Wednesday, February 20, 2008

If you can't cruise at them gym...

...where can you?
A Californian man had his trial gym membership revoked when he wore a t-shirt that read "I need a man or a date" and printed his phone number on it.
It's bold but I've heard a lot of stories about all sorts of queer behavior in the gym and frankly this seems tame. I mean he isn't coming on to anybody--he's waiting for someone to come to him. Most of us are performing something in the gym--masculinity, femininity, butchness, femmeness--because we know we're being watched (and we know that because we're doing some of the watching). David Kano was just being a little more obvious than most and that is what upsets people.
Of course, he did join a gym called the California Family Fitness Center. Not that I am excusing the gym's actions but any place that has the word Family in it might not be the best place to pick up dates if you're a gay man looking for another single gay man. [The Family Fitness Center didn't seem to be too family oriented when it kicked out a woman who was breastfeeding her baby a few years ago. They had to apologize for that one though because California Law prohibits discrimination against breastfeeding women. Whether it protects gay men looking for dates remains to be seen.]
And it is more than problematic that the California Family Fitness, Inc. co-president said this: "We wouldn't let someone wear a shirt saying 'I'm looking for a man,' or for a woman, or, for that matter, for a child. It has nothing to do with Mr. Cano as an individual -- it has to do with making it a fun, safe family atmosphere. We have kids there all day."
Yes, it's subtle but he is indeed equating homosexuality with pedophilia.
There are plenty of t-shirts that men wear around the gym that sexualize and degrade women. Can you imagine if we kicked them out of the gym? Or even suggested that maybe these t-shirts were connected to the prevalence of violence against women in our culture?
Cano is considering his legal options, which is good. I find it amazing that gym owners think they can pull this stuff these days. Do you know how many gay people work out??
I'm going to have to wear my "Go Gay" t-shirt when I work out tomorrow in a show of solidarity. Here's hoping I don't get kicked out!

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