Sex Work

Anger Rising over Federal Rentboy.com Bust

Manhattan's district attorney distances office from raid.

|

Those abs *should* be a crime.
Rentboy.com

Reaction to the Department of Homeland Security's Tuesday raid on Rentboy.com, a massive website for male escorts based in New York City, has not been immediate, but it has slowly been building throughout the week. The New York Times has noticed that several gay organizations are not exactly grateful to the federal government for shutting down a site that helped people connect for consensual (if paid for) erotic activities:

After federal authorities charged its top executives with promoting prostitution, seized the website and went after the business's assets on Tuesday, many gay activists were infuriated. The Transgender Law Center, a civil-rights group, criticized the arrests, as did some male sex workers. Several activists said they would use the episode to renew calls to decriminalize prostitution.

"To many in our community this feels like a throwback to when the police raided gay bars in the '50s and '60s," Justin Vivian Bond, a performer and an activist who is transgender, wrote in an email. "This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person," the activist added, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. …

Derrick De Lise, publisher of the online magazine Queer Voices, said the fact that the government went after a gay-escort website, without making mention of protecting sex workers, made it seem as though the site's gay affiliation attracted the government attention.

"With no rhetoric coming out of their press releases or statements about trafficking or concern with the sex workers, it doesn't match what is happening in other cases," he said. To him, he said, it seemed as if "yet another homophobic raid had occurred."

A handful of gay and transgender organizations have signed on to Amnesty International's call to decriminalize sex work. One of those groups, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, put out a statement reminding folks of its position and criticizing the raid:

"Like Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, and other medical and human rights organizations, NCLR strongly opposes criminal prosecution of sex work by adults.  Experience and evidence have shown that criminalization serves only to make those who are vulnerable to harms associated with sex work even more vulnerable. The criminal charges against Rentboy.com by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are misguided and a terrible waste of resources.  We are especially concerned about the negative impact on LGBT individuals who have been driven to sex work after being rejected by their families and experiencing other types of discrimination.  NCLR strongly recommends that the federal government adopt a strategy aimed at providing essential supports – education, jobs, housing – to LGBT youth and adults who have been marginalized by these serious harms."

When I responded initially to the raid on Tuesday, I mentioned the struggles of some gay men to find any sort of erotic connection because of age, location, kink, or any number of other reasons. A sex worker who advertised on Rentboy.com backed up my analysis based on his own experiences as an escort to website Gothamist:

As Leo explained, sex work "is mostly emotional labor. You're being a companion for someone, you're listening to them…things I did before kind of in social work, but with sex on top of it, sometimes but not always."

Referring to an interview where Rentboy's Sean Van Sant described escorts as "sexual therapists," a description cited in the criminal complaint against him, Leo said, "I think that [description is] accurate. A lot of these [johns] are people who otherwise have no one to be with this way, no one to share their feelings with."

In an interesting urban political development, it appears Manhattan's District Attorney, Cy Vance, wants nothing to do with this raid that happened in his backyard. According to Gay City News, Vance has asked for his office to be removed from the Department of Justice press release promoting the raid:

The press office for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance first notified Gay City News that it had been removed from the release via email on August 26. That office sent a second email and left a phone message about the edited press release on August 27. The press office otherwise declined to comment.

NEXT: The constitutional debate over birthright citizenship

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Derrick De Lise, publisher of the online magazine Queer Voices, said the fact that the government went after a gay-escort website, without making mention of protecting sex workers, made it seem as though the site’s gay affiliation attracted the government attention.”

    “With no rhetoric coming out of their press releases or statements about trafficking or concern with the sex workers, it doesn’t match what is happening in other cases,” he said. To him, he said, it seemed as if “yet another homophobic raid had occurred.”

    LOL, if they’d fucked over the site’s owners and all the consensual prostitutes who were helped by the site and then claimed it was for the hookers’ own good, that would have been okay. So long as you pay lipservice to helping with people, you can completely destroy their lives and all complaints are rendered meaningless.

    Derrick – stop being a little statist lap dog, buddy. They didn’t shut down the site because of its gay affiliation, they shut it down because they’re government officials with a hard-on for a major bust. Come over to the dark side and stop thinking like a naive leftist.

    And trust me, you don’t want people to treat gay prostitutes like they treat the female kind because that would involve a great deal of rape from cops and paternalistic condescension from C-list Hollywood actresses.

    1. If there’s an upside, hopefully the US Attorney who dreamed this thing up will get some political blowback.

      and i really cant’ write anything about this topic without stumbling into sexual innuendo.

      1. I expect it to be smothered in “meh” within a week or two. People will fixate on the illegal part of the situation w/o ever pondering the whys of it and then move on to the next shiny object. Maybe NYC will be shock me, but it seems whenever the government has the “yeah, but it’s illegal” fig leaf it’s nearly impossible to sustain public anger long enough to effect change.

        1. I expect it to be smothered in “meh”

          See? its impossible.

          “it seems whenever the government has the “yeah, but it’s illegal” fig leaf it’s nearly impossible to sustain public anger'”

          yeah. But this has the (acknowledged) double-standard working on *its behalf* in ways that are atypical.

          meaning, i think the recent Hollywood bullshit-activist-opposition to sex-work legalization might suddenly find itself exceedingly unpopular with a larger audience. When it was just a hetero thing, most people were happy to not think about the ‘persecution’ of sex-workers. But now that its affecting the so-called ‘protected classes’… it might cause some to rethink the entire issue in ways that were not possible before.

          1. I hope so. It is NYC so it has a microphone. If anyplace is going to make the needle move I guess it could be there.

          2. The people who historically got fucked by prostitution stings were disproportionately black and hispanic though, and that never made them care about them.

            1. True, but there is one element that hetero prostitution busts have that this one doesn’t–poor, defiled women. No one cares that the male escorts have many dicks in them. So you won’t have as much of the white knight effect among those who support the law enforcement’s side.

    2. And trust me, you don’t want people to treat gay prostitutes like they treat the female kind

      And end up as washermen?

  2. PAGING JOHN…. PAGING JOHN….. WE HAVE “PROTECTED CLASS” WIELDING ITS GAY-MUSCLE…. NEED SOME DOUBLE-STANDARDS GRIPING, STAT…..

    1. I hadn’t taken you for a masochist, GILMORE.

    2. I can answer that call, but unlike John, I’ve supported gay rights for more than decade ’round here. And I have more questions than answers.

      Can someone explain to me why raiding a gay hookup site is better or worse than shutting down a site that, say, matches buyers and sellers of cannabis?

      Are gay rights activists even aware of the concept of universal rights–or is it all about pro-gay rights violations good/anti-gay violations bad to them?

      To what extent do gay people skew progressive, and to what extent does that reflect an open hostility to individual rights and the right of individuals to make choices for themselves (choices that may not accommodate gay people)?

      You know, there’s a big difference between neo-Nazis and the gay rights lobby, but I support the right of neo-Nazis to choose for themselves what they say. That doesn’t mean I’m on the side of neo-Nazis, though; in fact, I denounce the sick bastards every chance I get because of their hostility to individual rights.

      I support the right of gay people to get married, too, but that doesn’t mean I’m on the side of the LGBT lobby–certainly not if they’re openly hostile to other people’s individual rights. Know what I’m sayin’? And what I generally see coming from the gay lobby often includes open hostility to the individual rights of anyone who gets in their way.

      1. I don’t know that it’s better or worse…The gay rights movement has gone through several iterations in the past hundred years. The last cycle was focused primarily on marriage and by extension respectability. Before that it was visibility (sodomy laws, AIDS crisis, physical assault), before even that it was respectability (mostly in response to job purges in the early Cold War), and before that it was pure “not getting killed by Germans”.

        In the run up to the marriage fight activists wanted all eyes on happy heteronormative couples. Sex workers, cruisers, people hooking up were sometimes intentionally and sometimes subconsciously swept under the rug.

        Post SSM there’s room to direct remaining political capital and donor funds to new issues, and this is making itself available to latch onto. I think that’s a particularly good thing. Addressing sex work in a context where “trafficking” is harder to use to obfuscate the issue could be huge, BUT I see people already lining up to bitch about how the homos should’ve already been on this, or that as Johnny-come-latelies they’re involvement is somehow sub-par.

        Gay rights activists have decades of trying to change or litigate against vice enforcement, so these people can fuck right off because it seems like no matter what gay rights activists do people on this forum are gonna harrumph about how it’s the wrong thing.

        1. I will be the first to admit I don’t have the pulse of the gay activist movement, but I’m skeptical that they would en masse be ready to mortgage the hard-won mainstream respectability they’ve been building for the last couple of decades for the sake of a practice that most middle-american squares see as deviant.

          But I would love to be wrong, and would cheer if gay activists were the ones who finally got some traction on legalizing prostitution.

          1. I don’t think gay activists will be as effective at keeping a unified front as they were when gay marriage was an explicit and clear goal. It’s not that non-respectable causes disappeared, but with a clear and achievable goal people were willing to grouse privately about it because it would be a distraction.

            I’m not sure respectability is necessarily all that important anymore. Not saying I think there aren’t plenty of wholesome, respectable, gays and lesbians out there…some of the most boring couples I know are gay. I just don’t think it’s important to project it so hard.

            I really don’t know what’s next, I do know that I’m already tired of how unwinnable this is with H&R commenters, just look Scott’s first article about it. “OH LOOK, NOW SCOTT CARES CAUSE HOMOS.” showed up over and over and over. NO FUCKING SHIT HOMOS ARE HIS BEAT, SEX WORK IS ENB’S BEAT. People at gay rights orgs do other stuff than office work at gay rights orgs. It’s a misuse of their donations to agitate for things that are not GAY RIGHTS. What the fuck do people fucking want?

            I stopped donating to EQCA when they called me and said something about something other than defeating prop 8. That’s not what I’m donating money for. I don’t money to other charities for those reasons.

            1. Dude, haven’t you figured it out yet? Everything is unwinnable with H&Runners;.

            2. I for one would like to know why all of a sudden Shackford is interested in the oppressive state after years of silence from him on the topic. Just because of the same-sex aspect? That seems opportunistic, and, quite frankly, a little misogynistic, taking work away from the regular sex work contributor here at Reason who is a female.

              1. Where have you been hiding that you think Shackford has never been against the oppressive State? Years of silence because you thought he was gay rights only and didn’t read anything else? If anything, he has been reliably anti-State especially when it went against the stereotyped gay agenda, such as hating on enforced cake baking.

                Or maybe my sarcasm meter is out of whack.

        2. “Gay rights activists have decades of trying to change or litigate against vice enforcement, so these people can fuck right off because it seems like no matter what gay rights activists do people on this forum are gonna harrumph about how it’s the wrong thing.”

          I’m only opposed to gay rights activists when they’re doing the wrong thing, which seems to be most of the time.

          Like I said:

          “To what extent do gay people skew progressive, and to what extent does that reflect an open hostility to individual rights and the right of individuals to make choices for themselves (choices that may not accommodate gay people)?”

          It still seems to me that gay activists are all but universally hostile to individual rights–although I could be disabused of that notion if someone provided some evidence to the contrary.

          All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that the gay lobby continues to be overwhelmingly hostile to individual rights, and while that isn’t enough for me to support government discrimination against them in the granting of marriage licenses or for anything else, as long as they continue to be hostile to other people’s individual rights, they can all go screw themselves as far as I’m concerned.

          Hostility to individual rights, isn’t that what it means to be anti-libertarian?

          1. t still seems to me that gay activists are all but universally hostile to individual rights–although I could be disabused of that notion if someone provided some evidence to the contrary.

            Actually, you can’t be. That position tells me that even if I plopped down a bunch of evidence it would go in the “all but” category.

            It really doesn’t fucking matter what they do because even where libertarians and gay activists align on an issue the people on this site would rather jerk off about purity of motivations and watch the issue fail to gain any kind of coalition or traction. So, pretty much like every issue people on this site claim to care about.

            1. It isn’t about purity of motivations. It’s about outright hostility to other people’s rights.

              For cryin’ out loud–do you or don’t you think that First Amendment free exercise rights mean that Christian fundamentalists should be free to pass on baking cakes for gay weddings?

              Do you or don’t you support the government coercing Christian fundamentalists into violating their religious convictions?

              Meanwhile, to what extent to you suppose the gay rights lobby contributes to anti-liberty, pro-progressive policies in Sacramento and elsewhere in California?

              Why do cities like San Francisco that, for all practical purposes, are run by gay activists try to ban everything from happy meals to circumcision?

              http://www.sfweekly.com/sanfra…..id=2180259

              1. Is it wrong to suspect that gay people skew progressive? When I think of local governments committed to making people free to make choices for themselves, I don’t think of San Francisco, The People’s Republic of Santa Monica, West Hollywood, or any other gay enclave in the world. How do you imagine the progressives in those prominently gay areas feel about gun rights, rent control, hate speech, and fiscal conservatism?

                Why should I pretend that they’re not generally hostile to individual rights if they are? If they’re progressives, well, isn’t wanting to use the coercive power of government to force individuals to make sacrifices of their rights, etc. for the “greater good” (as they see it) what being a progressive is all about?

                Maybe one of the reasons gay activists aren’t seen as doing much that’s right by libertarians on this board is because gay activists are generally hostile to individual rights.

              2. I dunno Ken. I find it funny that San Francisco gays actually skewed heavily pro-small business Republican until Anita Bryant yanked the Republicans toward Big P Progressive prudery and interference in people’s personal lives and alienated the fuck out of them. Just as people were dipping their toes in the Republican water again GWB one an election at least partly on passing a constitutional amendment on homos.

                There are a lot of essentially conservative gays running around who identify as Democrats by default because they literally feel like they have no political home anywhere else. And as I’ve mentioned before the funniest thing in the world was sitting in a hot tub with a bunch of gay guys from all over the country and having the one from SF say that he thought Elizabeth Warren was just AMAZING and have the rest of them (mostly small business owners themselves) give him fabulous death stares.

                SF is full of progressives. Full fucking stop. It’s mecca for progressives and any friends I have from there regardless of sexual orientation are progressives (except an ex, who is pretty classically socially liberal/fiscally conservative and made a point of living outside of the city).

                You could probably net a lot of libertarian gays if you could convince them that we weren’t just crazier republicans with ranks of yokels who talk about how excited they’ll be to see their gay political enemies swing from the gibbet some day (which has happened here), or (…cont)

                1. Or as one of the commenters here did, jumping over to a gay website and telling someone there that as a libertarian he hoped they developed kaposi sarcoma (which is the famous lesions associated with AIDS).

                  1. That’s totally fucked up, who was it.

                2. There are a lot of essentially conservative gays running around who identify as Democrats by default because they literally feel like they have no political home anywhere else.

                  That’s regrettable and understandable. What isn’t understandable is why so many gay activists (as opposed to gay people) are not just democrats but hard core progressive-socialists. It would be great if they were sane centrists pulling the dems back from leftwing insanity. I haven’t seen any evidence of that and plenty of the opposite.

                  1. What isn’t understandable is why so many gay activists (as opposed to gay people) are not just democrats but hard core progressive-socialists.

                    I agree. I find the disconnect extremely odd because at least in my person experience (excluding friends in SF) the gay people I meet in the wild tend to be center left with a pro-business, leave me alone impulse whereas the activists are reliably prog bots.

                    I really don’t have a good explanation for it, and I find it deeply frustrating. I assume that the people who get really into politics are looking to stick it to really conservative parents, but I have no way of proving that, so it’s just armchair psychologizing on my part.

                3. “SF is full of progressives. Full fucking stop. It’s mecca for progressives and any friends I have from there regardless of sexual orientation are progressives (except an ex, who is pretty classically socially liberal/fiscally conservative and made a point of living outside of the city).”

                  It isn’t just San Francisco.

                  It’s also West Hollywood, Dupont Circle, and Chelsea in NYC, too.

                  Isn’t that right?

                  1. Look Ken, I grew up in a household that was massively socon Republican. The fact that I didn’t take up a political at direct odds with them for spite’s sake amazes even me. My home was literally flooded with anti-gay propaganda and that got worse after I came out.

                    The rest of what I said still explains that trend. We know moving into conservative areas will get our homes vandalized by redneck neighbors. You probably don’t see it because you don’t care but it’s basically a weekly occurrence. If conservatives don’t want you living around them, where are you going to move, Ken? You’re going to move in with liberals. It isn’t that gays are somehow naturally bent progressive, it’s that gay ghettos are going to be in liberal areas by necessity. Unfortunately living in close proximity to people who already buy into an ideology tends to make that seem more normal by comparison. This isn’t hard logic.

            2. It really doesn’t fucking matter what they do because even where libertarians and gay activists align on an issue the people on this site would rather jerk off about purity of motivations and watch the issue fail to gain any kind of coalition or traction.

              Libertarianism, to a lot of libertarians, is a cult not political movement.

    3. *GILMORE*|8.27.15 @ 9:59PM|#
      “PAGING JOHN…. PAGING JOHN”

      Yep, off the deep end.
      I used to have some discussions, but his fag-fear is entirely too much to deal with.

      1. John’s socon roots show when he’s talking about gay marriage, but he’s a lot more libertarian than he used to be–and I’m sure that has to do with our engaging with him here.

        If he can intellectually overcome the more homophobic strains in his thinking most of the time, that’s probably to his credit. It isn’t easy to overcome that kind of socially conservative background, and given how socially conservative I gather his background may be, he’s probably come a longer way than the rest of us might be able to on some other issue.

  3. This raid was totally gay.

  4. I’m just glad to see that all prostitution will now be treated differently from hereon out after the federal government fucked with a politically influential group.

  5. “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community…”

    That statement read like they’re screaming, “Do you know who the fuck I am?!”

    Don’t the cops realize that LGBT is a protected class?!

    That seems to be their real complaint.

    Violations of our right to make choices for ourselves, that’s only supposed to happen to Christians, gun rights people, blacks, cannabis users, and other unprotected classes.

    The only right we really have is the right to make choices for ourselves. I stood up for the right of gay people to choose whom they want to marry–because I want the right to make choices for myself. It’s about time gay people started checking their privileges.

    Why do companies give insurance benefits to unmarried same sex couples in states where gay marriage is legal–and effectively discriminate against heterosexual couples by denying them the same benefits?

    Why should gay hookup sites be treated differently than similar websites that cater to other people?

    The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

    1. Hm. There are most definitely some quoted in this article who fit the bill here, but there are LGBT groups quoted railing against the criminalization of prostitution in general and supporting efforts to get rid of it.

      So, yea, there are hypocrites making this into some form of special pleading here. But there are groups who, at least from this article, seem to agree with the libertarian position and that makes them people you can work with.

    2. That statement read like they’re screaming, “Do you know who the fuck I am?!”

      Don’t the cops realize that LGBT is a protected class?!

      That seems to be their real complaint.

      I didn’t read it that way at all Ken. Seems these groups should be allies in making prostitution legal.

      1. “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community…”

        Then why is the fact that the site was run for and by members of the LGBT community of note here?

        Would raiding the site have been any less wrong if the site were run for and by heterosexuals?

        What was the point of that statement?

        1. This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person,”

          Quote the whole fucking sentence, Ken.

          1. Because, you know, he TELLS you the point of that statement right after the ellipses you conveniently put in.

            1. So it would be ok to shut down the website if their were more gay bars in NYC?

            2. “Because, you know, he TELLS you the point of that statement right after the ellipses you conveniently put in.”

              The whole statement is right there for anyone to read. I wasn’t quoting it from some other site.

              “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person”.

              You’re not suggesting that he’s really upset about gentrification and Giuliani closing clubs back in the ’90s, are you? That was all about the war on ecstasy and GHB.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05…..rmits.html

              And even if gentrification and Giuliani shutting down rave venues really were just because the patrons were gay–why wouldn’t that mean, once again, that this guy is claiming that gay people should have some kind of special privilege? I used to work checking IDs on the way into a club that wasn’t especially gay back in the day–and we were scared shitless of our neighbors’ complaining about our patrons, too. What makes LGBT clubs so special that they should be immune?

              1. His complaint is that they’re targeting LGBT by targeting this site. That’s what he’s saying when he emphasizes that the site was run “for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community”. He’s saying that they should be immune to this kind of prosecution and harassment because they’re LGBT. It’s the only way to read it! Why can’t it just mean what he said?

                And like I said, that’s pretty emblematic of what I see from the gay community. You’ve got gay friends? I’ve got gay friends, too. And the idea that the LGBT community is an entitled class seems to be pervasive within the community, and this guy’s statement to that effect is fairly emblematic of that attitude. How dare the NYPD treat us like…PLEBEIANS?!

                I’d love to stand shoulder to shoulder with the gay community for the individual rights of everyone to do as they please so long as they aren’t violating someone else’s rights. Unfortunately, gay activists appear to be almost universally hostile to the idea that other people should be free to do as they please–and entirely enamored of the idea that the government should make the gay community a privileged and protected class. That hostility to other people’s rights translates into support for everything from First Amendment busting public accommodation and hate crime laws to generalized support for violating the individual rights of whomever the progressives are persecuting this month.

                1. Glad the government will need to stop discriminating against gay people in the granting of marriage licenses soon. Hope you don’t think having been discriminated against in the past makes you imagine that libertarians like me are going to support gay activists no matter what they advocate–just because they’re gay.

                  It doesn’t work that way.

              2. I don’t think that’s what he means by gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations.

                NYC isn’t really my area of expertise but gay neighborhoods have frequently been shitty neighborhoods that rapidly improve when gays move in rapidly pricing out the people who originally improved it/made it interesting and worthwhile. It’s probably also why historically gay neighborhoods seem to be heavily focused on rent control (which always struck me as an oddly common thing).

                I find your focus on GHB and ecstasy frankly weird. Giuliani is known for having made NYC a “cleaner” more “family friendly”. You see people complain all the time about how NY lost it’s character because of Giuliani’s tough on crime policies, which I think is generally dumb, NYC is cleaner and safer than it was before, but seedy gay bars, public cruising venues, sex shops and places where people engaged in the buying and selling of sex were massively impacted by the policy of cleaning up NYC.

                1. Did you see the link I posted?

                  “The Giuliani administration has been trying to close Twilo since at least November 1998, when the city, citing the drug overdose of a patron, filed a lawsuit declaring the club a public nuisance. City officials contend that clubs like Twilo and the Tunnel, another West 27th Street establishment, do not do enough to prevent the use and sale of drugs like ecstasy and GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate.

                  But the clubs have just as vehemently responded that they are doing their part, hiring private security officers, including some who work undercover, to try to prevent drug use and violence. Mr. Sullivan said the fact that the state courts have allowed Twilo to stay open despite the lawsuit was proof that the club was well managed and dedicated to preventing drug sales.

                  City officials, meanwhile, said that the evidence of the severity of the drug problem at Twilo is on display when the club is open: management hires a private ambulance to wait outside, ready to take patrons who have overdosed to hospital emergency rooms.”

                  —-New York Times, May 7, 2001

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05…..rmits.html

                  It was about ecstasy and GHB. That isn’t weird on my part. That’s what Giuliani and Bloomberg’s persecution of those clubs was about. Not that they were gay.

                  1. And why would being gay make a privileged group of people immune to the injustices of the drug war? What, did you think the drug war was just supposed to be about busting blacks and Puerto Ricans?

                    Well surprise, surprise! That’s the broken windows theory of libertarianism. Turns out injustices against any of us eventually hurt all of us. Why wouldn’t they? What makes gay people a special class? Do they or don’t they support progressive coercion by the state because they imagine they’re immune to its ill effects–as a part of a special class?

                    1. And why would being gay make a privileged group of people immune to the injustices of the drug war? What, did you think the drug war was just supposed to be about busting blacks and Puerto Ricans?

                      Fuck off, Ken. You’re cherry picking Giuliani’s legacy and then trying to paint me a racist or something because you’re too stupid to know anything about NY history. Seriously, Fuck. Right. Off.

                    2. “You’re cherry picking Giuliani’s legacy and then trying to paint me a racist or something because you’re too stupid to know anything about NY history”

                      I didn’t cherry pick anything.

                      I posted a link.

                      Jesus.

                      “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person”.”

                      When he’s talking about Giuliani and Bloomberg driving the gay bars out of business, that’s what he’s talking about. And it wasn’t just those bars mentioned in that one article. There were plenty of others. The article makes reference to them. Go look the others up yourself. That war against club drugs went back to the mid 1990s. The article I linked was published in 2001.

                      And the bars weren’t targeted because they were gay bars. They were targeted as part of the war on drugs–specifically in relation to ecstasy and GHB.

                    3. “And why would being gay make a privileged group of people immune to the injustices of the drug war? What, did you think the drug war was just supposed to be about busting blacks and Puerto Ricans?”

                      And that ‘you’ I wrote in, “What did [you] think the drug war was just supposed to be about busting blacks and Puerto Ricans?” could only maybe be reasonably interpreted as second person plural or (more obviously) directed specifically against the guy that was complaining about gay bars being shut down in the drug war–and thought they should be excluded from the prosecution of the drug war specifically becasue they were gay bars.

                      Again, that’s exactly the kind of gay privilege to which the gay community seems to think it’s entitled. Is it okay to close non-gay bars because of the drug war? Why are gay bars supposed to be afforded some special privilege exemption from the drug war? Because they’re gay bars?!

                      Of course, if that slipper fits, Princess, feel free to wear it personally if you want! IF IF IF you tolerate the drug war so long as it doesn’t impact gay bars–and only targets blacks and Puerto Ricans–then fuck you, too. You’re part of the problem.

                    4. “Again, that’s exactly the kind of gay privilege to which the gay community seems to think it’s entitled. Is it okay to close non-gay bars because of the drug war? Why are gay bars supposed to be afforded some special privilege exemption from the drug war? Because they’re gay bars?!”

                      And doesn’t that seem to be a common thread in all the individual rights issues disproportionately gay progressives line up against?

                      They’re not fundamentalist Christians, so they don’t care about the rights of fundamentalist Christians.

                      They’re not gun owners, so they don’t care about the rights of gun owners.

                      They’re not buying many happy meals for their children, so they don’t care about people being free to buy happy meals for their children.

                      They’re not having many children, so they don’t care about the rights of parents who want to circumcise their kids.

                      I care about the right to make choices for myself, so I stand up for the right of gay people to get married–you see the difference between gay activists and me yet?

                    5. And I don’t even think standing up for other people’s rights is unusual. I bet there are a hundred million Americans who think that neo-Nazis should have their right to free speech protected. And there sure as hell aren’t a hundred million neo-Nazis in this country. I bet there are a hundred million Americans who think that convicted child molesters should have their right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment respected, too.

                      I bet there are a hundred million Americans who think that accused arsonists have a right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, a right to a jury trial, legal representation, and the right not to be forced to testify against themselves.

                      And very few Americans are themselves accused arsonists.

                      Standing up for the rights of other people isn’t unusual. It isn’t uniquely libertarian either. Gay activists imagining that they’re a protected class with unusual privileges that place them outside the reach of injustice–an idea that lends itself to them being openly hostile to the individual rights of other people in their mistaken belief that using the government to perpetrate injustice against other people can’t possibly turn around and harm them in their protected status?

                      That’s unusual. And woefully unlibertarian.

                    6. Of course, if that slipper fits, Princess, feel free to wear it personally if you want! IF IF IF you tolerate the drug war so long as it doesn’t impact gay bars–and only targets blacks and Puerto Ricans–then fuck you, too. You’re part of the problem.

                      Princess, really?

                      You’re reading something into what I’m saying that’s not there and painting that thing that isn’t there as emblematic of the entitlement you see in gay groups. Having read your comments for years I expected better than the mind reading that commenters like John and mad.casual claim to be capable of, but now you can go in the ignore box with them.

                    7. “Fuck off, Ken….Fuck. Right. Off.”

                      Yeah, it’s just horrifying that someone might respond to that–don’t I know they’re a privileged class?!

                      We shouldn’t even respond like that after they’ve falsely accused us of painting them as racists and telling us to fuck off and die?

                      They’re not privileged, and I’m not obliged to carry their water for them. Get over it.

                  2. Yes. I saw your link, Ken. I’m just wondering why you think Giuliani’s overall policy of “cleaning up New York” started and stopped with these two clubs or with GHB. It’s well documented that he had a broad agenda of strong-arming “unwholesome” businesses out of business and cleaning up seedier neighborhods. Every sex shop within a few blocks of Times Square wasn’t selling GHB…

                    1. I’m just wondering why you think Giuliani’s overall policy of “cleaning up New York” started and stopped with these two clubs or with GHB.

                      I didn’t say that.

                      He did close those rave venues because of the open air drug dealing however. The article says so.

                      It says so in the articles I linked from the time.

                      You don’t care if I link it.

                      You don’t care if quote it and link it.

                      It was just one example, but it is an example.

                      Giuliani’s going after drug dealing in public was a huge part his “quality of life” campaign.

                      http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03…..enses.html

                      http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08…..-life.html

                      He shut down Sound Factory and other clubs, too. It was about shutting down drug deals in public.

                    2. I didn’t say that.

                      Yes, Ken, you did.

                      You’re not suggesting that he’s really upset about gentrification and Giuliani closing clubs back in the ’90s, are you? That was all about the war on ecstasy and GHB.

                      When I pointed out that I was talking about gay spaces more generally being priced out because of gentrification and other gay spaces in NYC like sex shops and cruising locations being strong-armed out of existence by Giuliani’s policies, you kept responding with those particular clubs being closed down and you’re continuing to do it in this current response. I’m not arguing that the war on drugs wasn’t part of Giuliani’s policies, but a lot of gay spaces were in “undesirable” parts of town and the results of Giuliani’s policies were a loss of a gay space and a move to have more of these interactions online. Which seems to be what the rest of the quote is saying and which you don’t want to be the case because then your whole THIS IS JUST LGBT ENTITLEMENT LOOK AT THIS ENTITLED QUOTE falls apart and you seem pretty goddamned invested in that view.

                    3. “You’re not suggesting that he’s really upset about gentrification and Giuliani closing clubs back in the ’90s, are you? That was all about the war on ecstasy and GHB.”

                      The closing of those clubs was about the open drug dealing of GHB and ecstasy.

                      “I’m just wondering why you think Giuliani’s overall policy of “cleaning up New York” started and stopped with these two clubs or with GHB.”

                      But I didn’t say Guiliani’s overall policy of cleaning up New York started and stopped with two clubs and GHB.

                      You’re being willfully obtuse–like Tulpa. You’re acting like Tulpa. Stop acting like Tulpa.

      2. “Seems these groups should be allies in making prostitution legal.”

        THIS!! Maybe gays can be the ‘tip of the spear’ needed in the battle to legalize prostitution. And maybe some people will start to think more broadly about individual rights rather than group identities.

  6. And gayest alt text ever featured on Reason?

  7. Scott,
    I really wish you well with this, and I’m sure you know Starchild and knew Peter McWilliams, both eloquent voices promoting libertarianism among gays!
    And you see exactly how much effect those guys have had.
    Good luck; maybe this time some minds will change, but that ol’ ‘free shit’ is hard to beat.

    1. Legalizing prostitution doesn’t have to be a strictly libertarian issue. There are pretty clear appeals to be made to both major parties about the injustice of this kind of thing.

      1. Hugh, you have to know I agree. I’m just a bit skeptical of Scotts’ hope that there will be an ‘awakening’ over this issue.
        Neither you nor me represent the majority view regarding gay sex and what the state should do about it; most are of the Eddy/John opinion that ‘gays are icky!’

  8. Why did rentboy.com get targeted, though? Is it the biggest? Were they especially brazen about their work? Do escort sites get hassled often, or even every so often? Has someone suggested anything specific as a sinister, self-serving political or monetary reason DHS lit into them? Could I be the first to postulate perhaps maybe someone was looking for dirt on a political rival in the data seized from rentboy.com servers?

    What if secretly I was the Judge?

  9. I’m loving terms like ‘consentual hookup site’

    Hookup for cash.

    It’s the ‘for cash’ part that has the statists all in a huff. And everyone knows it.

    And the complaint used terms that made the snowflakes that run rentboy, and their supporters(customers?), feel less than ideally special because they use different terminology for the straights that get busted for the same thing.

    Yawn.

    Prostitution should be legal. But it’s not yet. And when you go into business while it’s illegal you accept that this kinda thing is just par for the course.

  10. “To many in our community this feels like a throwback to when the police raided gay bars in the ’50s and ’60s,”

    Just like today, when someone practices a religion, and chooses not to bake a cake for other individuals based upon their beliefs, those individuals who demand the cake in turn have the state raid the business, and make laws against the business owners freedom of choice.

    So any violation of these new laws would result in “raided” and shut down businesses.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.