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According to Michigan law, consenting adults can still be arrested for committing so-called “abominable and detestable crimes against nature.” Much as we wish, this has nothing to do with the creeps who just sent 30,000 gallons of waste oil spilling into local waterways. We’re talking about the state telling people what they can and can’t do with their private parts, in private. Here we are in the 21st century, and we still have an Old Testament-inspired anti-sodomy statute on the books.

Consequently, sexual minorities of all stripes — gays, lesbians, transsexuals, bondage aficionados and assorted kinksters — are all threatened by this and similar laws. That, in essence, was the message delivered by Triangle Foundation director Jeffrey Montgomery and other advocates who addressed more than 100 people attending the “Sex Panic in Detroit” seminar held in Southfield last Sunday. The way Montgomery sees it, it’s way past time to conduct a little circumcision on the penal code, cutting away outlandish and outdated statutes.

“We may not all be on the same page every day, but on this we must be,” said Montgomery.

And don’t think this and other musty laws can’t be dusted off whenever authorities see fit. Just last year, we saw Detroit cops harassing gays by hauling out an antiquated “annoying person” ordinance in one of their periodic crackdowns.

“We appear as a minority,” said Barnaby Barratt, director of the Midwest Institute of Sexology, “because we are fragmented. We don’t know each others’ stories of oppression.”

He and his co-panelists urged for unity among the different groups to fight for change. To do that, call the Triangle Foundation in Detroit at 313-537-3323.

Diana Valdez is an editorial intern at Metro Times. E-mail [email protected]
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