CAAH’s vigil over the weekend defending beat users from police patrols couldn’t have had stranger timing, coming less than two months after a youth was convicted of the stabbing death of disabled man Gerard Fleming at another beat in Sydney’s north.

Others will question the wisdom of CAAH not only naming the location but trying to get mainstream press interested as well.

Living just three blocks away, I’m quite familiar with the park being fussed over this time. Last year I was mugged walking past it, so you’ll forgive me if I’m quite keen on police patrolling it. Because it’s listed on the internet, lost and lonely beat users unfamiliar with the area sometimes congregate in the much smaller park outside my house.

Unless you’re homeless, there is no legitimate reason to be loitering in a park in the middle of the night. If police break the law when dealing with you then complain to the proper authorities, but don’t expect them to be happy to see you -” particularly if you’re arguing the point.

On top of the gay-bashers and muggers beats inevitably attract, I’ve also met young men who’ve been raped at them.

If police stay away then who will you run to for help?

People who live in the vicinity of the park or have to put up with the detritus of beat use during the day have every right to complain -” let’s not forget this beat is located less than 15 minutes walk from a legal sex-on-premises venue, as are many others in this town.

The claim that inner city beats are mostly used by closeted or bisexual men is a lie. I know it’s a lie because I know

people who use them, and criticising beats always draws a flurry of defensive letters from proudly gay men. If it wasn’t the case, then why are there fewer and fewer of them the further you go from the city centre?

Inevitably when beat users monopolise public spaces, councils and businesses lock them off or close them down -” then nobody gets to use them.

Don’t get me wrong, beat sex isn’t evil or some existential sin -” just lazy, selfish and disrespectful to others.

At the end of the day, beats are nothing more than a sad anachronism from the age of criminalisation. Perhaps there’s an excuse if you live in the country or on the far fringes of the city, but we should no more celebrate them than European Jews would romanticise having to hide in attics during World War II.

The more we all start acting like we’re a part of society, the smaller the chances of those sorts of dark days ever returning. Stop acting like a bunch of horny teenagers and get a room.

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