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NY Daily News tabloid gives gay-bashers a map

Published Aug 25, 2005 3:25 AM

Why did the New York Daily News run a full-page article on Aug. 16 about a New York City subway platform in an oppressed community that allegedly draws gay and bisexual men late at night?

The Daily News reported, “A Bronx subway platform has become a popular spot for gay men to have anonymous casual sexual encounters, the Daily News has learned.”

After naming the subway station and specifying exactly how far it was from the end of that particular line, the News added: “The cruising area is at the northern end of the long southbound platform. Anything goes, largely unnoticed—except to those in the know.”

If gay men do meet there, and this fact goes largely unnoticed by other subway riders, why did the Daily News feel all its readers should be “in the know”?

Since this article did not appear on the “singles” pages, it would be hard to argue that the newspaper is trying to help its gay and bisexual readership find sexual pleasure or companionship.

The tip-off grew clearer: “But the activity at the platform is more than a public lewdness issue; in this era of AIDS, casual sex can kill.”

Public lewdness: Didn’t the article report that the activity went largely unnoticed? Casual sex can kill: Is the Daily News really worried about the health of gay and bisexual men?

“In 2003, a Health Department survey showed just 45 percent of men used condoms when engaging in gay sex.” No mention here of the percentage of men who use condoms when engaging in heterosexual acts.

“The spread of AIDS led city officials to close gay bathhouses and spurred a public awareness campaign about the dangers of casual sex, especially among gay men.”

That’s the kicker. AIDS, long understood to have reached pandemic proportions around the world among people of all sexualities, nationalities and regions, is once again invoked as a “gay disease” in this sensationalized article.

If bigots follow the Daily News directions to the subway station and attempt to bash the men they find there—who are seeking each other out for consensual activities that went “largely unnoticed” before this full-page spread—will this tabloid’s headlines also exploit that news story it helped to whip up?