A Sydney man sparked heated debate after warning local residents about witnessing a “depraved” act inside a public toilet in the city’s southeast.
“TRIGGER WARNING,” read the post in the “Botany, Mascot and Surrounds” community page on Facebook.
“Hi locals, I just wanted to warn people to be wary of Kensington Oval especially the toilet blocks. This afternoon we took our dog for a walk in the oval and I had to use the bathroom. Upon entering the toilet I witnessed 2x men committing obscene vile depraved vile acts (toilet door open) and possibly more men in the next cubicle. I have never been so disgusted in my life! Families and children frequent this park! Makes me so angry! Just be careful please.”
One woman replied, “Absolutely disgusting! Sux you had to witness that. Lucky no kids walked in on those sickos! Hope they get charged.”
But another accused the poster of homophobia. “Be careful of what? Gay men?” she wrote.
Sharing a screenshot of the post to the “Marrickville Ranting/Complaints” page, she mocked the man saying he had “accidentally happened across a ‘beat’” — public places where gay men meet for sex.
“He doesn’t know what that is,” she wrote. “Isn’t prepared to research it, and is warning peeps to ‘be aware’ … No chance of educating these idiots. They’re all advocating calling police.”
One woman agreed, “The historical beats should be honoured for the role they played in gay male life and culture in this city and others. Maybe a National Trust classification?”
Another man wrote, “Oh my. I’m an old school gay, so it’s neato, groovy, and crazy cool that beats still exist.”
A third said, “Damn, I’m going to have to go to Kensington Oval tomorrow night.”
But not everyone agreed.
“Wait so you think it’s okay to do that in a public toilet, not even bothering to close the cubicle door?” one woman said.
“I don’t care who is getting it on, don’t do it in public and close the f**king door if you do! He’s right about one thing, a kid could walk right in and see that. Those men could be charged over that, they should really be more careful.”
Another woman said, “Get a room guys. Or close the door.”
One man agreed, “Maybe I’m old fashioned but I think sex in a dunny, especially public, is a bit yuk.”
But the woman who originally shared the post said it was “not my place to judge them” and argued “nobody would let their child go into a public toilet unaccompanied in Sydney anyway”.
A spokeswoman for NSW Police said Eastern Beaches Police Area Command had not received any reports matching the alleged incident.
Under NSW law, committing sexual acts in public is a criminal offence carrying up to 18 months in prison and a $5500 fine.
According to an SBS Pride article from 2016, beats — which “exploded” in the 1960s and ‘70s — are “still around and very much a part of gay culture”.
“In years past when the vast majority of men who have sex with men (MSM) faced violence and ostracism, the confidentiality and access of beats made them the only space some people could use to get their rocks off,” the article reads.
“In the ‘60s and ’70s — and probably long before — the beat scene exploded with men gathering in parks, toilet blocks, reserves, and any space they could find to get some good sex … While the predominant narrative today may be that beats are a long-gone culture, this is not the reality.”
One man who attended beats on a “semi-regular basis” told SBS, “It’s simply become a part of gay culture and some men — despite being able to find someone nearby on Grindr to f**k in the comfort of their own home — prefer to go cruising at a beat because that’s what turns them on.”
Beats have also attracted violence in the past. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, young men were targeted in a wave of bashings and murders of at popular gay beats across the country.