Gay beats – the secret hangout for men
By Amy Huynh
Gay beats, a convention unbeknown to many heterosexuals, are public venues infamous for those who want to keep their homosexual rendezvous secret.
“A beat [is] an area where gay men hang out, it can vary from a toilet block to a park, bushland, a river, that guys will go to and walk in the bushes and have sex, quite randomly,” John* says.
“So you go there, you get out of the car, you give each other the nod, you go down to the bushes, get your penis out, you have oral sex, or whatever type of sex that you want and then you leave. There’s no names, no emotions, there’s nothing.”
Wayne Elliott from Coming Out Australia says gay beats exist because homosexuality is not accepted by society.
“…men feel that they need to live a double life. Therefore for them to fulfil their needs, they obviously need to go to beats to avoid the consequences of being gay,” he said.
Ian, a 32-year old, met somebody via written communication on the wall of a public toilet when he was 17 years of age.
“Somebody wrote something on the wall, and I wrote something back, ‘Okay meet me here at this time’, which in hindsight is incredibly risky,” he said.
Ian says gay beats are frequented by people who don’t necessarily identify as being gay publicly.
“It keeps it together, packaged up in a part of their world that is aside of their work life and personal life, and the worlds never have to collide.”
Luke Douglas, 21, says it’s an “unwritten law… where all the gays go.”
“There’s still the deviants that come there, straying from their wives, but that’s predominantly what those kinds of places are for.”
Rick, 46, a Sydney metropolitan train driver, describes gay beats as an “amazing sort of convenience”, for anybody who wants to act on a sexual urge.
“On the occasions I’ve been there, I’ve met quite a few married men, or men who are partnered in a female relationship and also male relationships too.”
John says those heterosexuals don’t understand the concept of gay beats, because they have not lived it.
“In the hetero world, compared to the gay world… you just generally don’t go to a public toilet, give each other the eye, go in and have sex in a cubicle,” he said.
Beats allow the person to side step the courting process.
“With guys, its sex and its sex only,” John said.
While the idea of beats doesn’t excite him anymore, Ian says for most, it’s the idea of doing something you’re not supposed to do.
“I think a lot of guys are fundamentally promiscuous… there’s a certain confidence that goes with it, you’re a guy and so am I, we’re comfortable with each other, you know, and they probably don’t necessarily dance around emotional topics and so forth.”
The Gay and Lesbian Lobby however, say that it’s a stereotype that suggests gay men are more promiscuous.
“Research has shown that because same-sex couples are denied access to institutions such as marriage they’ve had to form their kind of intimacies and relationships around very different kinds of ideas and values,” Policy and development coordinator, Santhorun Raj said.
“Those are specific kind of questions that need to be dealt with specifically rather than engaged in the kind of level of stereotyping that seems to go on.”
John says a family unit based around a homosexual relationship is still a touchy subject in society.
He says this may have been the reason why former NSW Transport Minister, David Campbell felt he had to hide his double life.
“That’s the way that they were brought up back in their day. You don’t talk about things like that because society doesn’t accept it. He [David Campbell] would have kept it hidden, kept it a secret, got married, had children, it’s a snowball,” he says.
“My situation was the same, it was the case of this is snowballing, and I got myself in this big ball, but how do you stop the ball from rolling down the hill?”
For Ian, part of his life was spent keeping his sexuality close to his chest, where on past occasions he’s denied it, based on the fear of being an outcast.
He says David Campbell’s case was a symptom of time, where his career as a politician began when there was a lesser acceptance for homosexuals.
“I think once you’ve established yourself in a certain way, it’s very, very difficult to change without making a big deal about it,” he said.
“As far as I understand, he is a good husband, loves his kids and his wife, and its possible for both things to exist.”
*Name has been changed
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