Secret Gay Code

Larry Craig Bathroom Stall Cruising Photo Michael Demmons explains how to tell whether the fellow in the next bathroom stall is grooving to the beat of his Walkman or is a United States Senator lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.

Photo courtesy ABC News

FILED UNDER: LGBTQ Issues, Uncategorized, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Michael says:

    Great, now I’m going to be overly conscious about any and all foot movement whenever I’m in a public restroom. This is one situation where ignorance was bliss.

  2. Wayne says:

    Rainbows, the color purple and now foot tapping, how do those outside the gay community suppose to know not to do such things. Although that does explain some looks I have received coming out of the stall.

    I did have a similar experience when I was a teenager with an officer dealing with drug slang.

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    Add this to the list of things I now know due to blogs.

  4. markm says:

    Has anyone ever asked the question: why in a freeking bathroom???. Why do gays take over so many or get busted in so many bathrooms and rest stops???. It’s disgusting.

  5. JT says:


  6. James Joyner says:


    Heh. I meant iPod. Showing my age again . . .

  7. Michael says:

    Heh. I meant iPod. Showing my age again . . .

    The Walkman is now an flash-based MP3 player anyway.

  8. Garren says:

    markm wants to know why gays take over public bathrooms. Let me tell you why: the type of “gay” person you’re thinking of isn’t the “type” that hangs out in a public bathroom. It’s the Larry Craig “type” — married, publicly against homosexuality, goes to church (usually a Baptist one), and in a position that he wouldn’t probably be in if the world knew he liked to mess around with guys. A public bathroom is the closest they can get to “hooking up” discreetly – there’s no “paper trail” (electronic or otherwise), nobody is going to question why a guy goes into a public bathroom (as opposed to a gay bar), and he’ll be able to get his rocks off and never see the other dude again. If it were a “perfect” world, people would be judged by who they are, not what they are, and what you’d find would be guys like Larry Craig would have never gotten married and probably met another dude years ago and shared a life together. But it’s the society we live in that pushes people like Larry Craig into a closet. I continue to be amazed a the people who still argue being gay is a “choice”. As if someone would choose a lifestyle where there are people out there that would kill them if they could get away with it that don’t even know them – just because they are gay. It’s the fundamentalist christians that make it their mission to make people believe it’s a chosen lifestyle – because otherwise, they would have to conclude (and rightly so) that God actually makes people gay. And if God actually makes people gay, it might just be ok … in his eyes anyway. Think about it.

  9. Way behind the times says:

    I still need someone to explain the whole code
    to me. He wasn’t just tapping
    his foot? What did he do with his hand and
    what would have happened? Whose stall? I
    find this intriguingly stupid. My first
    husband who was
    gay, said he had his first homosexual experience
    in the mens room in the Port Authority, NYC.
    That was in the 60’s!I never asked how it
    happened, I just assumed he was molested.

  10. Way behind the times says:

    PS Who would have thought this is is so prevalent
    that there is a special STING unit for it!

  11. Garren says:

    PS Who would have thought this is is so prevalent
    that there is a special STING unit for it!

    If people only knew how many “straight married” men there are out there that play around with other guys, they would be shocked. I’m a gay male living in suburbia so I feel somewhat qualified to comment on this topic.

    I don’t prowl public restrooms, and frankly, if I were in a “prowling” mood, the internet makes it much easier to get a quickie sex hookup than putting myself at risk of being arrested for a lewd act in a public place. You post an ad under “men looking for men” on an adult website and make a connection – what could be easier. But for dude’s like Larry Craig (married, with a straight image to uphold), the internet creates a discoverable electronic trail that is best avoided.

    One time I was out biking and used a public restroom in a local park for the “real thing”. While I was sitting on the throne doing my thing, I heard a guy and what I assumed was his young daughter talking as they approached the men’s room. From the sound of her voice, I guessed the girl to be 3 or 4 years old. I heard him say “now you sit right there until daddy comes back out.” The local police department removed the doors on the stalls of the men’s room apparently to “cut down” on the privacy which would lead to lewd acts (although I think it had more of the opposite effect). “Daddy” walked in the bathroom and past my stall doing a double-take at me. I remember thinking “nawww … this would be too weird”. Sure enough, he emerged from his stall and stood in front of mine boned up and doing a little jerky jerk 3 feet from my eyes. I stood up, pulled up my shorts and said “your f****** kid is sitting outside waiting for you dude, give me a f****** break.”

    You think that guy was “unique” in terms of people I’ve encountered that I would have never believed in a g’zillion years would be hitting me up for sex let alone be even interested in playing around with another guy? I could write a friggin book, starting with the guy (wearing the wedding ring) who said “do you have any place nearby we can go – I have to be at choir practice at my church in 45 minutes.”

    It’s called being on the “down low” or “DL”. Google it, you’ll get an education, but if your wife uses your computer, make sure you delete your internet cookies and history before you log out!

  12. james says:

    No one said this man is “GAY” but that was the first thing out of his mouth, I am a gay man and as a Teen in the 80’s in NJ the Willowbrook mall had sex going on in all over the big stores and yep it was fun, tapa, tapa, tapa for a BJ
    Larry Craig did all the things a gay dude like us did back in the day…