Article Title:Timaru's limits of tolerance
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:2nd August 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2454
Text:Debate is raging in local media about the level of discrimination against gays in Timaru after the arrest of five men at the Port Loop Road toilets for offensive behaviour. The AIDS Foundation stepped in with a letter to the Timaru Herald, with executive director Rachael LeMesurier saying the town must be such an unsafe place for gay and bisexual people to live honestly and with pride that they have to use a public toilet for sexual encounters. She said the Foundation was saddened to see the police resources used for what was "a victimless crime", a description queried by one gay man in the community who feels Timaru is not a particularly unsafe place to live for gay and bisexual men. He described the toilet scene as one very separate from the gay scene, and one that had never been part of his or his partner's lifestyle. "It seems to be a closet scene. We have tried to reach them but you just can't reach these people,” he said. A lesbian spoken to by the Herald had different views. She believes the level of homophobia in the community would have driven the men to using the toilets as a meeting place. She spoke of instances where she had been confronted about her sexuality in public and nearly beaten up.    
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