us of the draconian remnants of the Idaho “mainstream” media from 54 years ago. We all know that hatred is not a family value; what are we thinking will happen if we unearth the fear tactics of yesteryear. Just because America is experiencing a more “progressive” social order, doesn’t mean that red States need to become more “reactionary” in retaliation! What happened to “Idaho is too Great for Hate?”

  3. I was raised in the Eugene area of Oregon and then moved to the Vale area in 1974. In 1974 part of the reason my parents left was because they were becoming too liberal. My parents drove by LCC every now and again and make statement like “oh look at the fags” “they should be arrested” because they were holding hands on a sidewalk. When they would do that it broke my heart because I knew I was gay at 14.
    I have come out of the closet and had very dreadful and long conversations about being gay with my parents. I remember them changing over time to become the parents I needed when I was young.
    Reading this Makes my heart break for all the young kids out there who look a little too long at the “the others guys junk in the shower” or who falls in love with best male friend. To see such headlines may bring them to a state of fear and may make them feel rejected. These are the young men and women that become gay haters to hide their real Identity. I know because I was one for many years.
    I say shame on any public broadcast that would attempt to bring us back to a time of hunting gays on the streets out of fear and hatred. A great radio host once stated he thought there should be gay marriage because everyone should know joy of what it is like to pay alimony.
    With this I say shame on the Boise station that would ruin the reputation on some of the most forgiving and loving people on the planet.

  4. I didn’t know the difference, and I think the TV news people didn’t either. Not excusing their irresponsibility, rather writing to thank you for being here. You do great work, PrideDepot.com

  5. [...] Story: KTVB “Cruises” back to 1955. . . June 28th, 2009 in Local News Coverage, Boise Greenbelt “Sex Sting”, PrideDEPOT.com Articles | [...]