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It's getting much better. In years gone by, gay men who tried to meet up and hook up in public placed put themselves in danger. And because being gay was labeled a mental illness and gay sex was a crime, finding hookups in public places (e.g., parks) could land a man in jail. Not to mention being victims of hate crimes. Even known gay indoor hangouts were subject to police raids, and this happened all the time. Add to this, the popularity of conversion therapy that parents often subjected their adolescent kids to, and, really, being openly gay could be a nightmare.
The Stonewall riots of 1969 marked a turning point for the queer world, gay people included. From that point forward, the movement for gay rights became far more public and active and moved far beyond New York where it all began. Before such activism, there were enclaves for the gay community - Fire Island and San Francisco, for example - which maintained havens for gay culture. But Stonewall became the catalyst and the rallying cry as activism began to rise in all big cities across America and elsewhere. And in 1978, Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag as a symbol of unity for the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Enter the millennial generation and its progressive cultural values, especially related to homosexuality. Public opinion began to change and with it came the falling away of state anti-LGBTQ laws. Ultimately, federal law followed. The gay community now enjoys far more public acceptance, especially with the coming of age of Gen Z - same-sex couples are visible everywhere, walking among larger society; same-sex marriage is legal in all states; gay bars and other public domains for the gay, lesbian, and all other "colors of the rainbow" openly exist without fear of raids; and being open about their sexuality is tolerated by most.
Enter the Trump administration, with its backing from right-wing, conservative groups. This ushered in regression, as those right-wing groups came to political power. Regressive laws followed, such as the use of public restrooms by trans, trans athletes in public schools, school curricula, and more. A highly conservative Supreme Court is supporting the rights of states to pass and enforce many of these restrictive and discriminatory laws in "red" states in the U.S. And local school boards are banning books and any mention of homosexuality in classrooms. We can only hope that this is only temporary and that public opinion will win out in the end. So far, same-sex marriage still stands, and it would take a Supreme Court decision to reverse that. Still, all members of the LGBTQ community must remain vigilant and active.
A lot has changed since those early days of illegality, conversion therapy on the part of parents, and denial of same-sex marriage rights. Now that gayness is no longer a mental illness nor illegal, gay men can roam about freely in public and seek meetups, either planned or unplanned, indoors or out and do so pretty freely. Add to that the "public" persona that all gay men can establish on dating apps and sites, and any gay guy can find hookups, casual dating relationships, or even a long-term partner.
Is there still discrimination, lack of justice, and prejudice? Of course. But some Supreme Court decisions and anti-discrimination laws have improved things quite a bit. Gay marriage is legal in all 50 states; gay men may now openly seek what they want and do so in public spaces.
Some hookup spaces are very public; others are open to the public but clearly for gay people only. Here's a rundown of all the places you can go to find hookups
A simple Google search in your locale will yield gay saunas. They are in every major city and even some minor ones. Going as a solo guy or in a group doesn't matter - it's just open season once you are there. There are public baths, private rooms, bars, and more where you can mingle and have either public sex or privacy - whatever you want. Be sure to bring your own supplies and your own objectives - multiple hookups or finding a boyfriend for a longer stint.
Any gay man who has traveled internationally has probably found gay and lesbian beaches, bathing attire, and open sex optional. In the U.S. there are gay beaches too, although the laws will be a bit stricter. Many local ordinances include the prohibition of nudity (indecent exposure) or public lewdness (engaging in sexual behavior), so the nudity and sex may have to wait until after dark, if at all. Still, these are perfect places for hookups where one partner can take the other to his home for sex.
Gay neighborhoods are well-known and easily found in major cities all over the world. And within those gay neighborhoods, there are common hookup streets - you can easily find them, as gay men will be hanging out and surveying each other. These were not heavily populated during the AIDS epidemic but have realised a pretty big comeback since the major medical breakthroughs that prevent its spread. In fact, hookups in lots of spots with complete strangers are far more frequent now that the epidemic has subsided. Still, this does not mean that reasonable precautions should not be taken. Sex with strangers always involves some risk.
Meetup.com is an international clearinghouse site for people to meet up with others through events that are being held. Gay folx can search for such events in their own locales, attend, and seek other guys for whatever purpose they might have.
You might also find another group or two through gay, lesbian, or other queer friends that will be a great support and give you the chance to meet possible hookups. Do some research on your own.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (along with other platforms) all have "meetup" opportunities for any person seeking all types of relationships, from friendships to casual dating, to hookups, to long-term romantic relationships. Members of the LGBTQ+ community can join these groups, even from almost any country in the world that allows these platforms.
The history of online dating apps is easily understood and has simply been an outgrowth of our digital world and our demand for speed and efficiency in finding what we want, including dates and hookups. At first, the use of a dating app was for straights of all varieties. Gradually, though, these apps began to specialize and there are now apps for gay dating exclusively, as well as more generalized ones for all members of the LGBTQ community. And all of them are geo-specific if any gay, lesbian, bi, trans people, etc. should want to ultimately meet up in person. Online dating saw a huge rise in use during Covid too because it provided an outlet for gays who were stuck in isolation, not just from friends and family but from potential sexual relationships too. Even now that Covid is receding, members of the gay community continue to use these apps to find their matches.
Who doesn't want to go out to bars and clubs for a good time? And while these used to be illegal and often raided, as the activities in New York City alone showed, they are now all over the place, very public, and are a big part of the gay nightlife scene. Whether a gay man is seeking just an outlet for talking with other gays, casual social contact, a one-night stand, or a longer-term romantic partnership, these are some of the most common meetup places. And, in most cases, guys can flaunt their sexuality, look for a receptive sign from fellow partygoers, and will find whatever they are looking for.
There is no large secular college or university that does not have a significant LGBTQ+ population. Gays who attend these institutions will find acceptance and support through a variety of group-specific organizations. A prime example is American University in Washington, D.C., an institution that not only provides support for this population but openly accepts and celebrates the homosexuality of its many students that fall within the spectrum. The importance of such acceptance and support cannot be ignored - gays have a feeling of comfort when they become members of these larger student populations and have no fear of openly showing their sexuality, in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. Homosexuality is simply not a "biggie" on campuses today.
Don't discount museums, galleries, live theatre, libraries, and such. Gay guys are not all of one ilk, and there is no majority of them in terms of their interests, their intellects, and their hobbies. If you are a gay looking for more than a casual hookup, and you are into the "arts," then, by all means, frequent places where you are likely to find those who enjoy the beauty of paintings, sculptures, opera, and such, just as you do.
Those with gay identity often want to show support for their fellows who sell products or services. Because of this, they will frequent those businesses. Obviously, this is a prime spot for meeting other guys, starting conversations, and seeing where things go.
For those who enjoy travel, especially out of the country, there are a host of opportunities for gay guys. With all of the gay-friendly destinations, there is a virtual wonderland of travel options. Gay cruises are amazing for singles looking to hook up or for partners looking to renew their romance. These cruises promise to be an atmosphere of a group that is almost like a family - everyone sharing their sexuality and the beauty of that sexuality in a public setting.
Likewise, there are a large number of gay-friendly cities and regions throughout Europe and the Americas where gays can even hook up with potential partners in advance. Do your research before planning such a trip and make it amazing and safe. As veteran gay traveler, Indigo Atkinson says in her blog, The Broke Backpacker, "Besides, the transformative experience of travel is something undeniable. I also think it’s especially powerful for those of us who are gay. We weren’t handed the same script as everyone else. There is no “normal” for us – we have to write our own manifestos." she also advises to be certain you are aware of the body of law related to homosexuality in any country you visit. Her opinion matters - she's been there.
There are lots of LGBTQ+ advocacy groups that work for tolerance, understanding, change in public attitudes, and justice. Many engage in political activism to change and improve laws. Becoming a regular volunteer with one or more of these organizations will put gay men in the perfect environment to find "matches" of any kind. The other perk (beyond sex, of course)? You are participating in a cause that will impact your peers and perhaps participate in history-making changes. Others have worked for decades to improve your life and get you where you are today - you can pay it forward.
Speed dating has been around in the straight community for years. Recently, it has also become a "thing" for the gay community too. The cool thing about speed dating is that it is face-to-face, rather than via online dating sites. There was a hiatus during the height of Covid, but it's back now. If you should choose to participate in speed dating, your first time can be a little awkward if you are not prepared. Have key questions prepared in advance that will help you get to know each date - you won't have much time.
June is a month of Gay Pride, with parades, events, and celebrations throughout the U.S. and the planet. Because this month was originally set aside as a commemoration of the Stonewall raid and riots in New York City, this is the scene of huge celebration throughout the month. San Francisco is perhaps the second largest scene, but there will be instances of parades, parties, and other events in all major (and some minor) cities across the country. And because most of the celebrations were digital during the pandemic years, recently organised in-person events all over, and these promise to be huge events. UK Pride, for example, will be an event to remember because it will be in-person and it is also the 50th anniversary of that country's first pride event.
Gays looking for hookups and meetups at Pride events will have a smorgasbord. Whether walking in a parade, hanging out in bars, or going to public, semi-private, or private parties, sex will be readily available. These are physically safe events for the most part, but participants should protect their valuables and their physical enjoyment and health with the right supplies. Sex during Pride is a 24-hour thing, so be prepared, have the time of your life, don't miss out on any sign you get when you make eye contact, and let your Pride experience go down in your personal history as an event never to be forgotten.
The Pew Research Center has been tracking homosexuality for decades, especially the numbers of the community worldwide, the responses of governments and societies to the community, laws that are meant to prevent discrimination in the workplace and other public environments, the legality of same-sex marriage, and more.
According to the Pew Research Center, acceptance of homosexuality in most of the countries it surveyed, increased by over 10 percent between 2002 and 2019, with the largest increase being in Mexico and Japan.
But this same report from the Pew Research Center also concludes that there is still a huge divide on acceptance between certain demographics (including religion) and the comparative levels of development of countries.
All of this increased acceptance and tolerance has meant that members of the gay community can be far more open about their sexuality and look for any type of relationship in public environments. Such environments include both digital and in-person venues, some of which are listed above.
As a gay guy, go to those public places where other gays hang out. Don't be shy, take reasonable precautions, and get out there. The worst that can happen is you may get turned down a few times before you score.
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