Certainly in the case of Larry Craig, the arresting officer did nothing to discourage the Senator’s attentions until the very moment of the arrest and almost certainly invited his advances. The near unanimous revulsion regarding the incident (from Republican and Democrat, gay and straight alike) therefore has nothing to do with sexual assault or attempted rape, or any notion of the mild-mannered, bespectacled 62-year-old legislator somehow forcing himself on the burly, buff and much younger cop.
The disgust for the three term Senate toe-tapper arises instead from the very association of men’s rooms and amorous meet-ups, of toilet stalls and sex acts. We have a common and compelling interest in keeping such places free of erotic tension and that’s why we dispatch police officers to patrol public rest stations—even though they’re hardly needed to prevent outright assaults.
And if regular users of airport or public park facilities have a right to escape suggestive glances or inviting gestures that can poison an already fetid atmosphere, how much more so do young recruits (many of them eighteen or nineteen years old) the same right to avoid similar attentions (or even suspicions) from their fellow soldiers in the intimate quarters necessitated by military service? It’s no wonder that despite some fifteen years of relentless propaganda, most high ranking members of the armed services remain unconvinced that we should alter regulations to allow participation of open homosexuals.
The national shudder of discomfort and queasiness associated with any introduction of homosexual eroticism into public men’s rooms should make us more determined than ever to resist the injection of those lurid attitudes into the even more explosive situation of the U.S. military.