LGBT Activist Says Bath Houses Should Be Shut Down Because They're Holding Gay Rights Back
James Wharton, a former soldier and LGBT rights activist in the U.K. (above right), has found himself on the defensive. In an editorial penned for British gay mag Winq, Wharton argues that bath houses promote drug use and risky behavior.
“Sex saunas need to be history," Wharton writes. "The time has come to close them down. ... If we don’t, we feed the haters and we hand the bigots who remain a vocal minority ammunition with which to attack us."
Wharton insists that gay men cannot be accepted into mainstream society as long as there exists the “thorns in our side that mark our community as different for the wrong reasons.”
“For me as a gay man, the notion that there exist within our communities a series of places that actively promote the convening of gay men for participation in sex of shades various and in groups of all sizes rather revolts me—and I've been round the block a few times, believe me," Wharton adds. "I’m no prude, not even close, but the days when we gathered in clandestine fashion for the want of a network or a sexual outlet are surely long gone."
Fellow prominent activist Peter Tatchell criticized his colleagues editorial, writing, “It would be very wrong if the gay community became proscriptive and moralistic over consenting adult behavior. Plenty of gay and bi-sexual men use saunas without resorting to drugs or unsafe sex. A small minority may act recklessly and that should be challenged but it would be wrong to penalize the majority."
What do you think, Instincters?