Category: Essays

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Michigan Teen Arrested for Grindr Hookup: Homophobia and Why We Shouldn’t Criminalize Queer Youth

Late last week four Michigan men were arrested for allegedly hooking-up with a teenage boy. Eighteen-year-old Cody Swatling is among four men facing felony charges for engaging in sexual acts with the 15–year–old, whom he met on the gay app Grindr. The teenage boy bypassed Grindr’s age restrictions and created...

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Yasmin Nair: On Rentboy, Sex Panics, Feminism, and More

Queer writer Yasmin Nair has a great post on today’s Rentboy.com raid and how it relates to larger issues of gay politics, sex work, and sex panics. I’ll let it speak for itself, and you can read the post in its entirety here. Allow me to state the obvious: that such...

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Gay Cruising Stings in 2015? Yes, They’re Still Happening, and Yes, This is Mass Incarceration

co-written by Andrew Extein and David Booth Believe it or not, gay cruising stings still happen. The Washington Blade reports that just last month 12 men were arrested in a park near Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a once-popular gay vacation spot, on multiple criminal violations including offensive touching, criminal solicitation, lewdness, indecent...

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Beyond The Headlines: How We See Sex Offenders

The Google Alerts await me in my inbox every day: hundreds of new suspects, crimes, and mugshots ready to sift through. As someone who works with and advocates for the civil rights of people convicted of sex crimes, the language and sheer frequency of the headlines has become repetitive and...

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Legalized Gay Marriage, But Not Legalized Queer Lives

Last week’s Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage was undeniably a landmark victory for queer rights. Years of petitioning the courts for the same legal protections afforded heterosexual couples finally paid off, but I find myself feeling largely unimpressed. Obergefell v Hodges provides in part, No State shall make...

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Is Queer Sex Legal? How Homophobia Is Fueling Today’s Sex Laws

By Andrew Extein and David Booth. The Mattachine society was one of the earliest American gay rights groups, formed in 1950 to address the overwhelming discrimination gay men and other queer people faced. The criminalization of gay sex in the mid-twentieth century is well known and federal anti-sodomy laws weren’t off...

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Mugshots, Sex Offenders, and Public Shame

‘The photograph is an unreliable narrator telling us part of a story but giving us nothing close to the full picture,” reads a recent article from Truthout by Charles Davis. This telling statement reaches beyond the mugshot to a troubling post-incarceration reality, the sex offender registry. Policymakers control “what they...