Last edited: December 18, 2004

Raid Blamed for Gay Sex Out in Public

Calgary Sun, January 10, 2003
2615 Twelfth St NE, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7W9 Canada
Fax: 403-250-4180

By Pablo Fernandez, Calgary Sun

A police raid has forced sex between gay men from the confines of a bathhouse out into the streets and in public view, say leaders of Calgary’s gay community.

"I think what you’re going to see is an increase in that activity until either the bathhouse is open again or an alternative facility (is introduced)," said Roy Heale, publisher of Calgary’s gay magazine Outlooks.

The number of encounters recorded since the closure Dec. 11 of Goliath’s Sauna and Texas Lounge, at 308A 17 Ave. S.W., has increased significantly, members of the gay community heard when they attended a meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Glenmore Park is one of the favourite destinations for men looking for a sexual encounter who choose not to—or are unable to—"come out" because of professional or personal responsibilities, said Heale.

"Bathhouses in any city are quite often the place to go when you want a lot of privacy and you don’t want to be seen in a bar or a restaurant—and quite often it tends to be married men or bisexuals," he said.

"Once a person comes out, they’re comfortable at the bars, the clubs ... a bathhouse has been a bit of a sanctuary for gay or bisexual men who want to maintain secrecy about what they’re doing."

Another important benefit of bathhouses is how they promote safe sex, said Stephen Lock, host and producer of CJSW’s Speak Sebastian, a show aimed at Calgary’s gay community.

"Safer sex information can be more easily disseminated (at a bathhouse) and there’s certain peer pressure to practise safe sex," said Lock.

The spread of sexual disease and hate crimes may concurrently rise with the increase of encounters taking place in public places, added leaders in the gay community.

Lock said 13 men, many of them married, face charges relating to the bust, which he called ill-conceived, due to the fact the bathhouse was a private establishment.

Most major cities in Canada have at least one bathhouse similar to the one formerly found in Calgary, said Heale.

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