Sunday, September 2, 2007

Coming Out: Confession of a Heterosexual

Had I realized undercover cops have been stalking us in public bathrooms, I’d have relied less on automatic flushers to be sure everything is as it should be when I leave the stall and probably more guarded about flossing, particularly when a food pops out from between my teeth that's no longer in season.

If they're going after homosexuals, how long before the net widens and they target heterosexuals? The last thing I’d want is for my husband and son to have to stand next to me at a press conference in a show of solidarity after I’ve been accused of untoward behavior in a bathroom.

Sure, my accusers would insist the charges were unrelated to my being heterosexual. And it's something I'd be foolish to deny. There are too many men who would step forward to dispute it. And there are my teenage diary entries, an obsessive account of crushes on high school basketball players. We didn’t use the word “heterosexual” then. It was frowned upon, as was any form of sexual activity. If my parents suspected, they never questioned my sexual preference, and I was equally unwilling to discuss it with them. Sure, there were signs -- the crinolines and Go-Go Pink lipstick, but everyone preferred to keep it quiet. Behind closed doors my parents were surely hoping, "Maybe it's a stage and she'll outgrow it".

But it’s not simply the fear of my heterosexuality being disclosed that causes me to be concerned about the ever-mounting encroachment on our privacy. Dateline, using online chat rooms to lure sexual predators into making dates with teenagers, has Chris Hansen and hidden cameras waiting to pounce on the guys when they turn up. Once Chris has finished berating and humiliating them, they're told they're free to leave, at which time they're accosted outside by cops, who arrest them.

The show claims to be trying to discourage predators, but success would mean they'd be shooting themselves in the foot. Without sexual predators, they'd have no choice but to station Chris Hansen in public bathrooms. I'm not sure where we draw the line between bonafide, public-service coverage and entrapment.

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