Commentary: Fuck You, Amtrak, For Making Gays “Dirty”
After a long (though ultimately wonderful) family weekend in New York over Halloween, my boyfriend and I decided to splurge by taking the Amtrak back to DC instead of the DC2NY Bus that once announced they had a “liquid only” bathroom. The first ten minutes I was on the train I was able to pick up wifi from an neighboring Acela and immediately tried to check out The New Gay to see what I had missed while I was away. Amtrak, however, had other plans.
Trying to access TNG just lead to a popup screen telling me that the website had been blocked for adult content. Adult content? Granted we are hardly Dora The Explorer (‘Clitora the Explora’ might even be more accurate) but TNG takes pains to be accessible everywhere so that our readers can find us. Hence no porn, no sex ads and most of our graphic content comes in the form of words and not images. However, the dirty words are still there so I checked a comparable website to determine if we were being pigeonholed for being gay.
Turns out, we were! I was able to access Jezebel with no problems. Jezebel, the site that has the word “sex” in its tagline, and writes about the subject even more than I do. (Yes, it’s possible.) So Amtrak is able to allow the aforementioend Jezebel, a site that discusses sex and bodies without edging into porn. So why not allow us?
I’m going to guess, as I always do, that it’s because we’re gay. I am very vocal about the fact that we can’t drop the “sex” from “homosexual” without suffering serious repercussions to our freedom, but gay is an identity as well as an act. That is to say, discussions of sexuality aren’t automatically about sex. Modern Bride is all about heterosexual coupling, and the “heterosexual lifestyle” and the prelude to what I’m sure will be the couple’s very first time having intercourse. However, I highly doubt it would be blocked by Amtrak. In fact, there is a good chance your grandmother has read that filth. And enjoyed it!
This is made all the more ironic by the fact that Amtrak recently unveiled an ad campaign targeted expressly towards the LGBT market. I’ve long felt that so-called “checkbook activism,” (that is, demanding your rights by revoking your money to those who hate you) is an effective means of spreading equality but it seems that Amtrak is trying to have it both ways by taking our cash, but still qualifying our very existence is inappropriate.
So next time I take Amtrak I’m going to touch myself in the dining car, or have sex with a man in first class. If I can’t read information gay opinions on their wifi network, then I’ll just have to give everyone else on the train something to talk about.
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